Feeding stackable items – Friction vs. Vacuum
December 29, 2011
So which is better….friction vs. vacuum feeding for stackables. What is a ‘stackable’ item?
Anything that can be organized or ‘stacked’, trayed or loaded into a magazine in an organized manner. Examples are DVDs, magazines, literature, sandpaper, trays (most), brochures, coupons, etc. Thickness can vary as you see from the examples. Each item shares one characteristic – its stackable.
Considerations for selecting the style of automatic feeder (either one based on the use of friction or a pick n’ place style using vacuum)
- Speed required: Usually friction is faster than vacuum
- Accuracy of placement required: Vacuum is most often used when tolerances are tight
- Nesting of products: We think of trays typically in this case. Think microwave-able dinner tray. Friction feeding won’t work because the trays are nested together. Use vacuum here.
- Quality of finish: We have seen this with trading cards and other high-gloss finished items. The finish on the item may scratch if run through a friction feeder. Vacuum gets the nod.
When looking for a supplier, its best to deal with a firm that handles both styles of feeders so you’re not lead into the wrong automated solution.