Custom Baskets to Store Pharmacy Compound Products In Shelving Units

July 13, 2017 | Custom Wire Baskets, American Manufacturing, Case Study, Medical/Pharmaceutical

This large, open basket served as the basis for the customer's basket order in this case.One of the challenges of the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is being able to store pharmacological compounding products such as tubing, syringes, bags, vials, etc. in such a way as to ensure quick and easy access. Recently, a client in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry contacted Marlin Steel to help improve their storage capabilities with a set of custom baskets with dividers.

Specifically, these baskets needed to fit a set of shelving units with rollers. These rollers would let the shelves be moved freely from one room to the next in the production process. However, the shelves and their contents would also need to be repeatedly sterilized to ensure clean conditions after a move—this would be achieved using vaporized hydrogen peroxide, which can corrode plain steel and iron over the course of repeated exposure.

For this task, the client had a specific design in mind—Marlin’s basket #1791001, which was the perfect size to fit in the client’s shelving unit (24” x 30” x 10”). However, this design needed to be modified a bit to be fully compatible with the client’s needs.

Adjusting an Existing Design

While the outer dimensions of the basket were a perfect fit for the confines of the shelving unit, Marlin’s engineers needed to ensure that the basket would be able to smoothly go in and out of the unit. Also, internal dividers needed to be added so that parts could be kept neatly sorted in individual compartments—and in two separate layers to maximize space efficiency.

So, not only did the basket have to hold an unknown variety of parts, the top layer of dividers needed to be easy to remove so that the bottom layer could be accessed quickly.

Half of the baskets would have 2 layers with 4 compartments per layer, each taking up 1/4 of the space on that layer (12” x 15” x 5”), the other half of the basket order would have 4 layers with 6 compartments per layer (6” x 7.5” x 2.5”).

While the bottom layer of dividers could be permanently welded into the basket, the rest of the layers needed to be removable for easy access.

Since the baskets would be manually handled when not in the shelving, the handles already present in the design were sufficient for the client’s needs. Only minor adjustments needed to be made to ensure they could fit the shelving units without interfering with the ability to slide the basket in and out. Additionally, each basket would be thoroughly deburred to eliminate the risk of injury to workers from sharps or burrs on the basket’s surface.

To tackle the issue of repeated, prolonged exposure to vaporized hydrogen peroxide in the sterilization process, the client opted for grade 316L stainless steel. This low-carbon variant of 316 retains excellent corrosion resistance and helped to ensure the longevity of each basket.

As an added bonus, the stainless steel alloy has more than enough tensile strength to hold the up to 100-pound loads that each basket needs to support.

Creating new CAD files for the removable interior dividers was quick work for Marlin’s design team—the major issue was ensuring the dividers were sturdy enough for the bottom-most dividers to support 50 to 75 pounds of weight (to account for the contents of the other layers of dividers).

Testing the Design

Even though the basket was based on an existing design, it was still put through rigorous testing using Autodesk physics simulation software. This is because despite the outer frame being a proven design, this was a new use case with different chemicals and stresses. Also, there were new design elements that could impact the performance of the basket.

So, the basket design was tested in a virtual environment against the client’s everyday use process, as well as likely accidental events such as sudden impacts from drops or clumsy handling.

By making these checks against each client’s specific use conditions, Marlin’s engineers can make sure that the baskets they make are built to last for that client, maximizing useful life. By doing these checks with a physics simulation program, Marlin’s engineers save time and money on manufacturing prototype baskets for a single check—meaning fewer tooling costs and faster time-to-delivery for Marlin’s clients.

Learn more about how Marlin delivers Quality, Engineered Quick® to clients all over the globe today!