Vibratory Feeders & Hoppers

features_011Vibratory hoppers are used throughout the manufacturing facilities of a medical supplier to feed components for assembly. These often generate noise levels of up to 95dB(A)L - 99dB(A)L causing large areas of the factory to have noise levels above 90dB(A).

An additional problem was fatigue cracks on the hoppers and vibrators which regularly had to be taken out of action to undertake repairs.

The solution developed was based on a clear understanding of the vibratory action required to feed the product successfully. Two sets of modifications were introduced:-

1. The high frequency vibration (which does not contribute to product feed) was efficiently damped using laminated steel sheet, commonly referred to as sound deadened steel

2. The geometry of the hopper was modified by inserting a retrofit plate.

What was the sound reduction level?

Band frequencyThe overall noise from a typical hopper was reduced from 95dB(A)Leq down to 73dB(A)Leq under normal operating conditions; a 22dB(A) reduction as illustrated in figure 1. Not only was the noise reduced by a factor of 160 at very low cost, but the feed performance of the hopper was improved, providing a constant feed rate independent of the level of product in the hopper (the unmodified hoppers had a variable feed rate depending on the product level). The vibrator feed current was also reduced from 4 amps down to 0.8 amps for a similar feed rate.

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