Sometimes, simply creating a custom wire shelf to fit into an existing mount isn’t enough. In a few cases, it is necessary to build an entire custom mount for the custom shelves that hold your precision-engineered parts.
In one recent job, Marlin Steel’s engineers were tasked with creating not only a series of shelves that would be routinely exposed to temperatures in excess of 250 °F (approximately 121 °C) for twelve hours at a time, but a custom shelving unit with wheels that could be hand-pushed which could withstand the same kind of exposure as well.
That’s right, instead of the typical washing processes, this particular shelf would be designed to be used in a specialized drying process.
Making Material Drying Shelves
Just as with the creation process for parts washing baskets, our engineers checked for numerous properties associated with the client’s material drying process before starting the design, including:
- The temperatures the racks and shelving unit would be exposed to and for how long.
- The dimensions that the shelving unit should be.
- The method by which the shelves and the shelving unit would be moved.
- Desired spacing for mesh to accommodate parts.
- Whether or not the shelf would be exposed to specific chemicals or physical stresses such as vibration.
- Weight distribution of parts on the shelves.
- Number of units to be manufactured.
These were just a few of the considerations that went into the design of the shelves and the shelving unit.
On top of these concerns, it was important for this particular manufacturing job that the shelving units and the shelves themselves be free of sharps, edges, burrs, and welding/laser splatter. This was partly because the unit was intended to be hand-pushed from one phase of the process to the other. Sharps and other irregularities pose an injury hazard, as well as preventing smooth operation of the individual shelves.
Based on the specifications provided by the client, Marlin Steel’s engineers began designing the wire racks and the shelving unit to hold them. Grade 304 stainless steel was used for the wire racks and the shelving unit alike because this grade of steel was cost-effective for the client while being able to withstand the temperatures that were expected of the drying process. Since no corrosives would be used in the drying process, a more corrosion resistant grade of steel was not necessary.
Using the precision of automated manufacturing lasers, wire benders (including machines specifically designed to minimize burrs and sharps), and welders, Marlin Steel’s engineers were able to complete the shelving unit and the racks quickly, and with minimal splatter that was easily cleaned.
Wheeling the Shelves in Place
Of course, with the units being moved by hand, there had to be an easy method of pushing the shelving units from one place to the next. The most natural solution was, of course, to add wheels to the bottom of the shelving unit.
The two primary challenges with this issue were to:
- Find a wheel that could withstand the temperatures of the drying process without wearing out;
- Mount the wheel in such a way that it would not interfere the movement of the shelving units into the dryer.
Neither of these challenges proved to be very difficult.
For the first issue, Marlin Steel’s engineers used a set of specially-made Nonmarking High-Temperature Caster wheels. With a maximum capacity of 700 lbs. and the ability to withstand temperatures of up to 475 °F (246 °C), these wheels were built to handle stresses that are well over the design limits of the drying process.
As for the second issue, it was a simple matter to design the shelving unit in such a way that the wheels would not exceed the dimensions of the base of the shelving unit, even while swiveling.
With every order, there are always specific needs and challenges that have to be addressed. However, with an experienced and talented team of engineers, and the precision made possible by sophisticated automated manufacturing techniques, almost any challenge can be overcome so that you can have “quality engineered quick” for your own metal form needs.