We Fed It: Bowl Feeds Handles for Dental Mirror Assembly

Five inches long and 0.5 inch in diameter, the mirror handle was shaped for ergonomics and utility-not for automated assembly.

You’re at the dentist. Your mouth is open, he’s probing around with his mirror and tools, and you’d rather be anywhere else but in that chair. Well, take heart: At least you’ll know how that mirror was assembled.

Systems integrator and bowl manufacturer Dial-X Automated Equipment Inc. (Albion, IN) recently designed and built an automated assembly system for a dental mirror. The system was built on a walking beam chassis.

Feeding the plastic handle for the mirror would be a challenge. Five inches long and 0.5 inch in diameter, the handle was shaped for ergonomics and utility-not for automated assembly. Dial-X designed a vibratory bowl and conveyor to feed the parts.

The handles are fed end to end, with the mirror end leading. The feeder supplies one handle every 3 seconds.

“The bowl was coated with urethane to prevent scratching and scuffs,” explains Curt Bonar, president of Dial-X. “Due to the shape of the handle, special tooling was installed to assist with the orientation.”

For more information on parts feeders and automated assembly systems, call Dial-X at 260-636-7588 or visit

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of a regular series profiling parts feeders for automated assembly systems. Whether it’s a vibratory bowl, a tray feeder or a flexible robotic system, if you’ve solved a parts-feeding challenge, we’d like to hear about it. Send an e-mail to John Sprovieri, editor of ASSEMBLY, at, or call 630-694-4012.

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