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Need help packing anodizing baskets.

Q. We are looking for a water-soluble lubricant to aid in the packing of anodizing baskets. The parts are ring-like, with sharp edges and the baskets have to be beaten and pounded to enable settling of the parts. Even after this treatment, there are still voids. Is anyone aware of a lubricant that would aid in denser packing of the baskets?

Vic Waldman
- Naugatuck, Connecticut

A. Just personal opinion, but that sounds like the wrong technology for addressing the problem. Think about a vibrating table you can put the basket on so you can forget about not just the lubricant but the beating and pounding as well.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. I used to anodize pencil ferrules when pencils were still made here in the U.S. We learned very quickly that a vibrator was a necessary part of the bulk anodizing business. Some ferrules were bright dipped loose, then packed tight for anodizing. The bright-dipped ferrules had no protective natural oxide, and their coefficient of friction was so high that we could not pack them at all unless we vibrated them. It's probably too late , but doughnut-shaped baskets were also a big help in getting a uniform anodize, which is especially important for bright or dyed work. I have seen the same design recently in one of the Titanium rack suppliers' catalog.

Voids are inevitable no matter how tight you pack baskets; shake a basket after it's packed and you will hear some of them. The inevitable inspection and removal of voids were built into the labor costs. We used to shoot for 90% acceptance for ferrules, higher for solid parts like rivets. The water-soluble lubricant problem sounds like an interesting idea, but I don't know if you could ever rinse it all out, which would be necessary for a good anodize.

phil johnson
Phil Johnson
- Madison Heights, Michigan

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