Different industries require a variety of materials handling baskets for separate needs and processes. Hoist baskets are popular across a wide range of manufacturing applications. 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, or to just streamline the assembly process itself for efficiency.
Whether it is because its contents would be too heavy for manual handling or immersed in caustic environments, many processes rely on hoist baskets that parts from a hook on a conveyor system . For those processes, the team at Marlin Steel has extensive experience in creating custom hoist baskets, including creating super-sized ones for clients.
Some clients need extra-large hoist baskets for their manufacturing needs, such as large stainless steel baskets for an automotive company or large aerospace client requiring huge dipping baskets for turbine blades and other large-scale parts. 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? Here is a brief look at the process:
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.
- The wash or finish process itself (chemicals used, temperatures, process times, etc.).
- How the hoist basket will be moved or handled between processes.
- Storage conditions.
The size, shape, and weight of parts is essential information when customizing your hoist basket design. It’s also important to understand the specifics of the wash process, such as what chemicals, mechanical actions, and temperatures the basket will be exposed to, as well as the weight of the assemblies the basket will be holding.
A super-sized hoist basket is likely to hold objects either 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).
The metal alloys and coating materials used for a materials handling basket depend on the job and environment in which the basket will be operating. If the materials handling application involves bulk handling, then the hoist basket needs to 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 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.
Common cleaning applications of large custom stainless steel baskets include:
- Aqueous Parts Cleaning. Cleaning processes that involve immersing the part to be cleaned with a cleaning agent, via a hoist basket. Commonly, these cleaning agents are corrosive in nature, so the basket must be able to withstand this caustic environment.
- Vapor Degreasing. This process involves boiling caustic chemical solvents so the vapors can penetrate the part being handled. Baskets involved in this process must be able to withstand both the high temperatures and corrosive vapors of this process. This is a common application for hoist baskets.
- Ultrasonic Parts Washing. This involves immersing a part in a cleaning solution and then using ultrasonic vibrations to scour the part. Strong structural integrity is needed for baskets used in this process.
Choosing the Material for the Custom Hoist Basket
A major consideration when designing a custom basket is whether to use wire or sheet metal for the basket. 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.
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, Iconel 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.
Hoist baskets need to have hooks, rings, or other assemblies so that 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. However, the design of your custom hoist basket will depend on your unique application and manufacturing environment
Testing Custom Hoist Basket Designs
Based on information gathered about a client’s manufacturing process, Marlin Steel’s engineers can move to the next step of designing and testing a hoist basket by using the precision of automated factoring techniques, such as the finite element analysis (FEA) software. Marlin Steel uses Autodesk physics simulation software to test the custom hoist basket’s 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.
According to the Autodesk website, FEA is “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.
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 Steel can set to design, test, and build the perfect super-sized hoist basket for whatever the need. Interested to learn more about our hoist baskets? Talk to one of our degree-holding mechanical engineers today!