Why Are CNC Bar Feeders So Popular?

Posted on Dec 14, 2020

CNC Bar Feeders

The most fundamental function of the CNC bar feeder is to prevent the operator from having to oversee and feedstock into the machine constantly. This allows the operator to do other tasks while the bar feeder is being used. Moreover, each task can be completed quicker now that loading is automated.

What Is a CNC Bar Feeder?

CNC bar feeders is a piece of equipment that enables bar stock to be loaded into a CNC lathe automatically, which enhances productivity significantly. Through a lathe adapter, the bar feeder is attached to the headstock and loaded with bars that are then fed through the work area. More advanced bar feeders can be loaded with stock and left unattended so that CNC workshops can continue to operate even when lights-out.

The most fundamental function of the CNC bar feeder is to prevent the operator from having to oversee and feedstock into the machine constantly. This allows the operator to do other tasks while the bar feeder is being used. Moreover, each task can be completed quicker now that loading is automated.

CNC bar feeders can come in different sizes and capacities with particular respect to the footprint, diameter, and type of stock they are capable of carrying. As a machine that would hugely enhance your production automation and efficiency, finding the right bar feeder for your project is very important. In the rest of this article, we’ll address how a CNC bar feeder works, and why it has been one of the most widely used automated parts feeding machines for maximum efficiency.

How Does a CNC Bar Feeder Work?

A CNC bar feeder consists of a bed that supports the bar stock bundles, a clamping mechanism, a bar pusher that feeds the stock into the CNC lathe through the end of the feeder, and a feed position adjustment system. The bed is generally curved or angled instead of flat so that the bars are always poised to be inserted into the lathe as they rest at the bottom of the bed. In most cases, rollers or other methods are used to make sure that the bars’ down-to-bottom movement is as smooth as possible.

As for the bar pusher, it can be controlled using several methods – pressurized air or oil, or a servo motor with a push rod. The rod is held in place as it runs by using a number of clamps and anti-vibrational devices to ensure stability and accuracy. There will also be different ways for the bar feeder to change the bar's position so that it matches up with the chuck in the center of the hole. Most bar feeders are known as either hydrostatic or hydrodynamic, referring to whether the channel oil serves merely as support or pushes the bar into the CNC lathe through the tub.

:: Read More: The Ins and Outs of Automatic Bar Feeders

Advantage of CNC Bar Feeder: Good Fit

One of the foremost advantages of a CNC bar feeder is the flexible fit (if a liner is used). Spindle liners may be used to compensate for significant differences between the diameter of the bar stock and the spindle. 

Also, to accommodate the various bar sizes, the liners are available in various diameters. Spindle liners have always been made from steel in most cases, but they can be noisy with out-of-round stock. The friction could wear out the liners as well. This is why polyurethane liners have become more common in the last decade, enabling quieter operation and simpler liner modifications.

Inside the spindle is where the liner is installed, allowing the bars to be kept straight and the materials to be fed in on the centerline of the chuck. It is said that if a bar half the diameter of the spindle is fed through without a liner, gravity would pull the material down to the bottom of the spindle. The centerline would be off as a result when it comes through the chuck.

Advantage of CNC Bar Feeder: Improve Efficiency

Another key advantage of the CNC bar feeder is that human intervention is minimized, thereby improving the operation efficiency. This especially prevails and constitutes the main reason why CNC bar feeders are frequently used during lights-out operations.

The cost of employment, however, should also be addressed by workshops, as staff and floor space are usually primary expenses that a shop would have to deal with. Therefore, a shop owner should think about how he or she can make the production process more efficient by taking the size of the bar feeder versus the available space into consideration.

Moreover, many assume that when using a bar feeder, you have to be running the same part repeatedly during a production run to maximize efficiency. But this has proven to be untrue. As a shop owner, you always want to ensure maximum throughput with the shortest amount of lead times to optimize efficiency. This means that it is not wise for a single operator to be handling a single machine, running the same part over and over. He should be instructed to oversee multiple machines; when the first machine completes its task, the operator can quickly program the machine to work on another part of identical size immediately, ensuring the best cycle time.

Final Words

In conclusion, CNC bar feeders without a doubt can make a big difference to the efficiency of your production by maximizing output rate thanks to the automation feature. You simply need to first ascertain the effectiveness pertaining to the machine size to the available space ratio. Then, devise an optimum production regime as to how you want the parts to be loaded and the operators to be deployed. As CNC bar feeders come in a variety of styles and sizes, it is advisable to weigh the disadvantages of different models with respect to your production requirement, so that you can choose the best fit to maximize your production outcome.

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