Feeding systems are used for the automated storage and orderly feeding of workpieces. A basic distinction is made between ordered and unordered supply. Palletisers, for example, are used to feed ordered parts from deep-drawing trays.
Most feeding systems, however, are used for feeding unordered parts in bulk. In principle, there are workpiece-specific bulk material feeding systems with sorting by mechanical chicanes or systems that can be flexibly programmed for a specific range of parts and are based on image processing systems. Feeding technology includes systems and devices for stocking, ordering, conveying, separating and allocating workpieces.
To feed small parts in bulk, the parts are typically first fed into a hopper for storage, which transfers the parts in metered quantities to an arrangement device. From the sorting device, the parts are pre-oriented and pre-separated before they reach a conveyor system. The conveyor line is often combined with further sorting devices, with which parts that are not in the correct position or are incorrectly oriented are rejected and returned to the storage container. In workpiece-specific systems, this is done with mechanical chicanes.
In flexible systems, the parts are detected by an image processing system that only allows parts with the correct position to pass or controls a robot to pick up the correctly positioned parts.
The correctly positioned and oriented parts are transferred to a conveyor and accumulation line. If the accumulation section is full, the parts supply is stopped by the arrangement device. A feeding and handling device separates the workpieces and transfers them to the desired staging position.
In palletisers, the parts are provided in an orderly manner on trays which are stacked and unstacked by a stacking system. The parts are removed by a gripper that is guided by a handling system with at least three axes.