One Solution for Multiple Production Floor Challenges

For much of the first half of this year, global manufacturing was facing a significant contraction as opposed to expansion. Companies had to face the harsh reality of the pandemic and sought ways to maintain operations while also strengthening their positions when things began to stabilize. It was a challenging time for many, and fortunately, it appears that stability is beginning to return.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that, for the U.S. in particular, manufacturing activity has begun improving over the past couple of months. Much is still uncertain, but with these positive trends in multiple manufacturing indexes, production is beginning to ramp back up. But with increased production comes new challenges, such as inefficient manual processes that lead to excess costs.

With industries still in a fragile state, now is the time to address these challenges head-on. Whether your organization is in aerospace, automotive, construction, or some other industrially-focused business, ensure you’re in the best possible position to outlast the effects of the pandemic and meet 2021 with confidence and efficiency.

One of the best ways to achieve this is right on the shop floor. A key metric your organization is likely tracking is overall uptime or overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Reducing the amount of time lost due to equipment downtimes, changeovers, maintenance issues, and other operational delays can help your organization get closer to 100% OEE. With the right automation equipment, you can begin to hit those critical benchmarks faster than ever.

If you have a manufacturing operation that has multiple processes and part transitions, part feeding and loading becomes a critical factor with achieving this higher throughputs (or higher OEE levels). Random loaded industrial hopper feeders are a unique automation solution to helping meet these objectives. Here, we’ll explore a few of the most impactful benefits of this machine type for companies looking to improve the performance and output of their production environments.

Explore our line of orienting hopper feeders: Feedall Automation offers a full line of random loaded orienting hopper feeders for your application. Explore them here and request a quote today.

Four Ways Industrial Hopper Feeders Drive Production Success

Flexibility for Your Application

Every industry is unique in both its output and the countless components needed to achieve those outputs. From bearings and piston pins to valve lifters and shock tubes, there are vast numbers of parts that must be singulated and oriented for the next phase of production. And on top of that, they must be fed at a consistent rate to ensure you’re able to keep up with production goals and not cause batching issues. Because of this, flexibility is critical.

One of the most immediate benefits of industrial hopper feeders is that they are designed specifically for feeding a variety of different parts. Custom elevators ensure that not only are parts seamlessly lifted from the hopper but that they are also properly oriented and fed into the next step. This continuous process ensures an uninterrupted flow of product, keeping your production moving forward smoothly and minimizing worker involvement.

Integration into Larger Production Chains

It’s likely that multiple machine stations are needed in your production environment. Certain parts may first need to be forged or otherwise manufactured, and from there, they must be fed into the larger-scale production chain — perhaps into a centerless grinder, a forging or forming press, a CNC lathe, or another piece of equipment.

By serving as a link between these machines, industrial hopper feeders help to improve overall manufacturing productivity, reduce the number of man hours needed through automation, and contribute to reduced operating costs. It’s not often that a single piece of equipment produces multiple advantages simply by executing a single process, but hopper feeders are certainly the exception.

Eliminating Manual Processes

We’ve already touched on this advantage a little, but it’s one of the most significant when it comes to achieving success. Industrial hopper feeders are an automation solution that eliminates or at least significantly reduces the need to involve people in the production process, at least when it comes to the parts being oriented and fed. Without this critical piece of equipment, workers would have to manually feed parts into the equipment that would otherwise be connected to the hopper feeder.

This is both time-consuming and expensive because you’re paying your workers for this effort — a repeatable process that, depending on your production goals, is never “finished.” Instead, it’s far more cost-effective to automate the process and allow your workers to focus their more valuable energy and time elsewhere. Using an automation solution also ensures greater consistency in orienting and feeding as the opportunity for human error is eliminated. And, automating the process prevents workers from having to engage in tasks that are often extremely dirty and at times unsafe. Reducing the number of safety incidents as a result of automation also contributes to lower costs and reduced downtime.

Saving Production Space

Last but not least is a stark reality that many manufacturing companies often face during periods of increased production: space. Your production facility or warehouse only has so much square footage to offer. Material storage, equipment footprints, and clear space/walkways required to meet safety guidelines all add up — and eat up your space for part storage and maneuverability.

Industrial hopper feeders help to solve this in that the hopper itself can serve to store parts in large capacities. Our heavy-duty line of industrial hopper feeders in particular have capacities up to 25 cubic feet, allowing you to store and process thousands of parts without having to store them elsewhere on the floor until they’re ready for feeding. Ultimately, saving space means you’re able to reduce the time needed to move parts from storage to production, can obtain more material or parts up front rather than having to wait until space clears up, free up areas for other equipment or storage needs, and more.

Get the Right Industrial Hopper Feeder for Your Application

While industrial hopper feeders provide numerous advantages for increasing manufacturing demands, it’s critical that you work with a reliable partner on the right feeder for your needs. At Feedall Automation, we customize every single piece of equipment we offer to our clients’ exact specifications and production goals. It all starts with a proven foundation that our engineers and technicians expand upon to help you meet your goals. And it’s all backed up with best-in-class repair, support services, and parts availability.

If you’ve been looking for a way to improve the efficiency of your production environment, reduce costs, and increase overall output, an industrial hopper feeder from Feedall Automation is the solution you need. As experts in industrial automation solutions with more than 70 years of delivering success in multiple markets, we’re the partner your business needs to gain a competitive advantage in today’s challenging world.

Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities and feeder models.