Usually, when washing multiple kinds of parts, a universal-style basket design is the preferred solution, as it offers ease of switching between parts types. However, a recent basket order by a client put a unique spin on the challenge of designing a basket to wash multiple kinds of parts.
The challenge was that the customer needed to wash a series of pump tubings, pistons, fill needles, and other component sets all at once rather than processing each one individually. Additionally, these tubing and pump sets came in three different size varieties.
On top of having to wash a set of parts in three different sizes, the basket had to keep each part locked down during an ultrasonic washing process to keep them from rolling around and getting damaged—this was the primary reason why a loose, universal basket design couldn’t be used.
Finally, the basket needed to minimize the space it would take up while holding all of the parts required by the customer.
Meeting this challenge would require a completely unique solution, one that would be customized to this specific application.
Creating Custom, Form-Fitting Wire Inserts
One of the biggest challenges was making it so that the basket could hold all of the parts for each tubing set regardless of the size. Using three different baskets or even inserts would have increased complexity and made it more likely that a mishap would occur.
So, Marlin’s engineering team took a careful look at the details of every part that would need washing for each tubing set, the number of each part type that would be in each load, and the maximum dimensions of the basket.
Our team then spent some time rearranging the load layout to ensure maximum efficiency of washing, drainage, and ease of handling for the different-sized loads. The end result was one of the most complicated internal wire forms of any basket Marlin has ever made.
In this basket’s design, there are no less than 29 separate types of grade 304 stainless steel wire. Each of these wire forms consist of different shapes, lengths, and diameters to provide the best balance between strength, fit, and wash function.
From the 0.041’ thick wire mesh at the bottom of the basket, to the 0.25’-thick wires used for the edges of the frame, each and every last wire was carefully measured and optimized to create the perfect steel basket to hold a variety of parts through the wash.
Some parts would be held by gently-curved zigzag “W” wire shapes, while others would have custom-shaped enclosures that would firmly pin them in place throughout the ultrasonic cleaning process.
Using a gentle W-shaped bend for the wires holding the pump housings and pistons that would change in size from one set of parts to the next allowed them to accommodate all of the parts set with a single insert design.
Additionally, by changing the elevation between certain wires, the parts would be angled to allow for faster drainage of runoff from the wash process.
Saving Space on the Factory Floor
Another major challenge in this design task was that the baskets needed to be kept as small as possible to save floor space. For any manufacturer, floor space is a precious commodity. The more floor space you save on any one part of your production process, the more space you have for other needs.
To reduce the amount of space these baskets would take, Marlin’s engineers designed the baskets to be as small as possible while providing sufficient separation of parts as well as accommodate the largest part sets.
Even more space was saved by making the baskets stackable when fully loaded.
This would allow the customer to greatly reduce the space consumption of their baskets, freeing up room for other needs and reducing clutter on the factory floor.
Holding multiple parts in a set configuration is a challenge, especially when there are multiple sizes of parts that are being processed. However, with a little know-how and effort, these challenges can be overcome to produce a basket that enhances efficiency and saves space.