Marlin Steel specializes in creating custom stainless steel wire baskets for parts washing applications. However, these aren’t the only custom metal forms that Marlin can manufacture.
The production team at the Marlin Steel factory has worked on thousands of custom metal form designs for a variety of applications, from parts washing to heavy-duty materials handling baskets for different industries.
On one recent order, Marlin’s engineers were tasked with creating a heavy-duty wire materials handling basket for carrying up to 70 pounds of wood materials at a time to be kiln-dried at temperatures in excess of 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 hours at a time.
Challenges in the Design
The client had a few specific needs for this particular design.
First, the basket had to be able to safely hold up to 70 pounds of wood while providing sufficient air flow for drying operations.
Second, the basket needed to be able to retain enough tensile strength to prevent wires from being deformed after hours of continuous exposure to an oven-like environment.
Finally, the basket needed to be easy to safely move by hand from one process to the next.
Overcoming the Challenges
The old baskets that the client previously used for their kiln-drying operations had served their purposes admirably. However, years of high-temperature oxidation and exposure to outdoors environments caused the plain steel to rust heavily, compromising its structural integrity.
To counteract the effects of prolonged exposure to high kiln operating temperatures and outdoor conditions without using stainless steel or specialized coatings was a tall order. To prolong the useful life of the baskets, it was decided that the thickness of the wires should be increased over the original design.
By increasing wire thickness, the loss of tensile strength from oxidation could be reduced as it would take longer for the basket to rust through. Also, using fewer thick wires helped to maximize open space in the design, aiding in the drying of lumber loaded into the basket.
To facilitate easier handling of the basket and its contents throughout the drying process, extra-large, thick wires were added as handles. These wires would also run under the basket frame as well, helping to support the weight of a full load so that the thinner wires of the basket wouldn’t be bent out of shape.
Testing the Design
Before tooling for the basket ever began, the design of the basket was tested using Autodesk physics simulation software to show how the basket would react to prolonged use. If a basket design fails the test, Marlin’s engineers get a detailed report of the failure and the cause so they can rework the design.
This simulated testing is repeated until a basket’s design finally passes muster. This not only prevents the manufacture of patently bad baskets, it’s much faster than physical testing. Virtual trials can be completed in minutes, while physical testing takes weeks or months.
Thanks to virtual testing, Marlin’s client got a shipment of new baskets quickly and was able to put them to use right away, preventing production delays.
Even though this was a “basic” design task, Marlin’s production team made sure to check every aspect of the design and ensure that the final product was top-quality. Learn more about how Marlin makes a better basket for your production needs today!