The Ins and Outs of Automatic Bar Feeders

Posted on Sep 8, 2020

Automatic Bar Feeders

The automatic bar feeders seem to be a relatively simple device. In our high-volume turning world, this is the most common automation accessory. It provides a reliable way to transport materials to the machine for a long time, saving the operator the trouble of continuously loading the blank into the chuck. In fact, automatic bar feeders have many subtle differences between each other, making them more suitable for certain store environments.

Length and capacity are just the beginning. Other factors should also be considered during the purchase process. In this article, we will go through the ins and outs of automatic bar feeders, and we will talk about automatic bar feeder features, advantages, and operations.


Automatic Bar Feeders Specifications

The workshop can most benefit from a specific bar feeder model that is fully compatible with the current equipment, depending upon the CNC model, size, and brand. The technical specifications that define this interoperability are crucial in order to narrow the options initially. Subsequently, the purchaser may pay special attention to the following four factors when selecting the right machine tool accessories:

• Floor Space

CNC machines are bulky, and since an automatic bar feeder is mounted on their side, floor space can be an issue. Before choosing a suitable rebar loader or feeder, please consider the available workshop floor space and ensure that it is sufficient for technicians to perform routine maintenance work. Although a significant amount of the contents can be adjusted, the size of the bar loader or feeder and the working area will not be altered.


:: Read More: Want to understand CNC Machining? Read this!

• Size

It decides how many metal bars are filled by the bar loader or feeder. There would be different outcomes from different codes, and it is useful to know how many can be prepared in advance. This precise knowledge dictates when it should be carried out during night shifts or even holidays (24 hours) at a special automatic bar feeder.

• Part and Spindle Length

For workshop units dedicated to the production of specific workpieces, it is very important to first determine the exact length of the metal bar required for each workpiece. This, combined with the remaining length of the bar inside the spindle itself, will provide an accurate approximation of how many workpieces a single bar can produce. This element is very important considering the cost of wasted materials and the time required to load new bars into the bar feeder.


Advantages of Automatic Bar Feeders

Early attempts to feed the bar into the lathe involved simple holding or guiding devices that would transmit vibrations and require lower RPMs, which could damage the spindle and workpiece, and pose a danger to the machine operator. In the past few decades, manufacturers of automatic bar feeders have solved all rebar loading defects by developing the first hydraulic bar feeder that reduces friction, noise, and vibration. Since then, the automatic bar feeder has developed into a user-friendly, ergonomic, and efficient device with many important advantages. Here are just a few:

• Bar Loading Precision is increased

Without interruption, the automatic bar feeder will feed bars continuously. Most versions have a proprietary synchronizing system of the direct headstock, to ensure that the bar feeder shifter and the headstock are synchronized. The automatic bar feeder for incredibly limited materials requires a special loading method for scrolls.

• Changeovers are faster

In order to maintain production progress, the automatic bar feeder has a function to reduce the conversion time to a few minutes. The model designed for the light-off operation has an automatic adjustment function without operator intervention.

• Optimized Turning Machine RPM

Appropriate bar support can reduce vibration, thereby increasing spindle speed and maintaining tight tolerances. The automatic bar feeder uses a sturdy and durable structure to achieve this goal. Depending on the model, these functions include automatic and automatic adjustment of outboard rebar supports, Swiss safety connections, and so on.

• Operation doesn’t need to be attended at all times

There is no way to set up a long-term part operation without the operator's attention, and there is no better way to reduce the unit cost and shorten the construction period. To achieve unattended and unattended production, it is necessary to provide a bar feeder that automatically converts, accommodates a large number of bars, and has been proven to be able to load bars reliably for a long time.

• Remote Monitoring & Programming is easy

The modern control system enables the automatic feeder to share data with the lathe, and can also send various email alerts about the production status and the health of the work cell to computers, smartphones, and other devices during unattended operation. The user-friendly interface prompts, and touch screen control makes settings quick and easy. The operator only needs to input the bar shape, diameter, part length, and guide channel ID. Modern automatic bar feeders are equipped with a parts library that can be used for hundreds of part presets.


Efficient Bar Feeding operations

Minimizing operator intervention, even to the point of lights-out operations, is the main reason for using automatic bar feeders. However, shops can still take into account the cost of operation, as staff and facilities typically constitute the main costs for a store. When contemplating how much room a bar feeder can take, a shop owner must also remember how it can maximize productivity in the manufacturing process. People also assume that they must still run the same portion of a manufacturing process in order to optimize the use of an automatic bar feeder. But in fact, most shops are running mostly the same types of material and similar part sizes. A shop can run 500 units with a loading counter, and the operator can supervise two other machines while this job is running. If the first task is complete, the operator will quickly load and restart the machine for another portion of the same scale.

Except when the cycle time on a traditional lathe takes three minutes, do you really want to pay the operator to stand and wait and then open the lock, take the part off, and bring in the next blank for each portion so the loader will unload it to operate other machines simultaneously?  Shops are also looking to be more competitive even in small lots, seeking to maximize production with shorter lead times. Automatic bar feeders may make a huge difference in the productivity of a store and in higher output volumes, as other modes of automation. The benefits of multiple models need to be measured in order to decide what is better suited for each case. Therefore, the bar feeder will offer the perfect stimulus for turning operations as long as space and costs are feasible.


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