Heat treating baskets are a crucial element in your manufacturing process. They have a significant impact on the efficiency of the parts finishing process. Due to the extreme environments they are constantly exposed to, they will need to periodically be replaced.
Maintenance managers often re-order the same baskets again and again without fully exploring the opportunity to understand if and how their basket design could be improved. Although there are several types of furnaces, methods for loading and methods for cooling, we’ve compiled three considerations that apply for all types of heat treating baskets.
Consideration #1 - Minimizing basket weight
Whether your baskets are robotically loaded or loaded by hand, weight is often a factor – a factor in how it’s loaded and how productive the load is. Reducing basket weight brings several benefits particularly with efficiency. By designing and fabricating a basket with higher grade materials that weigh less, efficiency can be gained during the heat treating process.
Consideration #2 - Maximizing for loading efficiency
When loading parts into a furnace basket, the goal is almost always to maximize loading efficiency. However, proper spacing is necessary to allow for atmosphere circulation and temperature uniformity. While the specifics will depend on exactly what type of furnace you’re operating, it’s wise to explore ways to improve this step in your process.
Consideration #3 - Minimizing distortion
Over the course of their lifespan, baskets will experience distortion, twisting and sagging from heating and/or quenching -- these are also common visual indications that a basket is nearing the end of it’s life.
A typical basket can last anywhere from six months to two years. If your goal is to extend this lifespan, then consider ductile wrought materials that offer greater resistance to thermal fatigue.
Your Next Steps
These three considerations are a great starting point to begin your discussions with vendors. Remember to begin speaking with vendors early to allow ample time for design and fabrication.