In many parts washing and finishing applications, the parts/materials being held through the process are light, small and delicate. In other processes, however, the parts are super-heavy duty. Designing baskets for heavy-duty parts can be just as challenging as designing ones for small, delicate parts, although the nature of the challenges may be somewhat different.
Designing for Durability
When a basket is meant to hold large, bulky parts that have a significant weight, it is critical that the basket has enough tensile strength to contain the part through all of the stresses of its particular wash or finish process without becoming deformed.
In dealing with small and light parts, the material choice alone is usually the biggest defining factor for whether or not a custom basket design will be able to survive the customer’s wash/finish process. However, with heavy parts, this is a bit trickier, as the weight of the held part (or parts) can increase the amount of stress placed on the frame of the basket.
The first solution to this problem is typically to use thicker-gauge wire or sheet metal. Thicker pieces of metal are less likely to bend than thinner ones, so this is an easy solution to the problem.
Another way to protect against the weight of held parts causing deformities in the basket is to add extra reinforcements to the frame of the basket. For example, extra wires may be wrapped and welded to the sides of the basket to prevent it from bulging outwards.
The weight of parts to be held in a basket also frequently determines whether a basket is designed around the use of wire mesh or perforated sheet metal.
Balancing Function with Longevity
For basket #1062001-38, the final design used wire mesh rather than perforated sheet metal, although the parts to be held were quite heavy for the size of the basket. The reason for this was that wire mesh provides superior drainage for debris and liquids after a washing process is finished. To compensate for the lower structural integrity of wire mesh compared to sheet metal, the wires in the mesh were made especially thick and spaced relatively close together so that the weight of held parts would not all settle on just one or two pieces of wire.
By doing this, Marlin’s engineers were able to create a custom parts washing basket that struck a balance between being heavy-duty enough to hold a significant weight load through harsh parts washing processes and open enough to allow the runoff from said wash processes to drain away cleanly without settling on the basket.
The wash process that basket #1062001-38 was used in involved aqueous solutions and the risk of parts falling out of the basket during the wash. To counter this, a reinforced wire mesh lid was added, one with two hinges welded in opposite directions so as not to be removable. Two thick latch plates were welded onto the frame as well to keep the lid shut tight during the toughest wash processes.
To aid in handling, two extra thick steel bars were welded to the sides of the basket frame. These bars provided a sturdy handhold for workers to place their fingers under, without adding much to the dimensions of the basket itself. This would simplify the task of carrying the basket without interfering with its ability to fit inside of the machinery the client used for their parts washing/finishing processes.
By using thick wire mesh and heavy-duty construction, this basket can stand up to thousands of repeat wash cycles in the customer’s toughest wash processes.
Discover more about custom steel wire baskets by checking out our free guide at the link below: