How to Choose the Best Extra Large Wire Hoist Basket for Materials Handling

March 11, 2021 | Custom Wire Baskets

Across multiple industries, even when the end product is vastly different, the manufacturing process often requires a variety of materials handling baskets. For that reason, hoist baskets are popular across a wide range of manufacturing applications. For example, a common application is the need to hold a part or an entire product through a specialized process before it can be considered finished and ready to ship. Sometimes hoist baskets are just needed to streamline the assembly process for efficiency.
Whether it is because its contents would be too heavy for manual handling or immersed in caustic materials, many processes rely on hoist baskets that hangs from a hook on a conveyor system. For those processes, the team at Marlin Steel has extensive experience in creating custom stainless steel hoist baskets, including creating super-sized ones that meet specific client needs.

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Making Super-Sized Hoist Baskets for Materials Handling

Some clients need extra-large hoist baskets for their manufacturing needs. For example, both the automotive aerospace industries require large stainless steel baskets for processes such as dipping baskets for turbine blades or other large-scale parts. In fact, one recent Marlin Steel client needed a basket that could hold assemblies weighing up to 300 pounds through a dipping process.

Creating a super-sized materials handling basket is very similar to the process of an ordinary sized hoist basket. But, how does the process of creating a super-sized hoist basket work? 

Designing a Large-Scale Hoist Basket

When designing an extra-large hoist basket, several key factors need to be taken into account, including:

  • The parts to be washed. More specifically, the size, shape, and weight of the parts. 
  • The wash or finish process itself (chemicals, temperatures, process times, etc.).
  • How the hoist basket will be moved or handled between processes.
  • Storage conditions.

A super-sized hoist basket is likely to hold objects described as very heavy, very large, or both. The storage conditions are also integral to the design process when choosing basket materials and coatings. The structural integrity of the basket’s metal must be able to withstand the storage environment just as much as any chemical bath it might be exposed to. For instance, using plain steel in an ocean-adjacent environment would be damaging to the basket’s integrity (since salty air is hazardous to a plain steel frame).

Further, the metal alloys and coating materials used for a materials handling basket also depend on the job and environment where the basket will be used. If the materials handling application involves bulk handling, then the hoist basket needs to be designed for high capacity, such as using perforated sheet metal or thick-gauge wires. If the application of the hoist basket is for holding single high-value individual parts, then the basket would be designed to hold the part securely and protect it from scratches or dents from other items as it is moved around. Coatings of soft materials, such as thick PVC, are commonly used to cushion high-value parts. In short, understanding the parts and functions of the basket are fundamental in determining the design.

Common cleaning applications of large custom stainless steel baskets include:

  • Aqueous Parts Cleaning. Aqueous cleaning processes are those that involve immersing the part, via a hoist basket, into a cleaning agent. Commonly, these cleaning agents are corrosive in nature, so the basket must be able to withstand that caustic environment.

  • Vapor Degreasing. This process involves boiling caustic chemical solvents so the vapors penetrate the part being handled. Baskets involved in this process must be able to withstand both the high temperatures and corrosive vapors.

  • Ultrasonic Parts Washing.  The basket and parts are immersed in a cleaning solution and then ultrasonic vibrations scour the part. Hoist baskets used for this purpose require strong structural integrity.

How to Choose the Right Material for a Custom Hoist Basket

A major consideration when designing a custom basket is whether to use wire or sheet metal. While steel wire is typically better for washing applications than sheet metal, the latter has a higher structural integrity for handling heavier weights. However, many materials handling baskets combine the two in their design. For a super-sized hoist basket, sheet metal may be bonded over a steel wire frame to increase its structural integrity to hold larger loads or withstand ultrasonic cleaning.

The most common options for the material of the basket include:

  • Plain Steel. Used for generic materials handling purposes.

  • Stainless Steel. This material is characterized by a smooth, shiny surface finish and a higher resistance to corrosion than plain steel or iron. While there are hundreds of different grades of stainless steel, the most common stainless steel alloys used today include grade 304, grade 316, and grade 330 stainless. The different grades of steel are suited to different applications due to their distinct chemical and temperature resistance properties.

  • Inconel. Similar to stainless steel, Inconel is a series of nickel-chromium-based austenite alloys that are oxidation and corrosion resistant. These alloys are useful in high-temperature, high-pressure applications, as they retain their tensile strength over a wide range of temperatures.

  • Galvanized Steel. Steel that has had a zinc coating applied to it is known as galvanized steel. The zinc coating prevents the underlying steel from rusting, through repeated exposure to corrosives may still cause the steel to corrode.

Additionally, hoist baskets need to have hooks, rings, or other assemblies so the hoist system has something to hold on to it. Large hoist baskets are usually used in automated cleaning processes or vapor degreasing processes use overhead hooks.

For example, the team at Marlin Steel developed a large hoist basket for a client who needed the basket to hold over 200 lbs through a wash process. The hoist basket was designed as reinforced grade 304 steel wire cage with nylon coating and thick metal framing to hold the heavy loads. While the stainless steel basket has a high-quality and sturdy frame, the nylon coating was added to reinforce and protect the basket from damage.

