Feeder manufacturers are always looking for new methods to increase the potential of vibratory feeders beyond their current use. Most people who have worked with vibratory feeders understand its basic function and process. Once the parts are oriented, they are fed onto a conveyor line.
The line moves the parts are forward to complete the assembly of a product. However, manufacturers have realized that the feeder can also be used to assemble small parts. This can save a lot of time, while ensuring that the best quality parts are used in the assembly process.
Current Systems Used with Vibratory Feeders
So how can a vibratory feeder be used to assemble parts? Let us take the example of screws and washers.
- Generally, a manufacturer requires the use of two vibratory feeders for the assembly of screws and washers.
- One feeder is used for orientation, and the other for assembly.
- Some manufacturers do not use this system at all, and rely on workers to assemble the screws and washers by hand.
Both methods result in a lot of expenditure in terms of labor, equipment, and most importantly, time. Vibratory feeders can be used to eliminate these hindrances. The feeder can be designed to combine two separate parts and feed the assembled product onto the manufacturing line.
How can it be Accomplished?
This idea is possible, and can be accomplished with the integration of a Poka-yoke mechanism. Poka-yoke is a mechanism used to prevent errors in lean manufacturing processes. In the case of vibratory feeders, it refers to jigs within the feeder. This concept is further elaborated with the points given below.
- Multiple jigs can be designed into the feeding system to assemble screws and washers.
- The jigs can be designed to ensure that the parts are held in particular positions, so as to perform the assembly process correctly and efficiently.
- With the Poka-yoke mechanism integrated with the feeder, the user simply needs to place the segregated screws and washers into the feeder.
- Once the feeder is turned on, the parts are oriented, and the Poka-yoke mechanism will do the rest. The screws and washers will come out of the feeder as assembled components.
Benefits of Using the Poka-yoke Mechanism with Vibratory Feeders
So what are the benefits that come with using a Poka-yoke mechanism with a vibratory feeder? The following points answer these questions.
- By adding the Poka-yoke mechanism, the need to use a second bowl feeder for assembly is eliminated. This elimination leads to a reduction in electricity consumption, as well as space and cost savings.
- The mechanism also eliminates the need to assemble the parts by hand before the component can be used in an assembly process. It also reduces manufacturing time immensely.
- With the use of this type of vibratory feeder, the number of people required to assist in the manufacturing process is reduced. Also, productivity will be enhanced to a great extent.
Ideas such as this can help vibratory feeder manufacturers to push the boundaries of their bowl feeder designs and functions. Ultimately, this will help increase the use and popularity of vibratory bowl feeders, as well as increase sales.