Sometimes, the biggest challenge in creating a custom basket design isn’t in finding the perfect material or the right kind of welding technique to use, but in finding a way to quickly and efficiently accommodate the dimensions of several differently-sized parts.
A recent custom ultrasonic cleaning basket order from a filter manufacturing company offered just this challenge. The company had a range of cylindrical stainless steel mesh filters, each with different dimensions.
The baskets for these filters had to be able to hold each filter securely so they would not collide with one another while minimizing interference with the ultrasonic cleaning process. Normally, to make a basket universal to multiple parts sizes, dividers would be employed to wall off one part from the next. However, this would inhibit the ultrasonic cleaning process too much.
So, to hold parts securely, it was determined that a pattern of thick, precisely-spaced wires would be used. Each cylindrical filter would slot smoothly through the top wires, and catch precisely on the bottom ones. The upper wire mesh would be connected to the bottom wires with just a few vertical wires at the corners and at a couple of places near the center.
This arrangement provided the optimal ultrasonic cleaning experience. But, there was one issue—the spacing of the wires had to be precise to the dimensions of each cylinder, and there were five different sizes to be cleaned using the same process.
Sometimes a One-Size-Fits-All Solution Isn’t the Best
What was the fix in this situation? If the best-performing cleaning design wouldn’t fit all of the parts the client needed to clean, should a “universal” design, one with dividers and more metal between each part, be used?
Not really. The performance of the ultrasonic cleaning process the client used would degrade too much with the addition of dividers, and retrieving the cylindrical filters would be more difficult if there were too many obstacles.
So, it was decided (both by Marlin and the client) to make five separate baskets to accommodate the variety of shapes and sizes of filters the client needed to process.
Using design notes and CAD files from the client, Marlin’s engineers set to the task of creating five similar, yet unique, ultrasonic cleaning baskets tailored to the specific dimensions of each steel filter.
Each basket design was tested separately using Autodesk physics simulation software, even though they shared similar elements and would be used in the same process. This was done to ensure that minute differences in the size and weight of the basket and their held parts would not significantly alter the basket’s useful life.
Turning Ideas into a Reality
Once the designs were finalized, the client’s ultrasonic cleaning baskets had to be made quickly, efficiently, and free from sharps or burrs that could hurt workers handling the baskets.
Using automated assembly equipment to bend wires and make welds kept the occurrence of sharps to a minimum, and helped ensure that each design met the millimeter-precise tolerances required to hold the cylindrical filters securely.
To eliminate any burrs or sharps that would be produced, each cleaning basket was then finished and the hard edges ground down to be smooth.
Two of each ultrasonic parts washing basket was produced, and inside of a couple of weeks, the new baskets were already being put to use in the client’s parts cleaning process. That’s how Marlin delivered Quality, Engineered Quick® for the client.
Learn more about Marlin’s work creating custom ultrasonic cleaning baskets by checking out some of our other resources!