A construction equipment manufacturer needed a way to feed a family of large, heavy castings. The castings range in weight from a few ounces up to a few pounds and come in many geometric shapes.

The objective was to build a heavy-duty flexible feeding system so that the entire family of parts could be fed and 100 percent of the parts could be inspected prior to assembly. The manufacturer was not very automated at the time and had concerns over whether such a system was possible. It was even considering sending the operation out of the country.

The manufacturer contacted Vibromatic Co. Inc. in Noblesville, IN, for help. After discussions with the Vibromatic team, a system design soon followed.

The system consists of a heavy-duty, steel-cleated “S” conveyor that brings a few of the parts from a bulk hopper up and onto an inline vibratory separator tray. The vibration of this tray is controlled by a Vibromatic H series controller and was set at a fast speed to separate the parts and feed them onto a second vibratory tray. The second tray is the pick area for a vision-guided robot. It, too, is run by an H series controller, but at a slower rate. The second tray is wider than the first to ensure that enough parts are available for the robot to pick. After the robot picks all available parts, the tray vibrates and repopulates the pick area with fresh set of parts for the robot. Any parts not picked by the robot are returned to the conveyor to start over again.

The system proved to be very successful, and Vibromatic has used variations of the design for many other parts and customers.

For more information on parts feeding equipment, call Vibromatic at 317-773-3885 or visit www.vibromatic.net.