Recirculating Flex Feeder Replaces Vibratory Bowls
Product Announcement from Clear Automation, LLC
Clear Automation designed and built this parts feeder as a component of our automated assembly and packaging solutions. This feeder is an ideal replacement for traditional bowl feeders because it has no part-specific guide hardware. It is extremely flexible to multiple part styles or changes in part design. The feeder consists of 4 variable-speed conveyor belts, 2 rotating brushes or combs, and a vision system. Parts are loaded in bulk into a hopper, which replenishes the feeder as necessary. The hopper delivers parts onto an upper "feed" belt. The feed belt meters parts onto a robot "pick" belt. Rotating brushes or combs at the end of the feed belt and the beginning of the pick belt help to meter the parts as well as to singulate and separate them. The pick belt advances the parts beneath a camera, which identifies the parts based on programmable location and inspection parameters for each part style. The vision system passes the part locations to a robot which picks them from the belt downstream of the camera. Parts that are not picked fall onto a lower "return" belt. The return belt conveys the parts to the back of the feeder where they are metered into a lift bucket. The servo-controlled bucket lifts the parts to the top of the feeder and dumps them back onto the feed belt. The feeder features sanitary stainless steel construction. The pick belt is encoder-synchronized to the robot so that parts are picked while the belt is in motion. The hopper can be configured (at order placement) to supply parts onto the feed belt or the return belt. The belt materials, brushes, combs and vision lighting (top, side or backlight) also can be configured at order placement. The feeder is easily purged and changed over to run new parts in only a few minutes.