One of the most commonly seen and vital categories of assembly automation equipment is the feeder bowl. These devices are imperative to successful automated assembly processes and are used in hundreds of applications in factory automation.  But delicate parts require more precision control of the bowl and track feeders. Leaving these device vibrate too long will cause excessive wear and damage to the parts. 

There are two main sensing applications for controlling delicate parts in feeder bowls: Accurate Bowl Level and Feed Track Detection.

Feeder Bowl Level

Maintaining correct product level in a feeder bowl is essential for correct operation. If there are too many parts, the bowl won’t work properly and excessive part wear and damage can occur. If there are too few parts, it will starve the process for parts and also cause excessive wear and damage. Bowl level detection for delicate parts should be accomplished with the use of a background suppression photoelectric sensor.

Background suppression photoelectric sensors emit a beam of light into the bowl and triggers off the position of reflected light. Also known as triangulation, this feature eliminates color variations and the shiny bowl surface from affecting the operation.

As the product level falls, so does the position of reflected light. A potentiometer on the sensor is used to set the desired level. When the low level is reached, the sensor activates the hopper controller to refill the bowl.

Feed Track Detection

Parts can rapidly accumulate in the feed track, causing clogs and vibration.  A series of precision sensors will look for accumulated parts and turn the bowl off so it’s not vibrating and causing parts to rub together. It has become increasingly popular to use a self-contained thru-beam sensor directly on the feed tracks. Newer self-contained thru-beam sensors use pin-point light of laser light to better control the accumulation of parts. As some of the points in the track are filled, the sensors will turn off the track feed controller.

By using both of these solutions, you can more tightly control your bowl feed systems and significantly reduce the excessive wear and damage to your parts.

See these solutions in action, watch our video here: