What is the Optimal Wire Mesh Size for Ultrasonic Cleaning Baskets?

In Custom Wire Baskets, Wire Forms, Parts Washing

Marlin Steel on January 3, 2017

Wire mesh baskets are often optimal for ultrasonic parts cleaning.In ultrasonic cleaning applications, choosing the optimal size of wire mesh for the cleaning basket is a must:

  • Too thick, and the wires might interfere with the ultrasonic waves—impeding cleaning efficacy.
  • Too thin, and the wires might not adhere to the frame well or burst apart under the strain of holding parts through intense vibrations.

It’s important to get the thickness of the wires just right to provide the best balance of durability, strength, and functionality.

So, What’s the Optimal Wire Mesh Size?

To get the answer to this question, there are a few things that the engineer designing your ultrasonic cleaning baskets has to know first, including:

  • The dimensions of the part or parts to be washed;
  • How much each part weighs;
  • The dimensions of the cleaning tank;
  • What chemicals & temperatures the cleaning process uses;
  • The intensity of the ultrasonic transducer being used; and
  • How the basket will be handled (hand, conveyor, hoist, etc.).

Things such as the weight of held parts and the shape of the part can influence the way they apply stress to the basket. For example, a basket meant to hold a heavy, sharp-edged object through a parts washing process may need thicker wires—particularly near where the part has hard edges.

Another factor that can make a difference for how thick the wire mesh needs to be is the specific material used in the wire mesh basket.

Some metals have higher or lower tensile strengths than other metals do. Metal wires with a very high tensile strength won’t need to be as thick to carry a load as ones made from a softer alloy.

For example, grade 304 stainless steel has an ultimate tensile strength of roughly 90 ksi (621 MPa), and an aluminum alloy might have an ultimate tensile strength of 26.1 ksi (180 MPa)—depending on alloy materials.

To hold the same amount of weight without losing shape, wire mesh made from aluminum would have to be much thicker than mesh made with grade 304 stainless steel.

However, whichever alloy you use for the wire mesh, it must be able to withstand repeated exposure to the chemicals used in your ultrasonic cleaning process. Because of this, it may be better to use a slightly thicker wire mesh made from a resistant alloy than a thinner one made from a less resistant material.

So, establishing exactly what size of wire mesh is the best for your particular ultrasonic cleaning application is impossible without some detailed information.

However, the average thickness of a steel wire mesh for an ultrasonic cleaning basket typically ranges between 0.121” thick and 0.25” thick. For most smaller parts, this is thick enough to support the weight of the held parts without significantly reducing wash performance.

Also, as wires get thicker, the spacing between them is usually increased to avoid reducing ultrasonic wash performance.

Need the perfect ultrasonic parts cleaning basket for your production needs? Contact Marlin Steel today!

Marlin Steel Ultrasonic Cleaning Baskets FAQ Guide

Author: Marlin Steel
Marlin Steel
Marlin Steel is a leading manufacturer of custom‐engineered products from steel wire and sheet metal. Its industrial material handling containers serve many industries including aerospace, defense, medical and automotive.

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