We Fed It: Bowls Feed 1,200 Parts a Minute

Systems integrator Arthur G. Russell Co. Inc. developed a high-speed assembly machine for a large medical device company. With a pallet-indexing chassis, the machine produces 1,200 assemblies per minute.

Systems integrator Arthur G. Russell Co. Inc. (AGR) was developing a high-speed assembly machine for a large medical device company. With a pallet-indexing chassis, the machine needed to produce 1,200 assemblies per minute.

A major part of the assembly was a needle hub. The hub is a molded polypropylene part approximately 0.45 inch in diameter. AGR had to develop a feeder that would deliver the hubs needle-end up, side by side, across 24 rows on a pitch that matched the downstream tooling.

In the past, AGR’s engineers had success feeding similar parts in a single bowl-and-rail configuration at high rates, but the parts were presented in a single lane. The company had also designed multilane feeders that delivered parts across multiple rows, but not at that high a feed rate. The natural decision was to marry the best features of both by placing two high-speed vibratory feeders with a multilane rail assembly. Each bowl delivers 600 parts per minute. The rail accepts output from the bowls and diverts them across 24 rows while maintaining the orientation of the parts.

AGR’s VibroBlock electromagnetic vibrator, along with variable frequency controllers, help feed the parts smoothly and quietly at the high rate of speed.

The bowls are fabricated from an aluminum casting that is tooled and plated with a hard anodized finish approved for the medical device industry. The cast aluminum bowl is a stock item that enables AGR to make duplicates with greater consistency. In addition, cast aluminum bowls require less labor to make.

For more information on parts feeders and automated assembly systems, call AGR at 860-583-4109 or visit

Editor’s note: “We Fed It” is a regular series profiling parts feeders for automated assembly. If you’ve solved a parts-feeding challenge, send an e-mail to John Sprovieri, editor of ASSEMBLY, at

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