I’d like to show you a really cool project we just finished. The end user remanufactures drive units for electric fork trucks and they needed us to design a basket to hold the individual components of the disassembled units. Some of the components were extremely heavy, all of the components could have heavy caked-on grime on the outside, and some of the components have internal hydraulic passages that need to be thoroughly cleaned. The cleaning process they are using includes high pressure spray and full rotation. All of the parts, large and small, from each drive unit need to stay together through the cleaning process, they had to fit into a cleaning chamber that was pretty tight, and the basket needed to be easy to load with visually intuitive part locations.
We started by positioning digital parts models within the work envelop constraints, paying close attention to orienting critical surfaces to face outward for direct exposure to the spray while still maintaining good part-to-part clearance to effectively clean all surfaces.
With the digital parts positioned, we designed the basket to support and secure them during the rotating wash cycle. We were able to experiment with different configurations within Solid-Works to find the design that was the most secure and the easiest to load.
When we were confident with our digital design, we downloaded the models into our CNC rod bender to make the parts in stainless steel, then welded everything together. Sample customer parts arrived toward the end of fabrication and they dropped into position perfectly.
As I said, the cleaning chamber was just barely big enough for the parts, and the parts were so heavy that they needed to be secured with a clamping lid. We struggled with how to fit clamps onto the basket. We came up with this idea to angle the basket corners to mount two heavy duty toggle clamps “inside” of the rectangular work boundaries, space that would have gone unused. Tabs on the opposite end of the lid act as a partial hinge to allow the lid to easily be removed completely, but we still get secure clamping from just two clamps on the end facing the operator.
We needed to design and fabricate these baskets in just a few weeks, which was only possible through our effective use of Solid-Works as a digital design tool. We very quickly developed and refined our ideas digitally so when we started fabricating in metal we knew it would work. The customer has just completed their initial process run-off and our baskets work perfectly.
For other cool projects, please look around our website, at www.ThreeMTool.com, or call us at 800-955-0868.