Today, we here at Marlin Steel want to address a common question about the manufacture of steel wire and sheet metal baskets: “What affects the cost of a custom basket order?” It’s a question we hear often, and one that deserves an answer.
There are many things that affect the total cost of a basket order, which we will discuss in this post:
Cost Influence #1: Basket Material
The specific type of material that you use for your basket will naturally have a significant influence on the total cost of your order. Generally speaking, stainless steel is more expensive than plain steel. Also, the different grades of stainless steel might have wildly different prices themselves, which can then fluctuate from time to time.
Why? Because, one reason is that each grade of stainless steel has different base materials within its alloy.
For example, say the price of nickel on the market suddenly goes up. Grade 321 stainless steel consists of 9 to 12% nickel, so the price of this alloy would increase as well. Grade 330 stainless steel is 35% nickel, so its price would climb even faster than the grade 321 steel under these conditions, assuming the prices of all other materials in these two alloys remained constant.
As the market prices for the alloy materials of steel are always changing, the price of any given steel alloy can change on a moment’s notice. So, the market price of your chosen steel alloy is a major influence on the cost of your steel basket order.
Naturally, the more metal is used for each basket in the order, the higher the cost will be as well.
Cost Influence #2: Tooling Costs
Whenever a manufacturer begins work on a new product line, even a custom wire or sheet metal basket, there are always some minimum costs associated with switching production to that product line. These tooling costs for getting ready for a given product are an inevitable part of a custom basket order, and as a result, will be passed onto the consumer.
On a side note, the relative impact of the tooling costs goes down per basket on larger orders, as the setup for a basket design is the same whether you’re making 1 basket or 100 baskets.
Cost Influence #3: Coatings
Many specialty basket applications require more than just a strong basket material. Whether you want to create a cushion for delicate parts that you do not want to scratch by using a thick coat of soft PVC, or you want to add a temperature and scratch-resistant coat to protect the basket itself, coatings can play a major role in the utility of a custom sheet metal or wire basket.
However, specialized coatings are also an added cost, creating an extra process for baskets to be put through and adding more materials to the final bill.
Cost Influence #4: Shipping
Moving a large shipment of metal from one location to another can be both time-consuming and expensive. The further items have to travel and the heavier the load, the costlier the shipping will be. Also, when shipping items from overseas, long delays can be incurred while manufactured baskets await available space on a cargo ship going from one country to the other, not to mention customs processing delays even after such items reach a domestic port.
When waiting on a custom basket order to begin production on your own product lines, these delays can incur costs of the kind that don’t show up on your order invoice: delays from the pushing back of your own production schedule.
The Importance of Ordering the Right Baskets
While the initial cost of a basket order is important, it should not be the only deciding factor in your purchase decision.
In the past, Marlin Steel’s engineers have worked with clients who initially purchased their baskets from the cheapest source available, only to find that the other manufacturer’s basket designs weren’t up to the task. When baskets are not made to sufficiently meet the demands of the processes or environments they will be subjected to, the baskets will fail prematurely, necessitating a second order, effectively doubling the cost of the basket order.
In cases such as the above example, spending a little extra on a basket order to get the right materials and top-notch construction is much cheaper in the long run than ordering a commodity basket made from inferior materials.
Learn more about custom basket pricing and other manufacturing concerns by contacting Marlin Steel directly!