The Problem

A customer that produces aerospace and military parts came to us because their plating racks for a phosphate operation needed improvement. The racks were made of stainless steel, were very heavy, didn’t protect the parts very well and didn't capture the parts very well either. Like many customers, they asked us to not only manufacture, but to offer them design assistance as well. The new baskets had to stand up to the rigors of daily use and the punishment of extended use in hot plating baths of aggressive chemicals. And the new parts had to compatible with the customer's existing equipment.

The Solution

We started by gathering as much information from the customer as possible and obtaining a few samples of the pieces that would be plated. We also took measurements of the plating equipment to ensure compatibility of the new baskets. Within a few days our engineering department created a solid model of a few ideas and evaluated each for suitability. After a design was settled on, we sent the model to the customer for review. They asked for a few minor tweaks before we built a prototype. At the time the prototype was finished only a total of about 3 weeks had passed. The customer tested the prototype and it worked well enough to award Chicago Plastic Systems the production order.

Project Specifications

Product UseHolds parts in place during phosphate surface treatment
MaterialNatural Polypropylene Copolymer
Primary ProcessCNC Machining
Secondary ProcessHot Gas Welding
Minimum Tolerance+/- .005"
Chemical ExposureStrong Acids
Scope Of WorkDesign, prototype, production
Chicago Plastic Systems AdvantagesLighter weight,better surface finishes, better piece protection, ease of use
Product NamePhosphate Bask

Project Details

Each pocket in the basket was designed to hold the piece parts securely during plating but also allow solution to coat the part evenly and drain completely.  The basket's parts were made on our high precision CNC router and then hot gas welded together to create the finished product

View of completed basket and sliding lid. With precise engineering and manufacturing, we were able to get 55 parts per basket which is a 10% improvement from the original.

This close up view shows the dado groove for the lid to slide into.  Careful attention to fit between this groove and the mating surface on the lid allows it to close without binding.  The oval shaped holes are for weight reduction and increased liquid flow through the basket.

This view inside the basket shows two piece parts ready for production.  Consideration in the design was given to maximize the number of parts that could fit into one basket while keeping enough separation to prevent parts from colliding with each other.

Case Studies

Nothing demonstrates technical detail knowledge, fabrication expertise and problem-solving abilities better than real-world examples. The case studies at left illustrate how Chicago Plastic Systems helped to overcome the toughest challenges and manufactured high-performing, long-lasting custom plastic components and assemblies for clients. For additional information, give us a call.

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