Creating Custom Wire Baskets for Aerospace Cleaning Processes

December 22, 2017 | Custom Wire Baskets, Coatings for Baskets & Racks

This PVC-coated basket uses dividers and a lid to keep parts sorted through numerous cleaning processes.A client in the aerospace industry recently contacted Marlin about creating a custom wire basket to hold many small parts through a series of chemical baths. The client’s biggest concerns were that many different parts were being processed at a time, and could not be allowed to mix or mingle—or else they could mess up parts counts and cause them to ship the wrong SKUs to their clients.

Also, because the wire basket would be put through so many different chemical baths in rapid succession, it needed to be extremely resistant to corrosion from a variety of chemicals. In this process, the client would put their parts in a chemical tank, then an acid tank, a solvent tank, and a rinsing tank in order.

This also meant that the basket had to drain quickly to minimize the idle time between processes—any delays for draining chemicals from the basket would be multiplied three times (four, if you count the post-rinse drying time). In the client’s current process, the plastic baskets they used had no drainage holes, so chemicals would pool and employees had to manually clean the basket between each process or wait for several minutes to evaporate the excess chemicals. Cutting this process from 5+ minutes to 1 minute would save at least 12 minutes on each set of parts—or over an hour for every five loads processed.

Another issue was that each part was very delicate and had a “no scratch” surface requirement. If a part was scuffed or damaged in any way, it would have to be reprocessed or thrown out.

Creating Durable Custom Wire Baskets to Enhance Cleaning Process Efficiency

In order of importance, the client needed a basket that could:

  1. Keep parts separated during the cleaning process to prevent mix-ups and miscounts of individual part types.
  2. Prevent damage to parts that would necessitate reprocessing/replacement.
  3. Reduce time spent on draining chemicals between the four different steps of the process.
  4. Remain intact throughout exposure to a variety of corrosives and solvents under continuous use conditions.

To accommodate all of these challenges, Marlin’s engineering team settled on a PVC-coated steel wire basket design that used dividers and a lid.

The dividers would keep different parts separated throughout the cleaning process—minimizing the risk of different SKUs getting mixed together and shipped out to the wrong clients. A latched lid would prevent parts from falling out if the basket was rotated or shaken roughly.

Coating the basket with a soft PVC material served two purposes. First, it would prevent parts from getting scratched or scuffed by the surface of the basket itself. This was crucial because the parts in question were very delicate and prone to getting damaged. Second, it would increase the basket’s resistance to the client’s various chemical baths. The PVC coated virtually every exposed surface of the basket, adding another layer of protection over the already-formidable chemical resistance—maximizing the basket’s useful life.

Finally, the open space in the coated wire design made it so that any chemicals from the various baths would drain quickly—minimizing the time needed to dry off parts between chemical baths. This also reduced the risk of carrying acids/solvents from one bath to the next, minimizing cross-contamination “drag” and the problems that can be caused by mixing different chemicals.

These features would help the client meet all of their major goals as efficiently as possible. In fact, the design was so successful for this client that it is now being added as an in-stock basket option, under the serial number 02004002. This basket is ideal for manufacturers who have processes involving many delicate parts and harsh chemicals.

Need a basket that’s gentle on ultra-delicate parts, but hardy enough to survive tough finishing processes? Contact Marlin Steel today for a custom basket quote, or check out our in-stock baskets page for ready-made designs.

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