As the drive unit produces vibrations, the feeder bowl vibrates, and the motion of the bowl moves the parts up the spiral track. The track is designed in order to sort and orient the parts in consistent, repeatable positions, according to certain requirements, such as the specific needs of the application.
As the most common devices used to feed parts in the industrial manufacturing industry, bowl feeders are also often utilized by several other industries that use automation equipment for their applications.
Some examples of industries and applications that benefit from the use of bowl feeders include: pharmaceutical, for use in medicine and vitamin packaging systems; automotive, for the sorting and inspection of various vehicle components; mining, to be used in the sorting of minerals, metals and various other mined materials; and electronics, for the orientation and sorting of crucial parts for electrical components such as tubes, fasteners and pins.
Additional industries that utilize bowl feeders include chemical processing, railroad, glass, food and beverage, foundry, recycling and packaging.
The configuration of the feeder bowl and the drive unit is that the feeder bowl is mounted on top of the drive unit, in order to ensure that the vibrations are passed along in the most effective manner possible. The drive unit is typically powered by one to two means: either pneumatically or electromagnetically.
This type of vibratory feeder is a self-contained system, in that all of its components are contained in one place. The bowl feeder also includes an out feed accumulation track through which after sorting, the parts are conveyed along and discharged to the next part of the assembly process.
Some important aspects of the bowl feeder design to consider when selecting a bowl feeder for a specific application is the material properties and product volume as well as the track length, width and depth to ensure that the desired part or material will fit appropriately and thus, be able to be sorted and oriented in the most efficient manner.
Additional factors to consider include unnecessary but potentially advantageous additions such as track coatings, sound enclosures or covers, sensors, base plates and hoppers. Some benefits of using bowl feeders include saving in both manufacturer’s time and labor costs, as well as providing a cost-efficient alternative to the use of manual labor.