Hanging parts is often perceived as grunt work.
On some level, it is – it’s manual labor that involves a significant amount of lifting, no matter the type of shop. However, good hanging requires far more skill than most people expect, particularly in a shop that powder coats a variety of parts in a broad range of sizes.
The hanging process is nuanced. It’s case-by-case. It takes time to develop good hanging instincts, which is why we start training our new hires on it right away.
Here are the guidelines I give my trainees.
Before you hang, make a plan. Adjust the cart’s cross bars if necessary, and load your cart back to front (i.e., working toward your pallet so you don’t have to walk around the parts you’ve already hung). Do whatever mental math is necessary to figure out how long your hooks, chains, and part columns need to be, and above all, stay consistent. Similar parts should all be orientated the same way, at equal distances from one another.
Hanging parts is like walking a tightrope. On one hand, you want to mitigate hook marks; on the other, you’re safest using the biggest hook possible. This is especially important when you’re hanging heavy parts with eye bolts. Don’t use a 3/8″ eye bolt in a 1” hole. Always use the biggest eye bolt that’ll fit, to make sure it can bear the weight of the part.
Consider the nest.
Speaking of weight, will the hook you’ve selected hold up to the weight of all the parts hanging on it? Nesting your parts (i.e., hanging them in a daisy chain) multiplies the stress on the hooks at the top of your column. A hook that would have worked well for one or two parts may start to splay after 5 or 6, especially as it heats up in the oven. Consider the weight of the parts – and how many you’re hanging in a chain – before selecting your hook size.
Make the most of threads.
Threads in parts are a blessing. Screwing an eye bolt into those threads not only masks them, but also allows you to hang the part securely, with no risk of hook marks. Whenever possible, choose the hanging option that involves the least risk for parts slipping, swinging, or falling.
New hires are often surprised by how seriously we take the hanging process at Kaser. We’re picky, because it matters – how parts are hung impacts not only the coating process, but also the whole team’s safety. It takes practice to get it right.