One of the biggest challenges in designing any basket for parts washing applications is ensuring that the basket itself does not scratch extremely delicate parts. Numerous times, Marlin has been tasked with creating parts washing baskets for extremely delicate parts in applications where applying a soft coating to the basket was not an option.
In these instances, the way that the basket holds a part can mean the difference between a successful production process and a high rate of failure. Two ways that Marlin Steel might hold parts include:
- Using dividers to separate parts.
- Using prongs/tines to hold parts in place.
Each of these methods has its own unique advantages and uses.
When are Prongs Best?
Prong baskets use a series of prongs (a.k.a. tines) that protrude from the bottom or sides of the basket to hold parts in place. These tines can hold a part from the inside by placing the tine through a hollow in the part.
For example, Marlin has made gun barrel baskets for firearms manufacturers where the prongs of the basket would go up the barrel to hold in place.
Additionally, tine baskets can either use a series of regularly-spaced tines, or they can use custom-made, irregular tine patterns to hold parts in place at different levels.
These types of baskets are often best used for parts that have interior surfaces that are scratch-resistant, but delicate, no-scratch exteriors, as the contact points are restricted to the interior of the part.
When are Dividers Best?
Divider baskets use a series of wires or plates to keep parts in a basket separated from one another. Some dividers are made as removable inserts; others are permanently integrated into the basket’s frame.
Divider baskets are the more common choice for parts that have semi-delicate exteriors and very delicate interiors where you wouldn’t want to risk any kind of direct physical contact with other objects.
Another benefit of these baskets is that they tend to be more versatile than their prong basket counterparts, particularly when the dividers are removable. Parts don’t have to conform to as specific a set of measurements as they do in a prong basket, so a single divider basket is able to be used with a wider variety of parts.
Both prong and divider baskets can be enhanced through the use of coatings such as halar or nylon to further prevent scratching, but not all coatings are viable for all applications. It’s usually a good idea to ask a mechanical engineer if a given coating would be suitable for your application.
So, which type of basket is better for your application? The answer depends on a few things, but taking into account the characteristics mentioned above should help you make the best choice for your needs.