Vibratory Bowl Feeders
Vibratory bowl feeders, or bowl feeders for short, are a type of vibratory feeder. The most common feeder type of all, they work in conjunction with automation processes to sort and orient parts and materials.
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Application of Vibratory Bowl Feeders
As highly cost-effective, energy efficient and effective systems, vibratory bowl feeders are often used as a replacement to manual labor. Some of the industries in which they are used include: automotive manufacturing, electronics, food processing, industrial manufacturing, packaging, recycling, pharmaceuticals and railroad. In the food processing industry they, for example, are used to sort raw materials like rice, legumes, grains, cereals and other products like that. In industrial manufacturing, bowl feeders are valued for their ability to sort and correctly orient high volumes of small, recently manufactured parts. Similarly, in the pharmaceutical industry, they are used in the sorting of medications, vitamins and other pills. In the railroad industry, bowl feeders can be used to help unload railroad carts and then sort the various parts and minerals that had been carried.
Design of Vibratory Bowl Feeders
Vibratory bowl feeders are named as such because they use, in addition to a vibration-providing drive unit, a vibratory, or feeder, bowl. Inside the vibratory bowl is a spiral track upon which parts move. Between the force of the vibrations and the force of gravity, vibratory feeder bowls are able to move parts along the spiral track and then transfer them onto linear feeders. Linear feeders are moving devices that consist of tracks or trays, a mounting surface and either an unbalanced motor or an electromagnet. These linear feeders then move the parts out onto other equipment or other sections of the system.
To ensure that the vibratory bowl receives vibrations in the most efficient and direct manner, the drive unit, which emits the vibrations, is usually mounted by the bowl itself. Typically, the drive unit, which is powered either electromagnetically or pneumatically, creates said vibrations with the help of a variable amplitude control box. The feeders, or tracks, of a vibratory bowl feeder may be ordered in virtually any length, width and depth. In this way, manufacturers are able to accommodate an equal amount of system lengths and product volumes, weights, shapes and desired orientations. Also, to better serve these varietal applications, customers may order their systems with accessories such as sound enclosures or sound covers, track coatings, base plates, sensors and hoppers.
Enclosures, which are typically foam-lined structures, reduce the noise created by the feeder by absorbing it, and as a side benefit, they also protect against dust and other forms of contamination. Track coatings also offer noise reduction, though they are primarily applied to minimize wear and tear to the tracks and damage to parts. Base plates are used to make it easier to mount the drive unit to the machine bed, while sensors offer greater level control on a linear track. Finally, a hopper, which is a large bulk container, is an accessory that is added to a bowl feeder system in order to both store material and regulate incoming parts flow.
Materials Used for Vibratory Bowl Feeders
Of all of the elements of the vibratory bowl feeder, the most important part may be the vibratory bowl itself. For this reason, it is critical that the bowl selected for an application be properly matched. To facilitate the many different applications for which vibratory bowl feeders are commissioned, manufacturers offer bowls made from a wide variety of materials and made based on a wide variety of configurations. Most often, feeder bowls are made out of aluminum or stainless steel. Between the two, stainless steel is the best choice for those applications requiring high levels of sanitation, such as the medical and food processing industries. Stainless steel bowls are chosen for such tasks because stainless steel is a sanitary grade material.
Types of Vibratory Bowl Feeders
Of all the available bowl shapes, there are four that are the most commonly requested. These are: cylindrically shaped bowls, conically shaped bowls, steeped bowls and polyamide bowls. Each of these bowl types have applications with which they work best. For example, cylindrical bowls are best utilized when they either, one, continuously transfer heavy components with sharp edges or, two, continuously transfer small parts. In contrast, conical bowls are best suited to automatically pre-separate large loads. Stepped bowls are different from both cylindrical and conical bowls; manufacturers get the most out of them by pairing them with applications that process larger components in larger volumes. Finally, polyamide bowls stand alone as the ideal bowls for the sorting and orientation of simple, non-complex, parts. To learn more about vibratory bowl feeders and find out which ones might be best for you and your application, contact a reputable feeder manufacturer today.