Centrifugal feeders are popular products used in various industries. They are particularly well-known for being used in sub-sectors of the medical industry. One such sub-sector is the medical device manufacturing industry.
With continuous research taking place, these manufacturers are coming up with a variety of components and machines to support medical applications. Examples of these include implants, bionic devices, and reprocessed components like test tubes, beakers, and rubber stoppers.
Considering Medical Devices
Let us take the example of vials and tubular sleeves. Many manufacturers create a combination of these two products. This hybrid product consists of a tubular sleeve, which holds a vial designed to store aqueous solutions.
The sleeve is designed to protect the vial when it is being transported through downstream equipment. The parts are required to slide into each other, joining to form a new component. The centrifugal feeder is the perfect solution to support the assembly of this product.
A Brief Description of Centrifugal Feeders
Also known as disc sorters, the feeders rely on centrifugal force to perform sorting and orientation operations. The parts that need to be sorted and oriented are dropped onto a rotating disc (like a roulette wheel). Centrifugal force is used to slide the parts to the circle’s outer edges. The outer edge consists of fixtures, which catch correctly oriented parts as they slide from the center of the disc. The disc is capable of tilting, which allows for non-oriented parts to be re-circulated.
The Feeder at Work
Once the tubular sleeves are oriented, centrifugal force is used to push them out of the feeder, and onto a conveyor belt. From the conveyor, the sleeves fall into a vertical chute, where they form a column. The sleeves are then removed from the chute via a walking beam assembly.
The centrifugal feeder is used in the same manner to orient plastic vials, which are then sent directly to the walking beam assembly. The beam provides controlled, accurate movement and positioning of the components. A pneumatic pusher is used to push the vial forward, and combine it with the tubular sleeve.
Centrifugal feeders are able to provide a variety of benefits for such specific assembly operations:
- The feeders have the capability to orient parts with unique shapes such as the vial and sleeve.
- The rotating discs of the centrifugal feeder allows for gentle parts handling.
- High feed rates can be achieved with the feeder’s method of operation.
As you can see, the centrifugal feeder plays an important role in the orientation, and assembly of the hybrid component. When it comes to fragile, custom components, centrifugal feeders are the best choice for handling and orientation.