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What is Flexible Part Feeding?

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A flexible part feeder can be a system used to feed /load component parts into a manufacturing process. The best kind of intelligent flexible feeder system includes a feeder to handle and feed the part, a vision system to locate the part for the next process, and a robot. This type of system can overcome the high cost of traditional parts feeding by loading a wide variety of parts in various sizes, shapes and orientations. The advantages of a flexible part feeder is that you can present many different parts into an assembly process through the same part feeding mechanism and let the vision system determine what parts to pick and how to pick them.

Automatic robot handlingFlexible Part Feeding Versus Traditional Part Feeding

Traditional Part Feeding Flexible Part Feeding
Processes distributed to multiple workcells Consolidated processes — same workcell footprint
Fixtured parts Randomly placed parts with no costly fixtures
Frequent costly part changes Using vision allows for simple/minimal cost part changes
High cost manual or fixed tooling for part feeding Low cost automatic part feeding
Multiple part orientations presented in boxes or bins can be difficult to handle heavy/awkward parts Using vision, the robot can find parts in any orientation
Robots can handle parts easily

Flexible Part Feeding Application Studies

1) The live demonstration system comprised of an automated system based upon a Kawasaki 6-axis robot, vision inspection system and bowl feeding system.

2) A vision guided robot used in the production of plumbing parts. The vision system identify the position and rotation of the parts and the robot picks directly from the conveyor.

3) Vision robotic system picking various types of poker chips. This compact design allows the smallest parallel-link robots (Fanuc), being able to gently handle a wide variety of components (up to 0.5kg) for inspection, sorting, loading and assembly.

Reference

“Benefits of Flexible Part Feeding.” Fanuc Robotics  <http://www.fanucrobotics.com/robotics-articles/Part_Feeding_Solutions.aspx>

External Links

Fanuc Robotics

Related Industry: FMCG

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