3 October, 2010
Using Vibratory Bowl Feeders for Brittle Components
Vibratory bowl feeders are used for feeding of any small part. Many times feeding of brittle components like sintered parts, ferrite parts, glass parts, ceramic parts, powder metal parts, carbide parts etc are required. The problem being faced in this case is that the parts being brittle, tend to break or chip in case they fall down from the top of the bowl to the bottom. Further most users are afraid of the fact that the brittle parts might get damaged or chipped while moving in the bowl itself as the bowl is made of metal. However, there are certain ways in which feeding of brittle parts can be achieved in a bowl feeder. First and foremost one must remember that in a vibratory bowl feeder, the parts by itself do not get damaged (vis a vis a rotary / centrifugal feeder which is a motorized one) by themselves. This is because the vibratory feeder generates vibrations which help the parts to move forward. They are not pushed by one another (if there is a push, it is very minor). This eliminates the possibility of the parts bumping against one another. Further by providing proper coating on the bowl surface, the metal to metal contact between the bowl surface and the components can be eliminated. This reduces the damage to the parts while they move up. Third, the coating can further act as a cushion in case the parts fall from the top to the bottom of the bowl. Additionally, the bowl can be designed in such a way that the fall of the components from the top to the bottom is restricted / reduced or even eliminated completely. This requires the use of the correct type of bowl design. Cascade or step type design is best suited for this purpose. In case of cylindrical bowls, the chances of the parts jamming and breaking in the tracks itself cannot be ruled out. Further in case of conical bowls, there is huge fall from the top side to the bottom and hence that design too is ruled out. However, using the right type of coating is pertinent in this case as otherwise, the components can get damaged. Elscinthane PU coating is the best solution for feeding of brittle parts. It provides the correct type of cushioning effect for brittle parts.