Posted: 07-30-2020

Surface Finish – It’s Not All About The Look.

Choosing the base material for the construction of your wire mesh basket is a great start, but for each base material, whether stainless steel or carbon steel, there is a choice of finishing options.  A finish is usually a coating or chemical process which changes the surface and look of your basket.   Although, the finish does have a visual effect on each product, the coating or finish is more about function then look.  In most cases, a finishing adds greater protection or enhanced properties to the base material to best effect the durability and increase the usable life of your wire baskets.

In reviewing the environmental conditions which helped to determine the base material construction, if your basket is going into a corrosive environment it may be best to further protect the metal with a finish.  The two main finishing options on are Natural and Electropolished.  For a few of our products, there is a third option of Zinc plating as used on our Tote Baskets (our totes are a great economical basket line for heavy-duty part storage).

metal finish on baskets

Natural Finish

Sometimes you need a finish and other times you don’t – natural is your choice if the base qualities of the metal is sufficient protection for your application.  Go natural for bare metal.   Stainless steel has great corrosive protection and resists rust or pitting, thus it is a great option for a natural finish as it holds up in function and look.

Natural Finish is the natural condition of the base material without any second processing. The baskets will be generally clean, but may have a slight brown discoloration around welds and/or very light process oils remaining on the surface.

Electropolished Finish

Electropolishing is a finishing process that is about removal of material instead of addition of a coating.  Electropolishing is a process that removes surface impurities by stripping away a uniform layer of surface material.  Electropolishing is done on our stainless steel baskets. It is a process where the entire fabricated basket is immersed in electrically charged acid to drive off any surface impurities and any “free iron ions”. With the free iron removed, the top molecular layers of the stainless steel are very dense with chrome and nickel. This makes the surfaces very smooth, very clean, with improved corrosion resistance. The process leaves the part smoother and visually brighter, but again the main reason for electropolish is function not look.  After processing the part is free of contaminants, heat marks, scale, machine burrs or weld impurities.

The main benefits to electropolishing are improved corrosion resistance and a clean surface less susceptible to attract bacteria or impurities.    These benefits are why electropolished baskets are recommended for any ultrasonic cleaning and vapor degreasing applications.   Industry uses for electropolished wire mesh baskets include but not limited to medical, biochemical, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage.

If you are all about the look, Electropolished is the shiniest and brightest finish offered. The finish will stay bright and last through the life of the basket.

Zinc Plating

The finish option of zinc plating is offered on carbon steel to protect the surface from rust.  The only baskets on which are offered with zinc plating are our Tote Baskets.  This coating is an economical way to better protect carbon steel.

Other Coatings

For part protection and look, some baskets may need to be coated with Black Nylon or Teflon to avoid metal contact.  Three M Tool, the parent organization of, offers these coatings on our engineered solutions.  Please contact us to discuss your specific coating or finish needs.