I’ve got the Feeder Bowl Blues (not to be confused with “Feed Bag Blues”)

Honestly, every day we run into one of the most commonly seen and vital categories of automation equipment imaginable on the factory floor – the good old automation stalwart servant, the feeder bowl.

These devices are imperative to successful automated assembly processes and are used in hundreds of applications in factory automation.   But the successful and timely, synchronous delivery and individual of components provided by the feeder bowl from the bowl itself through the feed track system, is dependent on reliable sensing.  If “clogs” or traffic jams occur anywhere in the pathway, it interferes with the overall timely assembly of goods, regardless of the industrial discipline.  We see a wide array of sensing technologies from manufacturer to manufacturer, regardless of the country of origin, regarding sensing in these machines.

Inductive proximity sensors, ultrasonic sensors, photoelectric types are all integrated into the tracking of screws, nuts, washers, and a wide array of other metallic and non-metallic sub components fed into the manufacturing stream. One of the most common products used in sensing components being supplied through feeder bowl tracks even today, is the separate amplifier and armor jacketed pair of fiber optic emitters/receivers.  Do they work? Absolutely.  Do they fail?  Absolutely.

Why do they fail?  Because they either vibrate out of alignment, are bumped out of alignment, or somebody over ties the excess fiber bundle with a zip tie using extreme pressure and snaps the bundle.  There is a better way, and this video will show you! Check it out:

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