Each hoist basket may have different needs. Understanding those needs and designing to meet your specifications is something Marlin Steel is remarkably adept at and prides itself on. The goal is to deliver custom hoist baskets able to withstand whatever unique application exists within a customer’s manufacturing environment.

Testing Custom Hoist Basket Designs

Based on information gathered about a client’s manufacturing process, Marlin Steel’s engineers design and test a hoist basket with the precision of automated factoring techniques, such as the finite element analysis (FEA) software. Marlin Steel uses Autodesk physics simulation software to test custom stainless steel hoist baskets against the manufacturing conditions they will be placed in. This Fi FEA testing allows the team at Marlin Steel to make sure every basket design not only meets the client’s performance requirements, but also minimizes costs and delays. 

Autodesk defines FEA as “a computerized method for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow, and other physical effects.” For example, if Marlin Steel’s engineers were developing a super-sized stainless steel basket for a client, the basket would be given an FEA to simulate the effects different manufacturing or environmental stresses would have on the basket. Through this testing, the Marlin team is able to identify any potential issues that exist or might develop over the long-term and address them, pre-production, saving time, money, and materials.

Due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness, Marlin Steel has made the FEA a core part of every custom wire and stainless steel basket process, including that of hoist baskets. With the precision of the FEA, as well as the expertise of the engineers involved, Marlin 

7 Consequences of Poorly-Designed Material Handling Baskets

One of the reasons the Marlin Steel invests so much time in the information gathering and testing process is because a poorly designed material handling basket, especially a hoist basket designed for heavy or large parts, can result in significant problems.

1: Parts Crowding to One Side/Unbalance Loads

In some processes, it’s necessary to move the basket through different production areas or even rotate it. With a hoist basket, this is particularly true. Unfortunately, when a basket isn’t properly designed, parts can shift or crowd on one end of the container.

As a result, one potential problem is that any parts in the center may not be exposed to the finishing processes as thoroughly as parts on the outside of the pile. In many finishing processes, this could result in discolored or damaged parts, or even prevent certain coatings and finishes from being applied.

Similarly, sudden shifts with an unbalanced load may damage the part or result in similar issues with the finishing process.

2: Parts Falling Out of the Basket

When there’s too much open space between wires in stainless steel wire mesh baskets, or the holes in a perforated sheet metal basket are too large, parts can easily fall out.

This can not only damage the parts as they hit the shop floor—it can damage processing equipment as parts get caught in different mechanisms.

Worse yet, workers may be injured by fallen parts.

3: Increased Manual Handling Time for Parts

A poorly-designed basket can make it difficult to add or remove parts to the basket, increasing the time your workers on the floor spend handling parts. This reduces throughput and can increase the risk of a part being damaged by manual handling.

4: Having to Reprocess Parts Numerous Times

Whether it’s because parts fell through, clumped up, or were left stained because of poor ventilation/drainage, it’s all too common for a part to need to be reprocessed multiple times to get it into acceptable condition. Poorly-made baskets that aren’t optimized for your parts and processes add to this problem and reduce throughput.

5: Damaged Baskets 

When baskets aren’t designed for the conditions they’ll be exposed to, damage can occur. Further, when hoist baskets aren’t made of the right materials and designed with enough physical support for the loads they’re carrying, they can get bent or weaken under stress.

A broken or damaged basket is practically useless as it can damage parts, disrupt processing, and can contribute to worker injuries on the job.

6: Worker Injuries

Marlin Steel believes quite strongly in safety in the manufacturing environment. One of the best safety measures anyone can take is to ensure that production areas capitalize on proactive opportunities to prevent injury. Hoist basket design and production is one such area.

When wire or sheet metal baskets are damaged or fail to hold parts in place, there’s a risk to employees. Falling parts can cause impact injuries, spilled chemicals can cause burns, etc. Poorly designed custom wire baskets or hoist baskets can be prevented, as can worker injuries caused by this issue.

7: Cost

The worst problem with poorly-optimized baskets is they can increase your total cost of ownership while reducing productivity. Not only will you likely have the upfront cost to replace baskets, but the replacement process can potentially slow your production while your team makes do and waits for more efficient and effective parts. In short, you lose earning opportunities because of reduced output.

Materials handling baskets, including hoist baskets, are often the unrecognized lifeblood of the manufacturing industry. In fact, precision custom stainless steel baskets can save money, time, effort, and improve safety all while streamlining your production process and ensuring your parts move where they’re needed and get the thorough finishing processes they need.

Get stainless steel hoist baskets and wire baskets custom-tailored to your needs from a trusted, reliable manufacturer and avoid the consequences of poorly-designed baskets tomorrow.

Marlin Steel can design, test, and build the perfect super-sized hoist basket for your needs. Need a hoist basket? Talk to one of our expert mechanical engineers today!