In today’s highly automated world, we take mass production for granted, and let’s face it, without the ability to produce products quickly, our lives would be a whole lot different.
The first production lines were heavily manpower focused, the real benefit being that it was far more efficient to get one group of men to fit A to B and then for another group to add C and D. Each set of men had all the components and tools to hand, and were trained to do that one thing.
Things have moved on a lot since those early days, many operations being carried out by machines. These are much faster at repetitive tasks and never get tired or bored. They also don’t need leave or sick pay (although they of course, need looking after in the form of maintenance).
It all sounds quite easy, but when you consider that a machine, unlike a human cannot just turn the component around to get the correct orientation (or at least most devices) and instead rely on the stream of parts to be correctly lined up and pointing the right way, does the true complexity become apparent.
Take for example, the mass assembly of something simple like a door lock. This consists of many parts, the final touches being to screw the case together. This is easy for a machine, but it does require that the screws are provided with the screw thread pointing forwards, this allowing the inserting machine to pick them up, place them in a holder and then screw them home.
This is just what a vibratory bowl feeder does. They align small parts up, all pointing the right way and then place them onto a conveying track, this leading to the part of the process where they are added to the product being built.
There could be many such bowl feeders in a process, each one ensuring that every part was ready to be added.
How Bowl Feeders Work
As their title suggests, a vibratory bowl feeder is a mechanical device that uses vibration to align (place them in the correct orientation, eg screw thread first), these small parts being fed into the production line using tracks.
Electromagnets are used to create the vibrations, the electromagnetically produced vibrations converted into mechanical vibrations.
What Creates the Vibrations?
A magnetic coil beneath the spring mounted bowl does all the work, this coil being magnetized through an external power source. Once actuation of the bowl starts, it is constrained to limited vertical movement by the way it is mounted on the springs.
Up to 6 electromagnets are used in all, these creating sufficient vibrations to both align an then move the components and parts from the bowl feeder and onto the conveying tracks. These lead to the next machine in the production line.
Some Examples of where Bowl Feeders can be found.
These units are commonly found in industries that require flexible feeding systems, including the pharmaceutical industry, consumer electronics, the producers of electrical parts, plastic parts components, cosmetics, fashion, and most commonly, the automotive industry.
Vibratory bowl feeders offer a cost-effective way of ensuring that the automated systems in a production line can work at maximum possible efficiency while a the same time reducing production costs.