The machining of metal parts and fixtures is hard work, taking significant investments of labor and material to do just right. Specialist machining companies focus on the creation of custom-machined metal parts for clients in numerous other industries, clients who often have very tight performance tolerances.
As such, machining shops have to be very picky about the surface condition of their machined parts, often putting them through several rigorous parts washing processes before sending the finished product to clients.
To keep parts from getting damaged during these wash processes, top-quality milling shops often use custom parts washing baskets.
Building a Better Parts Washing Basket
On a recent order, Marlin was charged with creating a custom parts washing basket that could be adapted to fit a variety of custom milled parts while keeping them safe from damage during repeated wash cycles.
Designing a parts washing basket for a milling shop had several challenges, including that the basket:
- Needed to be able to hold parts of varying sizes and shapes.
- Had to withstand multiple wash cycles per parts load.
- Would hold 40 lbs. of weight.
- Required handles for manual handling.
One of the difficulties in keeping parts safe during a wash process is that when parts collide with one another, they can scratch. Using dividers can keep parts separated, reducing the chance of damage.
However, the basket still needed to be able to accommodate parts of many different shapes and sizes. To address this issue with a single basket, Marlin’s engineers incorporated not one, but two sets of removable dividers into the design.
One set of long dividers would divide the basket into quarters along one axis, while a second set of short dividers would separate the basket into seven compartments along the other axis. This allowed the basket to accommodate parts of many different sizes.
To ensure that the basket could hold 40 pounds of weight, and withstand being put through repeated wash cycles, the basket frame was made with 0.25”-thick grade 304 stainless steel, with 0.121”-thick wide crosswires.
This thickness and grade of stainless steel ensured not only high tensile strength, but resilience to repeated exposure to the wash process of a Ramco parts washing machine using variable cleaning solutions.
Benefits of Using a Custom Parts Washing Basket
Because of this custom parts washing basket design, the client was able to save on floor space by using one type of basket rather than having to use many different kinds of baskets. The fact that this design could stack helped save even more floor space.
By designing the basket to have 0.88” of open space between each wire, fluids and runoff from the wash process is free to leave the basket easily, allowing for fast drying between wash cycles that minimizes time spent on waiting for parts to dry. Also, by allowing runoff to drain away the first time, there’s less need for frequent rewashing of parts.
With thick stainless steel wires, this basket can take repeated wash cycles easily, without getting worn or corroded. This means that each basket will be viable for years of use, rather than just months.
In all, using a custom parts washing basket can save time, money, and floor space, helping to improve productivity and throughput.