Vibratory bowl feeders have long been the go-to device for supplying parts in automated assembly systems. Their sole drawback is that they are not all that flexible. They are custom-made to feed one specific part. That’s all well and good for low-mix, high-volume production, but for higher mix operations, the economics become harder to justify.
This was the problem faced recently by a Tier 1 automotive supplier. The company needed an economical way to precisely feed two different parts for an automotive subassembly—and adapt to future needs. To meet a cycle time of 7.5 seconds, the supplier needed to feed each part at rate of eight components per minute. Designing a vibratory bowl for each part was not economically feasible.
The supplier contacted RNA Automation, a systems integrator and parts feeding specialist based in Aachen, Germany, for help. RNA recommended its FlexType P feeding system, featuring the Asycube 240, a three-axis vibratory platform from Asyril SA, a supplier of flexible feeding systems based in Villaz, Switzerland.
The parts are presorted with a vibrating hopper and transferred in controlled amounts onto the vibratory platform of the Asycube 240, where the parts are quickly separated and pre-oriented for pick up by a vision-guided SCARA robot. The parts are backlit on the platform, enabling the vision system to distinguish one part from the other and to determine which parts are pickable and which are not.
The robot picks up two parts per cycle and places them in a fixture for transfer into the assembly system.
The system can be reconfigured easily to feed additional parts. The hopper can be discharged quickly, and the vibratory platform can be exchanged without tools.
Measuring 195 by 150 millimeters, the feed platform of the Asycube 240 can accommodate flat or cube-shaped parts from 5 to 40 millimeters wide or long parts, such as pins, up to 50 millimeters long. The platform vibrates in three axes of motion to gently flip and move parts in all directions. The system produces minimal abrasion on parts, since they do not need to recirculate. The platform can be customized with grooves, holes, nests or other features to aid orientation.
For more information on parts feeders and automated assembly systems, call RNA Automation at 44-0-121-749-2566 or visit www.rnaautomation.com.
For more information on flex feeders, call Asyril US Inc. at 612-294-6886 or visit www.asyril.com.