"Don't scratch my precision-machined parts." That was the most important specification by the purchasing agent of the aerospace parts manufacturer to Baltimore-based Marlin Steel, his basket vendor. He needed ten baskets to carry 4 parts apiece through a washer to take off machine oils and grit before final assembly. "Plus, I need a locking lid so parts don't get pushed out of the basket by the water jets."
The engineers of Marlin CAD-designed a basket to these requirements, specifying a KF Polymer coating for the stainless steel (304 grade) basket. (KF Polymer is a high-performance, long-lasting fluorinated polymer offered by Kreha Corporation just for these demands.) The CAD drawing was emailed to the purchasing agent, whose engineer approved it. The total time from the initial "Don't scratch" warning to the issuance of the print was 28 hours.
The baskets, shown in the attached photo, were built and shipped within one week. This speed was possible only with the efficient CAD system (Autodesk Inventor 9), a high-speed, 3-Dimensional, robotic wire former by Latour in France, a 2-Dimensional wire former from Whitelegg in England, and an automatic robot welder by Clifford/Ideal of South Africa. Microsoft Project scheduler keeps things moving through the factory so that, on average, 20 jobs are being worked on at any one time with a minimum of conflict.
The future of manufacturing in the US lies with high-speed, high-quality, quick-response, and complex-design manufacturers. Marlin Steel Wire is investing in technology and equipment to prosper in the new manufacturing environment.