Bowl feeders are one of the most common parts of feeding systems found on industrial production lines and are essential for assembly line production and manufacturing automation.
Bowl feeders speed up production lines by aligning small parts and components and feeding them into the machinery. A properly installed feeder bowl will sort and orient parts much more efficiently than a human operator ever could. This reduces labour costs while improving accuracy. The bowl feeder remains one of the best solutions for enhancing production line efficiency on packaging and manufacturing lines.
How does a bowl feeder work?
Bowl feeders are mechanical devices that align and feed parts into production lines automatically. There are several types of bowl feeder; vibrating, centrifugal, linear, vibrating hopper, pneumatic feeders, and more. Each one works in a slightly different way, but they all achieve the same result.
For example, vibrating bowl feeders use electromagnets to generate vibrations. These vibrations keep parts moving down the track and onto the production line. Centrifugal bowl feeders use rotating discs to align parts. The rotation produces a centrifugal force, which drives parts to the bowl's edge, where a separate mechanism rotates them into the proper orientation.
Examples of bowl feeder applications
Bowl feeders are used in a range of industrial sectors. They are generally found in industries where flexible feeding systems are needed for high-volume production of parts or pieces. For example, both the pharmaceutical industry and the consumer electronics industry make extensive use of bowl feeders throughout their production lines. Bowl feeders can be used to sort and align electric and plastic parts and other miscellaneous components. They are also widely used to sort and feed cosmetics in, food, fashion, automotive, and other productions lines.
Bowl feeders aren't just used to feed components into production lines; they have other applications as well. For example, they are used in pill bottling systems to dispense large batches of pills, tablets, and capsules so they can be counted and bottled. A batch of pills is loaded into the feeder, after which it maintains a constant and steady flow without them becoming congested.
The benefits of bowl feeders
By using bowl feeders on a production line, manufacturers can reduce their labour costs while simultaneously enhancing their operational efficiency. Bowl feeders sort components more accurately and faster than a human possibly could. As well as being more accurate and reliable than a human operator and reducing labour costs, bowl feeders also reduce the amount of energy required on a production line.
When most people think of automation on production lines, they picture advanced robots manipulating components and putting them into position. But most forms of automation are far simpler than this. Bowl feeders are relatively simple devices, but they do their job effectively. Regardless of the type of bowl feeder in question, the end result is the same. Components and parts are automatically fed into production lines at a consistent rate and properly aligned. Bowl feeders are now a common feature on production lines across industries, improving speed and accuracy.
Liner Tracks Parts Escapements and Nests
Whilst bowl feeders orientate the parts as required, they still have to be moved on to the next stage in the line. Liner tracks are most often used for this, delivering them to an Escapement.
These come in various forms. Some use Robotic arms which take up the part and place in the article being assembled. Others are spring loaded which then hold and release the parts in synchronisation with the assembly lines needs.
Others hold and release the parts using pneumatic pistons. Sensors are used, with back pressure ensuring that there is always a part ready for use.
Design and Installation
Creating an efficient production line is not an easy thing to do, it being necessary to select the right components, such as bowl feeders, bulk feed hoppers, linear tracks and also that they are physically placed in the correct location on the factory floor.
In some cases other forms of feeders will be needed, these including:- Centrifugal Feeders, Step Feeders, Linear Feeders, Carpet Feeders as well as Axis Vibration Feeders. Each one plays a different role and each one has its’ place in the production line.
Automation firms like Sandfield Engineering offer a planning as well as custom design and installation services, this ensuring that all runs like clock work.
Whatever type bowl feeder you require, choose a firm that are included in the list of recommended vibratory bowl feeder suppliers as then you can be sure your project will be in safe hands.