Parts cut, stamped, or formed out of metal require finishing to ensure they are free from imperfections, especially burrs. These little extra shards or beads of metal left over from the heat of laser cutting or the action of boring equipment must be removed for the part to work properly and fit in its place.
Deburring and finishing machines use vibration to move parts together with abrasive media within a chamber to file off burrs and polish parts. They range from large vibratory trough-style machines to the type of small vibratory bowl feeder than can fit atop a workbench.
The final destination of a finished, deburred part is often an assembly line. Vibratory parts feeders use vibration to separate and position finished parts to distribute them to an assembly line in the correct orientation so that they can be placed correctly in a larger mechanism. Proper maintenance of vibratory parts feeders is essential to keeping the assembly line moving.
Before performing any maintenance on a vibratory parts feeder, turn it off. If you can, disconnect it completely from its power source.
Tighten Jangled Parts
Vibratory feeders use magnets and springs to generate and control vibration. They cause parts to jump around, up and down, until their natural shape causes them to line up in the desired direction. The part runs along a belt or channel, then up into a bowl in a spiral path, where another piece of the feeder makes a final adjustment to the part’s position. Then the part moves back down toward the exit point of the feeder, out to the assembly line, pointed in the right direction for use.
As you can imagine, all this bouncing around of springs and bowls can cause parts of the apparatus to come loose. The first step of proper maintenance for vibratory parts feeders is to examine all the nuts, bolts, and screws that hold the device together and in place, and to tighten up loose connections.
Inspect Clamps, Coils, and Linings, and Level the Feeder
With the machine off and disconnected from power, inspect clamps, coils, springs, and the bowl lining (if there is one) for signs of wear or damage. Check to see that the magnet and coil are in the proper position and the correct distance from each other.
Vibratory feeders should be level and firmly attached to the floor or weldment. Make sure that the feeder is level and its feet are evenly and securely contacting the floor.
Clean the Feeder
Bowls that have linings require special care, as some kinds of cleaners can damage the lining. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions about what kind of cleaners are acceptable for the interior of the bowl. Gently remove buildup at the exit point where the parts come out after the vibratory parts feeder has positioned them. Use a soft cloth with the recommended machine cleaner, being careful not to scratch or damage the feeder itself. Wipe off dirt and buildup from the running surface of the line that draws parts into the feeder as well. If the machine is in a dusty or perpetually dirty environment, it will need more frequent cleanings.
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