In many of the manufacturing applications that Marlin designs custom baskets for, stainless steel is the best material for the job. However, there are times where a lower-grade plain steel can suffice for the work.
When should grade 1008 low-carbon steel be used for wire baskets?
1: When Corrosion is Not an Issue
Plain steel alloys, such as grade 1008, are highly susceptible to corrosion from exposure to chlorides, acids, and even ordinary water. This is one of the primary reasons why stainless steel is preferred for tasks where exposure to corrosive chemicals is a possibility.
However, there are some tasks in which such exposure isn’t likely, or where rust on the basket isn’t a major concern—such as when the basket is just going to be used for moving parts or raw materials between different locations on the factory floor.
2: When the Baskets Are Going to Be Completely Coated
When a basket is going to be completely covered in a protective coating, then some manufacturers may want to use affordable 1008 low-carbon steel instead of a stainless steel.
The coating will provide the necessary protection against corrosives, while the steel will support the weight of the basket’s load.
However, it is important to note that some basket designs might not work as well with certain coatings. Thicker, softer coatings cannot cover moving parts such as lid hinges completely. In addition, they may cause webbing to form in the small gaps between wires, and alter the interior dimensions of baskets meant to hold parts in a precise manner.
3: When Plastic Baskets Wouldn’t Have the Tensile Strength You Need
While grade 1008 steel isn’t the strongest steel alloy on the market, with a tensile strength of about 49,000 psi (49 ksi) compared to grade 304 stainless’ 90,000 psi (90 ksi) tensile strength, it is still far stronger than most plastic polymers. For example, as noted by MatWeb’s materials property data, polyimide with glass fibers, one of the stronger copolymers, has a tensile strength of roughly 150 MPa (21,755 psi)—less than half the strength of 1008 low-carbon steel!
This makes the “plain” steel more suitable for making wire baskets that will hold heavier loads than any similarly-sized plastic basket.
4: When Stainless Steel is Simply Too Costly for Your Acquisition Budget
Plain steels such as 1008 low-carbon are typically much less expensive than their stainless steel counterparts. For many manufacturers, this is the primary deciding factor in their choice to use plain steel over stainless, especially budgets are tight.
However, in many applications, it is far more cost-effective in the long run to use stainless steel instead of grade 1008 steel. This is because stainless steel will have a much longer useful life than plain steel in applications where exposure to water, chlorides, and other corrosives are likely—meaning fewer replacements over the years and less disruptions when baskets fail.
Overall, low-carbon grade 1008 steel is an okay choice for material handling wire baskets that won’t be exposed to any kind of extreme conditions or moisture. For applications with more strenuous operating conditions, stainless steel alloys still remain the superior choice.