Now is The Time To Update an Industry Standard

Vibratory bowl feeder systems have been a staple of the automation process for most of the past 70 years. The devices are relatively common on production lines. They are used when a randomly sorted bulk package of small components needs to be fed into another machine one by one, oriented in a particular direction.

Vibratory bowl feeders are self-contained, consisting of a specifically shaped bowl designed to orient the parts to a particular orientation, a vibrating drive unit upon which the bowl is mounted, and a control box that controls the bowl feeder. The outfeed accumulation track — either linear or gravity-based — moves the parts along to the next stage in the production process. The drive unit, usually electromagnetic, vibrates the bowl forcing the parts to move along the circular, inclined track. The control box is used to alter the vibration speed of the bowl feeder and can change the flow of parts to the outfeed track.

Vibratory feeders are used in virtually every industry to process, move, and align small parts. You can find them in all sorts of pharmaceutical, automotive, electronic, packaging, and metalworking manufacturing facilities, as well as serving other ventures in steel, construction, mining, recycling, and plastics. Vibratory feeders are valued as a cost-effective automation tool to manual labor, allowing the manufacturer to save both time and money at various steps on the production line.

Bowl feeders are and will continue to be, a part of automation solutions for a wide variety of industries. But they also present challenges and issues that manufacturers will need to address moving forward.

Already done your research? Explore our full line of orienting part feeders here, then contact us to discuss your specific application requirements.

Why Vibratory Bowl Feeders Are Not the Most Optimal Solutions Today

Reliability / Downtime

Automation is key to a thriving production environment, but reliability is essential to that automation if the benefits are to be realized. The time and money saved and the efficiency obtained through automation efforts is wasted if those processes are constantly hampered by machinery breaking down, failing in their intended purposes, or becoming jammed.

Parts feeding systems — be they vibratory bowl feeders or non-vibratory feeders — play an integral role in your operation and facility’s overall uptime and main throughput process. The machinery that makes up these systems is a long-term investment. As such, you expect and deserve to work with a part feeding equipment provider that will provide systems that can operate continually with little ongoing maintenance. When considering part feeder systems, you should also consider the reliability of the equipment as a part of the formula for the total cost of ownership.

In that regard, non-vibratory feeders are becoming a more attractive option. In a 2018 survey conducted by Feedall Automation, U.S. forgers said the two most significant issues with vibratory bowl feeders were 1) maintenance and 2) downtime because of a lack of reliability. Add in the loss of some flexibility and the inability to perform quick changeovers with vibratory bowl feeders given the exacting nature of the design of the machinery, and it’s clear that the overall efficiency of part feeding processes could be improved by switching from vibratory to a non-vibratory feeder system.

The Feedall difference: We back all of our automation equipment with a comprehensive service plan with your goals and needs in mind. Explore our robust slate of service options.

Noise Pollution

Occupational hearing loss is the most common work-related injury in the United States. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the CDC, approximately 22 million American workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work. An estimated $242 million is spent every year on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.

The NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) for occupational noise exposure is 85 decibels (as an eight-hour average). OHSA has a REL of 90 dBs. However, vibratory bowl feeders — by their very nature — are noisy machines. Electromagnetic coils pull and release metal blocks beneath the bowl, usually between 60-120 times per second, to drive part movement. The resulting vibrations, between the parts themselves and the parts and the bowl, can quickly drive the dB level above those thresholds — especially if dealing with metal parts or more than one feeder in an area.

Costly noise-reduction additions are available for vibratory bowl feeders — things like enclosure, covers, and coatings on the bowl itself — but these only add to the expense of a parts feeding system that is still prone to maintenance and slow to adapt to changes in the production flow. Protections for your workforce should always be a primary concern and, while protective gear can help mitigate some of the noise pollution from vibratory bowls, NIOSH recommends removing hazardous noise from the workplace whenever possible. Utilizing non-vibratory feeders accomplishes this.

The Feedall difference: Our conveyor systems offer many benefits, including reducing noise pollution in your facility. Learn about the impact they can have on your facility.

Feedall Automation Can Help You With Our Non-Vibratory Bowl Solutions

Automated Orienting Conveyors

Orienting conveyors should be a staple in any production facility. This type of automated conveyor positions items or materials moving through it according to your specifications, whether it needs to flow to the next step in a particular manner or exit in a specific position. Automated orienting conveyors can move various parts, from disc- and ring-shaped items to cylinders or shaft-style components, and both solid and tubular items. The conveyor can receive parts from multiple methods — employee-handled tote pans, floor hoppers, or an earlier placed conveyor — and on the feeding end can deposit parts into grinders, thread rollers, extrusion presses, and more.

Also, automated oriented conveyors can sidestep the two issues associated with vibratory bowl feeders. First, this feeder system will combine high-speed efficiency with low noise levels. While many workers are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to address loud production environments caused by machinery such as vibratory bowls, conveyors will not be a contributor to noise pollution and will help to reduce your overall noise levels if used to replace other systems. Second, automated orienting conveyors come with fast set-up times and adjustable tooling. The Flexible Application Feeder design used means they are agile and can quickly adjust to new production specifications.

The Feedall difference: Our custom automation conveyors are efficient, robust, effective, and prove to increase your manufacturing speed, productivity, and profitability. Learn more about all our conveying systems.

Superior Commitment to Service

Feedall Automation specializes in the engineering, manufacturing, and the integration of cost-effective equipment in various categories for use in a wide array of industries and applications from simple fixtures and prototypes to high-speed assembly systems, lean equipment, and fully functioning skids.

But where we separate from other similar companies is our commitment to automation part feeder service, parts, and support. Whether you’re exploring non-vibratory feeders to cut back on noise pollution or simply need a terrific partner to mitigate the reliability and downtime issues associated with vibratory bowl feeders, Feedall Automation can help.

Feedall offers a “cradle to grave” selection of service from the start of a new project to the finish and also covers all steps in between. Our engineering department will work with you to create a design specific to your needs or refurbish your older units. We can manufacture parts for your own design, and with our staff average of more than 30 years of experience, no job is too big or too small.

We can perform on-site field evaluations of units not performing as well as they should, or if you provide your feeder’s serial number and the parts you require, our sales staff can quickly provide a quote. From installation and project management to even providing new maintenance manuals, Feedall Automation is here to back your equipment every step of the way. Our work and units are reliable, and our service will minimize any downtime if it occurs.

Connect with us today to experience more than 70 years of excellence.