Flexible Feeding Overview
Industry-wide, we're seeing flexible feeding take some momentum in the field of robotics. It's a relatively new automation technology that stems from the need of automating high mix low volume production situations. An example of this can be seen through the past year or so, with COVID causing demand of some products to skyrocket while demolishing the demand for others. This causes the manufacturers to quickly pivot their production lines. Implementing flexible systems that are able to handle these production changes can be a challenge for many businesses, but it is on the forefront of preparing for change.
Types of Part Feeding
Let's take the most common product families for part feeding and dive deeper into their comparisons.
When Should Flexible Feeding Be Used?
High Mix/Low Volume
Frequent part design or production changes which require you to be flexible. You don't want to have to redesign your bowl feeder or feeding system every time...you want it to be able to adapt.
Fragile parts don't tend to do very well in a bowl feeder while flexible feeders are very gentle with parts.
Parts That Tend to Stick or Block
Parts that may block bowls or rails can cause issues and hold up production. This can be completely avoided by using flexible feeding.
No Part Design
When you don't have the part design yet but must provide a solution, flexible feeders are the only option. Because flexible feeders can be implemented in pretty much any application and adapt to just about any part, you can design that into your production line and not have to worry about whether the part will work.
Short Production Time
Will you be producing the same thing in 12 to 18 months? Is it going to be a long-term part or are you going to be changing parts? If it's going to be a shorter cycle time, then you will definitely want to look at flexible feeding.
Industry-Leading Flexible Feeders
The Asycube series of flexible feeding systems from Asyril are for parts and components from <0.1mm up to 150mm in size. Their innovative 3-axis vibration technology can handle bulk parts of any geometry and allows for extremely gentle part feeding. Click on the image below to learn more about the Asycube series and see some videos on each model.
Asycube Features & Benefits
Feed parts of any shape & material: Almost all parts (~99%) can be fed by Asycube feeders, including delicate parts as well as components with very complex geometries
High Precision Detection: Asycube comes with an integrated backlight in your choice of color (red, green, white, blue, and infrared) that can be easily adjusted for precise part detection.
Faster cycle time: With Asyril's 3-axis vibration technology, parts can be moved in all directions, do not accumulate in a corner or an edge, do not need to recirculate, and are gently handled by precise tuning of flipping amplitude.
Consistent and Correct Orientation: Asycube can be fitted with a variety of structured platforms to guarantee a swift and correct orientation of parts.
Reduce changeover time: Structured plates of the Asycube can be changed quickly in under a minute and new vibration recipes can easily be configured.
EYE+ Smart Control System: New from Asyril, EYE+ allows you to control your hopper, Asycube feeder, camera, and robot from the EYE+ Studio, a web-based interface. You can learn more about the Eye+ by clicking on the image below
Here at BlueBay, we're flexible feeding experts and have had experience working with a wide variety of applications using many different brands. If you're working on a project and you're not sure what feeding solution will meet your needs, give our team of engineers a call and let us take a look. If you enjoyed this article and would like to stay up to date with automation topics and new product launches such as PreciseFlex, then subscribe to our newsletter!