Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss a linear vibratory part feeder for handling brake liners, typical sector-shaped components. Part feeders have been used in the industries for a long time to present the parts in a desired orientation. Berretty et al. (1999) discussed a class of mechanical filters that are capable of removing polygonal sections from the track of the feeder which are referred to as traps. The traps eliminate or reorient the parts until they reach the final desired orientation. A part feeder was developed using traps, to reorient the sector-shaped part to desired orientation. The desired orientation was the most probable natural resting orientation. The trap was mounted on a linear vibratory feeder. The adaptive part feeder developed was capable of identifying the size of the incoming part and adjust the trap to accommodate that. This set-up eliminates the use of different traps for different-sized sector-shaped parts and wastage of productive time in changing the traps for different sizes. A regression model was developed to predict the conveying velocity of part on the feeder.
Design/methodology/approach: A part feeder was developed using traps, to reorient the sector-shaped part to desired orientation. Acrylic material was found to be suitable for trap compared to aluminium. The adaptive part feeder developed was capable of identifying the size of the incoming part using proximity sensors. Depending on the size of the incoming part, the track width was adjusted dynamically with the help of a stepper motor, rack and pinion arrangement. A regression model was developed to predict the conveying velocity.
Findings: Typical brake liners in the size range of 40-60 mm (radius) were considered for developing the adaptive part feeder. Based on performance studies, the acrylic trap was found better than aluminium traps. The appropriate frequency and amplitude of vibration for maximum conveying velocity of the adaptive part feeder were found experimentally. Regression equation was developed to determine the conveying velocity based on input frequency and amplitude. The regression results were found to be in close agreement with the experimental results.
Research limitations/implications: The developed part feeder is suitable for handling sector-shaped parts only.
Originality/value: This paper demonstrates an inexpensive adaptive part feeding device for handling sector-shaped parts which can be extended for handling other asymmetric parts also.