Step Feeders Help Increase Manufacturing Productivity


Computer Age Engineering is introducing its newly designed line of step feeders for industry, including an Industrial Step Feeder and a Tabletop Step Feeder. These step feeders include improvements made to the original design, which has over 15 years of factory floor experience. The Industrial and Tabletop step feeders orient cylindrical or spherical parts and automatically feed them from the hopper to the next step in the process. This frees up the operator to do other operations that don’t easily lend themselves to automation, resulting in increased productivity.
“The design for both step feeders is very simple, with few moving parts, which ensures minimal downtime,” said Mike Bartrom, President of Computer Age Engineering, Inc. “Step feeders have an advantage over other types of dedicated feeders because they can feed a range of part sizes. This makes our feeders more universal and easier to redeploy.”
The Industrial Step Feeder handles spherical parts from 9/32-inch diameter to three inches in diameter (depending upon the depth of the step) and cylindrical parts the same diameter and range and up to 17 ½ inches long. The Tabletop Step Feeder handles spherical parts from .114 inches in diameter to one inch in diameter (depending upon the depth of the step) and cylindrical parts the same diameter range and up to 11 ½ inches long. Larger and smaller diameters and longer lengths are possible with both step feeders, allowing solutions for a wide range of applications.

Feeding parts in both step feeders is accomplished by using the motion of the steps to orient the parts as they are lifted from step to step and finally discharged. An optional conveyor or inline vibratory track then transfers the parts to an escapement that meters the parts to the next process. Inline vibratory track tooling and part escapement tooling is typically part specific and may require changeover. When this is the case, quick-change tooling is employed as much as possible to reduce changeover downtime.

Computer Age Engineering has been in business since 1982 and specializes in designing and building custom, automated equipment for such industries as automotive, consumer electronics, food, rubber, plastics, and distribution and is ISO 9001:2000 certified.
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