A lot of the time on this blog, the primary subject is custom wire baskets for a variety of applications. However, sometimes, a wire basket might not be the best solution for a client’s needs. For example, in one recent custom basket order from a manufacturer who needed parts washing and handling baskets for a series of heavy cylindrical parts, it was determined that perforated sheet metal would actually be a better fit for the client’s needs than a wire mesh design would.
Why go with stainless steel perforated metal baskets rather than steel wire baskets? In this case, there were two key reasons to use perforated sheet metal over a series of separate wires:
1: Structural Integrity
In this instance, the parts to be held were fairly heavy—concentrating a lot of weight in a small area. Part of this was because the cylinders would be stacked vertically (so as to facilitate draining liquid out of them after washing). This meant that all of the weight from the cylinder would be concentrated on one end point.
While steel wires can be very strong, perforated sheet metal is even stronger for the same thickness of metal. This is partly because with steel wires, each wire has to take all of the stress from holding heavy parts on an individual basis. With perforated sheet metal, the weight is distributed across a larger area—reducing the risk of the metal bending or breaking under the stress.
2: Simplified Welding
In a wire basket, each individual wire needs to be welded separately. Additionally, to maximize strength and rigidity, extra welds would be needed at each spot where two wires would cross one another. This creates extra work and process steps which complicate the basket’s assembly and add extra costs.
By using perforated sheet metal instead, Marlin could save the client time and money on welding processes while retaining a high tensile strength. Rather than having to make dozens of individual welds for single wires, a single large weld could be made to join the perforated metal to the frame of the rounded washing basket. This made the weld both simple and incredibly strong.
Meeting the Client’s Needs
By using perforated stainless steel sheets to make the majority of the basket, the basket’s durability was increased to well beyond the minimum necessary to hold the client’s cylindrical parts without sacrificing the air flow needed to let the cylinders inside drain and dry efficiently. However, it would take more than a strong basket to fulfill the client’s needs.
The basket would need to be easy to handle manually, able to withstand a variety of chemicals, and hold parts securely through a spin dry cycle. Because of the size of the cylinders the baskets would hold, they needed to have high sides—otherwise, the cylinders could tip out during the rough motion of the drying cycle.
A large, movable handle was added to the top of the basket’s frame to make it easier for the client’s employees to pick up and carry between processes. The baskets were kept open-topped to allow the client to easily access the interior of the basket—this way, they could quickly add a custom mesh screen to the bottom of the basket if they needed one for a specific part.
To keep the baskets from corroding after repeated exposure to the chemicals used in the client’s cleaning processes, the baskets were made of grade 304 stainless steel. This alloy would be more than sufficient to withstand the mild chemicals used in the client’s parts finishing process.
However, to make certain that the basket could take repeated use for several years, Marlin’s engineering team used finite element analysis software to test the basket’s durability. This analysis virtually simulated years of use under the client’s specified conditions in mere moments.
If any defects were found in the design, the software would log the cause of the failure and report it to the design engineer. Then, the design would be tweaked to solve the issue. This pattern of testing and tweaking the design would be repeated until it could pass the test.
In the end, Marlin’s engineers were able to create the perfect custom perforated metal basket to meet the client’s needs—going from initial request to having a final product delivered to the client in a matter of a couple of weeks.
Need a custom industrial basket for a special manufacturing application? Contact the experts at Marlin Steel today to find out what the best options are for your basket and get started on a custom basket quote!