Manufacturers are constantly investing in new technology and equipment to gain a competitive advantage. From parts washing machines, to heat treat systems, to vapor degreasing assemblies, the possible types of equipment that any given manufacturer might use in their production process are nearly endless.
Even within a single type of equipment, there are potentially dozens of different manufacturers. Each manufacturer might have a dozen different models of machinery designed for a specific process, with each machine having different measurements or operating standards.
The stock baskets that come with these machines are rarely up to the task of being integrated into a larger manufacturing process.
Why would the baskets designed for that shiny new parts finishing/cleaning machine you just added to the factory floor not be good enough for your production process?
Here are a few reasons why stock baskets might not cut it for your production process:
Stock Basket Problem #1: Basket Will Not Work with Other Equipment
While we all want a greatly simplified manufacturing process that has as few steps as possible, odds are that your manufacturing process uses more than just one piece of equipment.
The stock basket that comes with one piece of equipment might be wholly incompatible with a different piece of equipment. This means having to use different baskets for each phase of your production process.
This slows down your production as workers have to unload one basket to load the next. Perhaps even worse, you have to spend more of your factory floor space on baskets because you need a unique basket for every piece of processing equipment you have.
Stock Basket Problem #2: Parts Don’t Fit Well Inside of Basket
Another common issue with stock baskets is that their design tends to be poorly optimized for your parts. After all, these baskets are designed to be a “one size fits all” type of solution, so they tend to have a very basic, open design.
The issue with a very open design is that there is usually a lot of extra room for parts to rattle around. If you have delicate parts where the surface condition of the part is a major issue, allowing extra room for parts to rattle around and impact each other can cause the parts to become scratched.
Damaged parts equals more time, money, and materials spent on reworking or outright replacing those parts.
Stock Basket Problem #3: Baskets Not Made for Durability
It is often the case with stock baskets that they are built to meet the minimum needs of the machinery they come with. These baskets are not built for durability or versatility. They are made to withstand one type of process using one set of chemicals and physical forces.
Use a stock basket for something other than the process it was built for, and it will begin to fall apart very rapidly.
For example, say that you had a basket that came with a heat treat machine, and tried to use it with your ultrasonic parts washing machine. Assuming the basket even fits, the heat treat basket would be optimized for heat resistance, not chemical corrosion resistance. Exposure to the chemical solution in your ultrasonic parts washer would corrode the metal of the basket, shortening its useful life.
Even when only used for the machinery that they’re designed for, stock baskets are not usually designed to last for a long time. They’re designed to give you a basket option for your new equipment without driving up production costs.
Stock Basket Problem #4: Parts Falling out of the Basket
When a company designs a stock basket to go with their parts finishing or washing equipment, they have no idea how large or small the parts that you are processing will be. Design considerations such as the open space between the wires and the inclusion of lids and latches are optimized for the machine’s performance, not for the safety of your parts.
For example, if you’re processing parts with a diameter of 1/2” or less, and the manufacturer of your stock basket made the open space between wires on your basket 3/4” wide, there is a risk that your parts will fall right out of the basket during processing.
This is a problem not only for your parts, it poses a risk of damaging your manufacturing equipment as well, since loose parts can get caught in machinery.
Improving Your Manufacturing with Custom Baskets
Rather than rely on stock baskets for your production processes, consider using a purpose-built custom steel wire basket for handling your parts and materials.
With a well-optimized basket that is designed to accommodate your parts and your entire production process, you can minimize the need to swap containers, save factory floor space, and keep your parts safe from accidental damage.
Find out how Marlin Steel has helped other manufacturers save time, money, and labor by checking out the case study at the link below: