There are many benefits to utilizing parts feeders in automated processes, particularly the decrease in cost versus the use of an actual employee and the cost of their manual labor, as well as saving costs in regards to manufacturer’s time and overall labor.
Advantages of parts feeders include saving time and preventing worker injury, as the manual labor of this task is both intensive and tedious, thus resulting in a high potential for injury.
There is a variety of parts feeder types, and as a result of their many advantages and diversity, parts feeders are utilized in a wide range of applications and industries including: industrial manufacturing, for assembly automation processes such as the production of parts including fasteners, pins and small, but essential components; automotive, in the sorting and orientation that proceeds sparkplug production; recycling, in order to sort out all the various recyclable materials including diverse plastics and metals such as aluminum; and pharmaceutical, in the sorting of various medications and vitamins in pill form.
While there are many different types of parts feeders, the main types of parts feeders utilized in industrial-type applications include: vibratory bowl feeders, centrifugal feeders and pneumatic feeders. Vibratory bowl feeders, often simply called bowl feeders, consist of a drive unit that provides vibrations to the feeder bowl that is mounted on top of it.
Inside the feeder bowl is a specially-designed spiral track, which is the means by which the parts are moved through the feeder bowl and then discharged for further processing. Vibratory bowl feeders are the most common type of parts feeder.
Centrifugal feeders consist of a circular bowl, one or two angled spinning disks and a conical central driven rotor. Instead of vibration or a spiral track, centrifugal feeders utilize angle spinning disks in order to cast parts to the out edge of the bowl.
The bowl and the disks rotate independently of each other as well as continuously operating at various rates of speed. Lastly, pneumatic feeders operate based on the power of air flow and are provided motion by means of a pneumatic piston. This piston is provided motion either by means of hydraulic pressure (oddly enough) or an air-driven motor.