Homer City Automation built a vibratory bowl and track to feed tips for medicine droppers.



Some parts feeding systems aren’t necessarily nice to look at. But, a feeder designed and built by Homer City Automation Inc. of Homer City, PA, is literally a sight for sore eyes.

Homer City Automation manufactures both vibratory and rotary-orienting bowl feeders, as well as bulk supply hoppers, elevators, conveyors, linear feeders and tracks. Recently, the company was called upon to build a vibratory bowl and track to feed tips for medicine droppers. Made of pharmaceutical grade plastic, the tips would be oriented and inserted into plastic bottles filled with eye solution. The subassemblies would then be capped, labeled and sealed.

The tip is 0.285 inch in diameter and 0.585 inch tall, recalls Jeffery L. Cable, engineering and project manager for Homer City Automation. The tips discharge standing, tip up, with no overlapping of flanges at a rate of 30 parts per minute.

“This type of product is challenging to feed because it is light, does not have pronounced features, and is not stable,” says Cable. “Due to the instability, the part needed to be completely captured, and all transitions are critical.”

To ensure that the parts did not jam, Homer City overlapped all transition points in the feed track. In other words, says Cable, the feed rail extends seamlessly from the bottom of the bowl to the pick-up point.

The feeder consists of a stainless steel bowl and an outside track and return pan. The outside track houses all of the specialized tooling needed to bring the part to its desired orientation. Parts that are incorrectly positioned fall from the track into the return pan for recirculation. Correctly oriented parts advance to the discharge.

For more information on parts feeders, call Homer City at 724-479-4503 or visit www.syntronpartsfeeders.com.

Editor’s note: “We Fed It” is a regular series profiling parts feeders for automated assembly. 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 sprovierij@bnpmedia.com, or call 630-694-4012.