One of the questions that the Marlin Steel engineers hear a lot is “why do we need custom metal basket modifications, won’t a stock basket work?” There is a legitimate concern here: the worry that a basket’s design might be over-engineered for its final use.
Over-engineering a design adds unnecessary costs and slows production, which is why it’s important to carefully consider each custom modification that gets added to a design, whether it’s:
- The choice of materials for the container
- Extra hardware for the container such as handles, lids, dividers, etc.
- Coating applications (antimicrobial, non-stick, corrosion-resistant, or shock-absorbing)
- The thickness of the wires/sheet metal used in the design
However, in many cases, such modifications to a metal basket can make a world of difference for the performance and useful life of the basket.
How so? Here are a few reasons why custom modifications can make the difference in a manufacturing process:
#1: Improved Useful Life of the Metal Basket
One of the key considerations that Marlin’s engineers use when choosing modifications for a basket’s design is how such modifications will impact the useful life of the basket.
For example, if a manufacturing process will expose the basket to highly corrosive chemicals for a prolonged period of time, the designing engineer might choose to use a material that is corrosion-resistant, such as grade 304 stainless steel. The engineer may also choose apply a coating to the basket that will prevent direct contact with the corrosive material.
In this case, not using a corrosion-resistant material would result in the basket being rusted through or even partially dissolving after just a few uses, rendering it useless. This would require a re-order of new baskets, driving up costs and incurring delays as the production team has to wait for new baskets to work with.
There are many other ways that a custom modification to a basket design can prolong the useful life of the basket, but this is one of the most common examples of how a modification to the design can prolong its useful life.
#2: Improved Quality of Processed Parts
Another major reason that a specific modification might be made to a container’s design is to improve the quality of the parts processed in that container.
An example of this would be the addition of dividers to a custom parts washing basket design. Using dividers keeps parts separated from one another during the often-rough ultrasonic cavitation process, wherein the contents of the basket are subjected to high-frequency vibrations for a prolonged period of time to scour impurities from their surfaces.
By keeping the individual parts in an ultrasonic cleaning process separate, you prevent them from colliding with one another. This prevents dents and surface scratches that might be caused by contact with a hard edge when it’s moving at 10,000+ vibrations a second.
The end result is fewer surface defects in washed parts, less scrap produced in the manufacturing process, and reduced parts rejections, all of which improve the efficiency of your manufacturing line.
#3: Faster Production Speeds
Some modifications to a container design can actually help improve the overall speed of your production process.
One way this is accomplished is by using a combination of design features that allow you to use one basket for multiple processes.
Say that you were using different containers for heat treating and ultrasonic parts cleaning. If moving your product from one basket to another took one minute for each load of parts, and you had to process 1,000 parts loads each day to meet your production goals, eliminating that one-minute process would save you 16 2/3 hours of labor every day, or 83 1/3 hours of labor a week.
That’s worth two full-time employees a week of labor saved by cutting a one-minute process from the assembly line.
By carefully choosing a few specific combinations of materials and other modifications to the container design, it’s possible to make one container that can withstand the stresses of several different processes.
The above examples are just a few ways that using custom modifications can benefit a manufacturer. By taking advantage of these benefits, you can create a custom basket design that helps you be a leaner, faster, more effective manufacturer.