What Is a Long Bar Feeder?

Posted on Jan 5, 2021

Long Bar Feeder

Long bar feeders have many functions, and normal bar feeders are usually used in CNC lathes operation to automatically draw in materials such as bars from the clamping chuck which is driven by the spindle. They serve as a substitute for a bar puller on NC or CNC lathe machines.

Long bar feeders are the bar feeders that are designed to send bar materials for the turning machines in the automated process for quicker processing. In the machine tool industry, bar feeders are supportive machinery for automatically drawing in workpiece materials on CNC lathe machines, turning mills, or turning centers. The machined part is cut off and new materials have to be fed into the machine continually on the production lines by the bar feeders, which are normally automatic.

Functions of Bar Feeders

Long bar feeders have many functions, and normal bar feeders are usually used in CNC lathes operation to automatically draw in materials such as bars from the clamping chuck which is driven by the spindle. In this case, they serve as a substitute for a bar puller on NC or CNC lathe machines. The clamping chuck is fitted directly into the turret of the lathe or into the bar holder for better stability. Regarding the classification of feeding mechanisms of the bar feeders, there are two different versions of bar feeders for the turning machines or turning centers, which depends on the structures and body frames the machine is: It may start on the X-axis or the Z-axis. The X-axis is usually for radius and the Z-axis is normally on the spindle phase. Bar feeders can be designed and modified by the manufacturers. 

The outer case of the bar feeders is critical to the processing procedure. The housing and the body shell of bar feeders can be made of iron, aluminum, or steel materials, and the top jaws are made of case-hardened steel in order to cope with the bar materials but sometimes if the bar is with specific components that are less durable or fragile or soft, then the jaws have to be specifically dealt with separately or be replaced based on the real-time circumstances.

:: Read More: Why Are CNC Bar Feeders So Popular?

History and Development

According to the lathe history development, the history of the bar feeder development began with the introduction of the numerically controlled lathes around the time of the 1980s in which turning machines controlled by NC system made excess production volumes that manual feeding by conventional methods was no longer fast and agile enough for the booming world market. At this time lathes were changed to permit inexpensive and economical production of small or medium-sized batches. The bar feeder served the motions to drawbars into the lathe without onsite operators having to feed the operational machine with material each time that is required. With the introduction of computerized numerical control for the turning machines, it was possible to ensure the reliability of the individual process operations, such as procedures involving moving the turret to the material, opening the clamping chuck, drawing in the material, closing the clamping chuck, moving the turret away with the bar puller device. Bar feeders are critical automation accessories to be considered in the lathe machine inventory.

Further Integration with Bar Stocks

Like every car is designed for the road, every transmission needs the load. And bar stocks a common form of raw purified metals that is used by industrial workers to produce metal parts and products in the production lines. Bar stock is available in a variety of extrusion shapes and lengths, most of which are solid round, rectangular, square, and hexagonal. A bar is characterized by an enclosed invariant convex cross-section, which indicates that pipes, angle stock, and objects with varying diameter are not considered bar stocks in this definition. Bar stock is commonly processed by a series of operations including sawing, turning, milling, drilling, and grinding to produce a final product; they are often vastly different from the original stock items. Therefore, bar feeders need to be flexible. 

In some applications, the process is partially automated by specialized equipment which feeds the stock into the appropriate processing machines or a series of connected and coordinated production lines that serve the same manufacturing purposes. And within this processing procedure, the whole-plant automation system will definitely reduce the heavy reliance on manpower for the business owners to a certain degree, leaving managers of the production lines available for spare time for detail modification and adjustment. Bar feeder application is wide and deep.

How Do Bar Feeders Work?

For ordinary processing procedures, most metal materials produced by a steel mill or aluminum plant are formed into shapes as long continuous strips of various sizes and shapes. These metal strips are cut at regular intervals and are allowed to cool down in a specific period of time span during the formation process, so each segment becomes a piece of the bar stock objects. 

The formation of the metal bar can be seen as the formation like noodles as an analogy for readers as a reference. That is, like the noodle-making procedure, in which the lumps of dough are extruded into various cross-sectional shapes with the same size and diameter, and the tools then cut into lengths. After that, the dough is dried in that consolidated form and shape. The cross-sectional shapes of noodles vary from the simple bar or tube shapes to more elaborate extrusions. Similarly, the same situation is true of metal bar stock management. The most common shapes are solid round bar, which is also called a rod, rectangular bar, which includes a square bar, which is the special case of equal sides, and hexagonal bar, which is usually called hex bar. These three forms are the most common forms in the industrial sector. Besides the solid items, tube and pipe are also similar in the formation, but have hollow centers and are traditionally not called a bar in the industrial customs and usages. The way the bar feeders work is like the way tube feeders works, with some similarities. Though a product titled hollow bar, it is essentially a tube but with the custom-orderable outer diameter and internal diameter values.

Long Bar Feeders and Other Accessories

Long bar feeders are considered accessories for turn-mill centers as well as the power turrets, live tools, saddles, spindles, guideways, axis, etc. To be precise, a turn-mill is slightly different from a mill-turn in several ways that are rooted in the structure but not in the phase of functionalities because machine tools nowadays are designed to proceed with overlapping tasks under the concept of versatility. A turn-mill is actually an essential machining center that can conduct turning processes as well but the latter functionality is recognized as an attached function rather than the main feature or the major advantages. That is to say, a CNC turn-mill machine is basically derived from the idea of machining centers. 

The phrase “machining center” can be used to describe a wide variety of CNC drilling and milling machines that are accommodated with several critical but sometimes optional accessories equipped together with the machine body itself, such as tool magazine, automatic tool changer, coordinate measuring machine, multi-axis working tables, just to name a few. If the long bar feeders can be considered a supportive part, the way they support the manufacturing process depends on the arrangement of the turning machine directions. There are vertical and horizontal turning machines, which determine the way the long bar feeders shall be installed and placed.

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