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SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.


Vibratory Feeder

Thomas Nocpen

#14402

Vibratory Feeder | 9 September, 1998

I have just been asked to do research into vibratory/belt feeders by my mangement. We are transistiioning into a more short run JIT environment for our captive products. My investigation has turned up two suppliers (USVibra, and Comtra Systems). Does anyone have any comments into the pro's and con's of each manufacturer (ie.feeder accuracy, product support, pricing, delivery, # of jams, # of assists) .Any information would help.

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smd

#14405

Re: Vibratory Feeder | 10 September, 1998

| I have just been asked to do research into vibratory/belt feeders by my mangement. We are transistiioning into a more short run JIT environment for our captive products. My investigation has turned up two suppliers (USVibra, and Comtra Systems). Does anyone have any comments into the pro's and con's of each manufacturer (ie.feeder accuracy, product support, pricing, delivery, # of jams, # of assists) .Any information would help. My own experience with US Vibre: The vibratory base feeders used with our SMT equipment works about 1/2 as well as it should. Many parts just won't make it to the bottom of the tubes on time, but that's not so uncommon. Specific complaints: when you need help with repairing the equipment, they (US Vibre) will be the last to offer any reasonable amount of assistance. For example, I had to repair a vibratory base and the sales staff claimed their own drawings were thrown away and that I had to send the very heavy base to them for repair. They gave me such a hard time that I contacted other vendors to get some of the parts I needed. Also, we had to have a custom top plate made for TSSOPs and a couple other crazy parts (we don't use enough to always get all of them on a reel). I supplied the parts and tubes and my company paid a lot of money to get a plate that still lets the parts pile up at the base. Hopefully I won't get a lot of angry e-mail. This has been my experience and I'm sharing because someone asked; in other words, this isn't a rant.

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Steve Schrader

#14404

Re: Vibratory Feeder | 10 September, 1998

| I have just been asked to do research into vibratory/belt feeders by my mangement. We are transistiioning into a more short run JIT environment for our captive products. My investigation has turned up two suppliers (USVibra, and Comtra Systems). Does anyone have any comments into the pro's and con's of each manufacturer (ie.feeder accuracy, product support, pricing, delivery, # of jams, # of assists) .Any information would help. We have USVibra feeders on our Panasonic MPA-80. The only problem we have had so far is that parts don't advance down the tubes properly when the tubes are not full of parts, so we insert plastic strips into the end of the tubes to add a little pressure on the parts and this works fine. Vibratory feeders are a pain compared to tape/reel feeders, but we get 8 SO-14 parts onto one feeder for less than the cost of one tape/reel feeder and we do not have to waste money on excess inventory to carry the minimum reel quantities, but the trade-off is more operator intervention which can really slow down the line if the operators don't stay on top of it.

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Steve Gregory

#14403

Re: Vibratory Feeder | 11 September, 1998

Thomas, I imagine if you could get everybody's opinion who's worked with vibratory feeders for any length of time, they'll all tell you they basically suck...it's better than nothing when you have to deal with tubed parts, but they still suck. Here's why: 1. They constantly need filling..(but you'll have to do that with any tube feeder) 2. They constantly need the vibration adjusted...one of the other responses you've gotten alluded to that as well.. 3. If the design isn't that great at the "business end" of the feeder (where the parts are picked from), I've had parts "walk" from one lane to another then wind-up being mis-loaded on the board. 4. SO8's are a nightmare in a vibratory feeder...due to their almost square shape...either they won't vibrate down to the pick-up point, or you wind-up with a pile of them at the end of the feeder. Now belt feeders are a different story,...much, much more consistent than vibratory feeders as far as presenting a part for placement. I would only recommend COMTRA feeders though. I used to work for Zevatech as an applications engineer, and Zevatech has sold both feeders, US Vibra and COMTRA. They still sell the US Vibra vibratory feeders, but as far as belt feeders go the only one they sell now is COMTRA. It is heads and shoulders above the US Vibra Belt Feeders...US Vibra belt feeders just flat don't work...and they won't do jack to make them work any better. It's a crappy design, don't waste your time even looking at them. If I sound bitter, I am. I can't tell you how many hours I spent trying to do something to get the US Vibra belt feeders to work for the customers who bought them from Zevatech, all to no avail. We finally starting taking them back from customers and giving them a full and complete refund for the money they paid for that crap. I guess why I'm so bitter about this is that US Vibra won't do a damn thing to fix the problems that the feeders have, and they continue to sell them....(US Vibra continues to, NOT Zevatech) The COMTRA feeders are without a doubt, the best tube part feeder I've ever worked with...and I've been working in surface mount since 1987. I'd much rather have reels, but in the situation that I'm in now, working for a contract assembly company, tubes are a fact of life...you gotta have some decent tube feeders. Save yourself a lot of time looking around, go and get COMTRA belt feeders, you'll be happy...I promise. When you talk to Denny Weldon at COMTRA, tell him I said hi! -Steve Gregory-

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