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Part feeders, parts feeding, part sorting and vibratory part feeder systems

To some, the design, purchase or upgrade of the right part feeding system might seem like a time-consuming or costly undertaking. However, our specialists are in the business of effectively handling this aspect of industrial automation so that our customers will not have to. The process can be very simple. When contacting FCI Vibratory Feeders, Inc. to learn about options and pricing, it might be beneficial to initially consider several basic issues beforehand, especially if you intend to rely on us for the majority of the system design. You will naturally want to advise us about your requirements for: part feed rates, part orientation, part sorting, hopper inclusion, multi-line discharge, et cetera. With these factors in mind, you may wish for us to recommend the various secondary considerations, such as bowl feeder size, composition and coating.

Obtaining a quote from FCI Vibratory Feeders, Inc. could not be easier! While telephone inquiries are always welcome, we find that the majority of our customers prefer our popular online method. By clicking on the “Quote Request” option at the top of each page, you can fill out the simple request form. Within 24 hours (usually less, depending upon the information you supply), we will have a quote submitted back via email.

Many times our customers find that their production line is modern and flexible enough to incorporate a used vibratory feeder. We generally have a variety of standard vibratory hoppers and bowl feeders in stock, and we may be able to provide you a quote for one of these if you indicate this option on the Quote Request form.

In order to assist you in completing the Quote Request form, we have listed below a number of basic terms to be considered. By referencing several of the terms listed below, we will be able to provide you with the most accurate quote. The majority of these terms are not essential, but helpful in understanding as you decide how your non-vibrating, or vibratory part feeding system should be designed, refurbished or retrofitted.


An untooled bowl consists of a vertical band and a domed bottom with either an external helical track or an internal helical track. The internal track can also be inverted.

A conic section, calculated to fit at the required angle, attached between the bottom side of the track and the bowl wall to prevent parts from stacking and causing jams between the tracks.

The vibratory feeder bowl is the basic bowl complete with internal or external tooling, custom-designed to meet feed rate, part orientation and other specifications, as required.

The correct position of the piece part at the discharge exit as required by the assembly or placing operation.

The number of parts discharged per minute or hour, as needed to maintain production requirements.

Any construction outside of the vertical band which separates, orients, selects, confines, or relieves pressure buildup on oriented parts.

The structure attached to the outer band for the purpose of recirculating parts to the inside of the bowl which have been rejected by the orienting and selection devices.

A tooled section designed specifically to segregate only those parts that are in the correct attitude.

A short section of interior track that can be set at various widths. The length depends on the size of the part. This can also be an external type (after exit to the outside of the bowl). This may be either a stainless or tool steel insert that can be adjusted to either orient or limit parts to a single file.

A stainless or tool steel insert placed inside or outside the bowl to control the part level or orientation.

This is a continuation of the band of the bowl to hold it to the cross arms of the base drive unit. Clamp nuts are used to attach small diameter bowls to the top member. On large diameter bowls, clamp nuts, along with a center bowl, are provided.

A straight section of either stainless or tool steel used to select or orient parts which can be inside or outside of the bowl.

A stainless steel deflector placed on the inside of the bowl bottom to guard the return hole, thus allowing parts to flow evenly back up the track from the return pan.

A small diameter tube bolted or welded in place which is sometimes used to assist in moving parts. It is adjusted in the process of development to assist in orientation or final selection with a minimum amount of air pressure.

An area with a stationary or adjustable gap which orients parts (bolts, screws, etc.) to a "hanging attitude".

Properly placed tooling to change the attitude of a part to the proper position for final selection. A pre-orientor will generate higher feed rates and minimize recirculation of the parts, thus extending the life of the bowl, especially with regard to metal or abrasive parts.

An area of the bowl tooling just before the entrance to confinement where the parts will buckle if the discharge is full. This relieves part pressure which would otherwise cause jamming conditions, or misoriented parts to bridge across the bowl tooling.

A means of providing a pressure relief when the parts will not efficiently bubble off on their own accord. This device can be either a proximity, photocell, L.E.D. fiber optic, or pneumatic-type sensor to signal the feeder to start or stop. A sensor can also activate an air jet to eject excess parts from the entrance to confinement, in which case the bowl would continue to run (the latter is most generally used with multiple track bowls).

A short section of track that is mounted tangent to the centerline of the bowl. The discharge chute controls parts in the proper attitude or orientation that is achieved in the bowl. In most cases, it conveys them to a horizontal vibratory straight line of gravity track.

A containing section used to control parts through the discharge chute. In most cases, confinements are designed in a manner to allow access to the parts by removal of bolted-on sections.

A scrap chute is used to discharge small particles of foreign material from the bowl without interfering with flow of the piece parts.

A quick opening "window" that is provided to facilitate changing from one part to another when multiple styles or sizes of parts are being fed from the same bowl.

That portion of the basic bowl, pre-orientor, final selector or discharge chute with which the part makes contact. This is of variable dimension, depending upon the particular piece part.

A solid steel block of predetermined size and weight that is added to the exterior of the bowl. The location is determined on a static counter-balance wheel in order to offset the weight of the external tooling, et cetera.

The force that is used to power the LP Drive Unit comes from using one or more electromagnetic coils which act upon pole face plates. These plates are constrained by leaf springs attached to the cross arms, causing a torsional vibration and translating the vibrations in a horizontal direction (resultant angle of approximately 12 degrees from horizontal). When the drive unit moves the parts at maximum efficiency with minimum current effort, the unit is said to be tuned to the “natural frequency” of the power source. The mass and diameter of the feeder bowl is the determining factor in tuning the unit. As this mass or diameter is increased, more leaf springs must be added. The rubber feet of the base drive play an important part in tuning, and must be of the proper diameter.

A warning sound which indicates that the coil gap is set too close, causing the pole faces to strike. This condition will result in damage to the drive unit if not corrected.

A machined block at the end of each cross arm of the base drive unit which must be of proper torque to assure maximum transfer of vibration to the bowl. Failure to do so will result in failure or malfunction of the feeder system.

Proper tuning is an important factor in achieving maximum spring energy level. When a drive unit is improperly tuned (over- or undersprung), the spring tension does not correspond with the natural frequency of the feeder mass. Either condition prevents the mass from returning to its neutral position before the next magnetic pulse takes over, thus restricting the full motion each 1/120 second. Normal 60 HZ current produces 120 magnetic cycles per second, and transmits 120 mechanical cycles per second to the bowl.

A storage hopper is used to hold extra parts for replenishing the supply in the bowl. Hoppers are set to operate automatically by a signal from a level control switch, thus eliminating either a deficiency or an oversupply of parts in the bowl.

Gravity tracks and vertical magazines are methods of conveying parts. This type of track must be set on an angle great enough that gravity will convey the parts from the discharge of the feed system. A magazine is a track in which oriented parts are stacked. This device is usually preloaded; the feeder maintains a full stack.

A straight line drive unit is designed to produce linear vibratory motion. It is used to power tracks that convey parts horizontally from the feeder bowl discharge to a dead nest or mechanism.

Overhang refers to the amount of straight track tooling that extends beyond either end of the inline drive top member.

A mechanical device placed at the end of the feeder discharge which is used to isolate the end part.

A mechanical means of placing an escaped part into a nest or onto another piece part.

Submit an online quote request for your parts feeder project.

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