“To coat, or not to coat?” That is the question for many a manufacturer when they’re considering parts washing basket designs. There are many different kinds of coatings, and many different kinds of basket materials that said coatings can go over. In some cases, coatings can be unnecessary; in others, they’re vital to the design of the basket.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at using coatings vs using a “naked” basket design.
Pros of Not Using a Coating on Stainless Steel
Stainless steel alloys such as grade 304 and grade 316 stainless steel possess a number of positive qualities when it comes to temperature/chemical resistance, tensile strength, and surface hardness. These qualities tend to make stainless steel an excellent choice for parts washing baskets in numerous applications.
The right stainless steel alloy can outperform certain coating materials in specific performance categories such as temperature or abrasion resistance, making them useful with or without a specialized coating.
That being said, some of the more specialized alloys of stainless steel can be prohibitively expensive compared to using a specialized coating with a less rare alloy.
When is using uncoated stainless best?
Generally speaking, uncoated stainless steel is best when the alloy of steel being used for your basket meets or exceeds all of the tolerances needed for your parts washing processes. No-coating is a cost effective option that many of Marlin’s clients have used in the past to fulfill their parts finishing needs.
Reasons to Use a Coating
There are times where the use of a specialized coating such as one from Chemours’ Teflon® family of coatings can enhance the utility of a parts washing basket to make it more durable or less likely to scratch delicate parts. This applies even to stainless steel baskets.
For example, if you have ultra-delicate parts, or metal-to-metal contact is a major no-no for your parts for other reasons, then a coating would be a must-have for your parts washing basket—even when stainless steel would meet all other tolerance requirements.
When picking a coating, it’s important to consider all of the characteristics of the coating and of your parts finishing process and manufacturing environment. Overall, Teflon® is good at weathering chemical environments that would corrode most stainless steel alloys. But, there are other considerations to make.
Within the Teflon® family of coatings, there are four different types of coating that you can choose from. Some of these coatings are more porous and thin than others, while some are thicker and softer, making them useful for different applications.
The process of covering stainless steel with any kind of specialized coating adds time and material expenses, but can be well worth it for certain applications.
Generally speaking, it’s best to use a coating when the chemicals in the process would damage the base basket material, or when you need to prevent the metal of the basket from making direct contact with your parts for other reasons. Otherwise, using uncoated stainless steel is a perfectly viable option for most parts washing baskets.