Mobile Wire Carts for Custom Manufacturing Applications

June 2, 2016 | Wire Forms, Steel Wire Products

This mobile cart design has tightly-spaced racks, but is still open enough to aid in drying out parts.Many of Marlin Steel’s clients assume that Marlin’s manufacturing team can only produce small parts washing baskets. While crafting custom stainless steel parts washing baskets is Marlin’s specialty, there are a lot more custom metal forms that Marlin can make.

Marlin’s manufacturing team is no stranger to larger projects, including parts containers for heavy machinery components, reinforced sheet metal materials handling baskets, and mobile wire carts that hold multiple baskets/trays of parts at once.

In fact, many manufacturers employ mobile carts as a part of their manufacturing process. These carts help to facilitate movement of loaded trays and baskets from one process to the next.

Designing a Better Mobile Cart

Any mobile cart design, whether it’s just for materials handling or for parts washing, begins with a frame. Each mobile cart frame needs to be robust enough to take a full complement of loaded trays or baskets.

When the frame isn’t robust enough for the job, it can warp or collapse under a full load, impeding the ability of the cart to load baskets or trays.

After the basic frame is designed and the materials for the wire cart have been selected, the design team works on optimizing the spacing of individual wires that hold your trays or baskets in place.

Ideally, the wires should be far enough apart to allow trays/baskets to be easily loaded and removed. Additionally, wider spacing can help allow loaded parts to dry faster by allowing unrestricted air flow through the cart. However, wires still need to be close enough to prevent wasted space and maximize the number of trays or baskets that can be loaded at once.

Finally, large, durable caster wheels are added to the bottom of the cart to allow easy movement of the cart across your manufacturing floor.

Vetting the Design

Caster wheels allow for easy movement from one process to the next.Before manufacturing actually begins, the design is tested using physics simulation software that simulates the effect of prolonged exposure to your manufacturing environment on the mobile cart design. This offers a huge time advantage and significant cost savings for testing the design.

For example, say your process uses caustic chemicals to clean/sterilize parts. These chemicals may remain on parts, exposing the mobile cart to the runoff.

Normally, testing this would require you to use a physical cart for a few hundred parts cleaning cycles to see the full effect. This could take weeks. Worse yet, you’d have to pay for prototype tooling and manufacturing costs without knowing for sure the prototype cart is viable.

Virtual testing using Autodesk physics simulations can allow for testing of the design without ever having to create a physical prototype. By plugging in the variables for the conditions of your manufacturing environment and parts finishing processes, designs can be tested for many years’ worth of uses in mere minutes.

Once the analysis is complete, any faults, and their causes, are noted in an automated report. So if a design fails the test, the design team will know why and the mobile cart design can be reworked to account for the fault.

Of course, this requires detailed and accurate information about the conditions of your manufacturing space, including temperatures, air quality factors (salt air, etc.) and the specific chemicals used in your processes.

Need help creating the perfect mobile wire cart for your manufacturing needs? Consult an experienced mechanical engineer!

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