Every year, millions of consumers rely on the precision and accuracy of automotive parts to see them safely through their daily journeys. Each part in a motor vehicle must meet exacting tolerances and performance standards.
To this end, automotive companies demand the best from their production lines. The question is, “how can you get the best from your automotive parts production process?” Investing in employee training and advanced manufacturing automation equipment are two ways that automotive parts manufacturers seek continuous improvement.
However, there’s another item that can be of benefit to an automotive company: custom parts washing and materials handling baskets.
How can custom parts washing baskets benefit an automotive parts company?
Here are a few ways:
1: Improved Ability to Meet Production Tolerances
A fault in any given part of an automobile can have consequences that range from the inconvenient (breakdowns) to the disastrous (high-speed collisions). With so much riding on the performance of their parts, automotive manufacturers work hard to make sure that their parts all meet tight tolerances and performance demands.
One key way to ensure that parts can meet performance tolerances is to prevent the surface damage that can occasionally happen during parts finishing processes such as ultrasonic cleaning.
However, using a stock materials handling basket can make this difficult. Stock baskets are designed with a “one size fits all” mentality, meaning that there are no design considerations made for the needs of your particular parts.
Customized ultrasonic parts cleaning baskets, on the other hand, can incorporate features that will prevent surface damage to your more delicate automotive parts.
For example, dividers can be added to keep parts from colliding during the ultrasonic cavitation process. Or, the wires of the container can be made specifically to hold your parts in place without them coming loose.
By preventing surface damage to parts, you can improve your ability to meet production tolerances.
#2: Reduction in Scrap Production
Another benefit of being better able to meet production tolerances on each part you make is that you will have a commensurate reduction in the scrap your manufacturing process produces.
By preventing surface scratches to delicate parts, custom baskets can keep you from having to scrap whole parts or waste time and materials reworking those parts.
#3: Fewer Production Delays
Reworking and scrapping parts has an additional cost beyond the scrap produced and material used: time. When a part has to be reworked or remade, that’s extra time and labor that has to be assigned to the creation of a single product.
Using a basket that is designed to prevent the scratches and dents that cause parts to need reworking/scrapping helps avoid delays in production.
Another way that a custom materials handling container can reduce production delays is by providing what we like to call “cradle to grave” processing for parts. Normally, when you use a stock basket, that basket is designed to be compatible with the machine it was originally made for and no others. When moving from one process to the next, it may be necessary to take the parts out of one basket and put it into another one that is specific to the next machine/process.
A custom parts washing/materials handling basket, on the other hand, can be made to work with multiple machines and finishing processes. This way, you don’t have to spend labor on constantly moving parts from one basket to another in between finishing processes. While there are limits to this, it can help reduce the total time a batch of parts spends on the production line.
#4: Longer Times Between Reorders
One of the major issues with stock baskets is that they’re designed to be the most cost-effective solution to putting parts through a given process, not the best or most durable one. They may not be rated for continuous use or exposure to chemicals in your production environment from other machinery, or for the loads you need to process.
This can lead to the baskets frequently breaking from chemical corrosion or physical stress. Not only does this create a need to order more baskets, it deprives you of the containers you need to process parts until the replacements come in.
Marlin Steel corrects for this by testing each basket design using Autodesk physics simulation software before the baskets are made. By plugging in the basket’s design and material information, the software can run tests that show how a given basket would stand up to thousands of hours of use in a few minutes, and tell engineers if and why the basket would fail.
These causes of damage are logged, and the design can be reworked to account for the flaw.
The result is a sturdier, longer-lasting parts container that doesn’t require replacement as frequently.
Getting the right container for your automotive parts can mean the difference between improving productivity and wasting time, labor, and materials.