Finding the perfect materials handling basket for your needs can be tough. There are many environmental and process factors that need to be taken into account when creating a custom basket design, such as the presence of certain chemicals, parts weight loads, need for rapid drying/drainage, etc.
When creating a custom materials handling basket, one of the first considerations made is whether to make it a sheet metal material basket or a wire material basket. Both of these types of material baskets have their own strengths and weaknesses which might make one better than the other for specific tasks.
With this in mind, which is better for your manufacturing and materials handling applications?
Let’s take a look at each to assess their pros and cons:
Sheet Metal Basket Characteristics
With sheet metal material baskets, the big advantage is sturdiness. Large plates of metal are stronger than thin wires, allowing sheet metal material baskets to carry heavier loads than their wire basket counterparts.
Additionally, sheet metal provides a more complete enclosure and a larger surface area, so these baskets will heat up and cool off more slowly than a wire basket would. The lack of open space also restricts air flow and drainage, so these baskets aren’t typically as useful for wet wash applications.
Even when the sheet metal has been punched or cut with a laser, it will generally be stronger and have less open space than an equivalent wire basket. Because these baskets use more metal, they do tend to have a higher raw material cost.
These baskets are usually considered ideal for basic materials handling, especially for very heavy loads.
Wire Material Basket Characteristics
As the name implies, wire material baskets are made from a series of wires that are either welded or woven together to form a basket shape. Compared to sheet metal baskets, these baskets have a much lower tensile strength, reducing their weight capacity.
However, with wire baskets, it’s easier to control the amount of open space in the basket to improve air flow and drainage. This enables faster draining and drying of parts, which helps to minimize time between parts washing operations. Since most parts loads go through 8-10 different operations, saving just 6-8 minutes on drying time can cut an hour or more off of your production process.
Additionally, the larger open space allows runoff from some wash processes to drain away faster and more thoroughly. This minimizes the chances of sludge or debris from cleaning processes resettling on parts, reducing the need for extra wash processes to clean parts.
This open space is a must for ultrasonic cleaning, as more open space makes for a more thorough cleaning in such applications. With a sheet metal basket, the thicker, more complete enclosure would block the ultrasonic waves from the transducer.
In heat treat applications, the air flow of a wire basket enables the parts to get up to temperature faster than the complete enclosure of a sheet metal basket, as well as cool off faster once the process is finished.
Overall, wire material baskets are ideal for enhancing process efficiency, speeding up production. Also, by using less raw materials, these baskets minimize raw material costs, but you may end up paying more for weld operations, especially if you’re welding each joint to increase strength and rigidity for the basket.
Which is Better for Your Application?
If you’re simply looking for a basic materials handling basket to move loose material or especially heavy parts loads, a sheet metal basket might be the ideal solution for your needs.
If you’re looking to enhance process efficiency and aren’t dealing with super-heavy parts loads, a wire material basket would be the better choice for your needs.