Fast and efficient parts washing is crucial for maintaining productivity for almost any manufacturing application. In the pharmaceutical industry, parts-washing procedures have to be both efficient and thorough. Otherwise, the manufacturer risks parts contamination that could render the medical instruments unsuitable in a sterile environment.
One medical instrument manufacturer recently reached out to Marlin Steel to create a set of stainless steel medical instrument trays to hold their parts through a high-pressure washing process that used hot water to blast surface contaminants off the parts and sterilize them.
The Challenge of Making Medical Instrument Trays for Pressure Washing
One of the biggest challenges in this stainless steel medical tray design was ensuring that the parts held in the tray wouldn’t be blasted out by the pressure washing process. Small, delicate parts would be easily knocked around or even out of a shallow stainless steel tray if the enclosure had no top.
So, to keep parts from being ejected out of the tray by high-pressure water jets, Marlin’s engineers added a heavy wire mesh lid to the tray’s design. The open space of the mesh would allow the high-pressure water jets to pass through it while keeping parts secure.
The bottom and sides of the medical instrument trays were also designed to use stainless steel wire mesh to allow water and air through the tray while keeping held parts inside. There were no dividers or custom wire patterns inside the tray, though. This open design was necessary to allow the tray to accommodate a variety of different medical instruments.
To keep the wires of the medical instrument trays easy to clean and free of corrosion after repeated use in hot water, they were made of electropolished grade 316 stainless steel. This steel would be incredibly resistant to corrosion from the water and any incidental corrosives that might be present on the medical instruments being cleaned by the client.
Because of how strong stainless steel wires are, they could be made incredibly thin without impacting the tray’s ability to withstand the pressure washing process.
Checking the Custom Medical Instrument Tray Design
Even though the first run of the stainless steel tray designs should have been able to easily withstand the client’s parts sterilization/washing process, it was necessary to test the design before moving to full-scale production. Otherwise, a flaw in the design that could cost the client time and money might go unfixed.
So, Marlin’s engineers ran the basket design through a finite element analysis (FEA) software to test the design in a virtual environment. With FEA software, the tray design could be tested virtually for years of use in mere minutes—all without committing a single piece of wire to a physical prototype.
If the design failed the test, the cause of the failure would be automatically noted so the engineering team could correct that flaw. Because of the detailed report and the speed of the test, Marlin’s engineers could evaluate multiple iterations of the design in hours. Compare this to physical prototype testing, which could take weeks to move from version A to version B.
Thanks to Marlin’s use of FEA software, the engineering team was able to perfect the design of the stainless steel medical trays for the client in two days and move to full-scale production without wasting time or materials. This sped up the delivery of the finished trays—helping the client stay on schedule for its own production.
Need a custom wire basket or tray delivered fast? Reach out to Marlin Steel to discuss your custom parts-washing and handling needs.