Value & Vision - Efficiency Tips & Tricks For Feeder Bowls

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Value & Vision
Efficiency Tips & Tricks
Quarterly Article Series Archive

Q4 2009 Article
Stay In Control...

Controller options increase efficiency!

Rodix, Inc. Controller Matrix

When purchasing a vibratory feeder system, it is important to select the appropriate controller. This guide will help you understand the features and the benefits of the various options available.

Our staff is well-trained in selecting the best controller for your application, but your input is extremely valuable during the process. If you are experiencing controller related issues with existing equipment, consider an upgrade to the model of controller that will resolve the problem.

Our primary controller supplier is Rodix, Inc. They have the quality and full range of models to address most operating issues. This controller matrix was published with their permission.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about any aspect of your parts handling system.

Q3 2009 Article
To fill or not to fill?

A feeder bowl is designed to operate most efficiently when a constant fill level is maintained. The bowl's primary function is to orient parts and it operates at optimum efficiency when it is used to do just that and not used to ‘store’ parts waiting to be oriented and fed.

Over-filling and/or under-filling a feeder bowl with parts can cause many bowl problems. One problem is potential frequent jamming. Having too many parts in a feeder can cause jams between basic bowl tracks and in selector tooling. Too few parts can result in inadequate feed rate output.

If you find that your parts feeding equipment is operating inefficiently, talk to the operator and determine how the awaiting parts are being stored. If they are stored in the bowl…nine times out of ten, the overabundance of parts in the bowl is instigating the inadequate bowl performance.

Where should parts be stored to insure optimum part handling efficiency? A bulk storage hopper is the answer. When utilizing a bulk storage hopper, you will find that parts are automatically metered into the bowl on demand to help achieve a constant parts level. They prove to be an integral component of any parts handling system, designed to make sure the feeder bowls are not being used as a parts reservoir.

There are two types of hoppers. One is a gravity fed vibratory tray/belt conveyor. The second is a hopper-elevator that allows bulk parts to be loaded in a floor-mounted hopper with an elevating belt conveyor. The elevating belt conveyor raises parts to the bowl when the bowl is situated high off the ground. The hopper-elevator makes it easier and safer for operators to replenish parts because they do not have to climb steps while carrying boxes of parts to reload the feeders. Both types of hoppers can be retro-fitted to an existing feeder bowl.

The next time you request a quote for a feeding system, talk to one of our project managers about possibly incorporating a storage hopper. Another tip - If a decision is made to purchase a storage hopper, make sure enough sample parts are sent for run-offs and testing. We want to build the best solution for you and this is accomplished much more easily if we have everything we need to completely test the equipment prior to sending it to your facility. If we don’t have enough parts for quality control testing, we are unable to duplicate various feeding scenarios that may occur in your facility. During quality control testing, an adequate number of parts should be on hand to completely fill the storage hopper for proper parts handling testing.

Q2 2009 Article
What is the most ignored & forgotten detail missing on feeder systems?

Don’t have much time to hunt for the answer? It is ‘An inline shut-off timer’. Read on for details…

Many machine builders allow the inline feeder track to run continuously, regardless if the machine is cycling or not.

This unnecessary function of running the inline constantly can cause excessive wear of the inline track and escapement. Parts being fed may get scuffed or damaged. In addition, depending on the part being fed, excessive and unnecessary noise can be generated.

Install a 1 minute timer to shut down the inline when the machine cycling ceases. As soon as the machine resumes cycling, the timer is reset automatically, thereby restarting the inline. Think about it…the storage hopper operates on demand and most feeder bowls operate on demand as well, by virtue of a high-level track photo-eye that shuts off the bowl. Why not do the same for the inline to protect your parts?

Another consideration for installing a shut down timer…energy conservation. If the inlines run 24/7, not only can parts be damaged and wear and tear can occur more quickly…energy is consumed to keep those inlines running. Depending on how many inlines are being operated in your plant, implementing automatic shut off timers could help reduce operating expenses. Suggest it and be a hero. Let us know of your success.

In our opinion, this feature should be a standard specification on all assembly machines. It is not something we as a feeder bowl manufacturer can easily install. Generally, the machine builder can implement this type of function. The result will be a better machine benefiting the end-customer.

If you are an end-user, consider specifying this feature in your next Quote Request. If you are a machine builder, you may consider standardizing an inline shut-off timer with your systems to increase customer satisfaction.

Stay tuned for our Q1 2010 e-newsletter for more tips and tricks to make your operation run more smoothly. To request future topics for the Value & Vision Article Series, email the editor.

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