Feeding: Micro Feeder Allows Pellet-By-Pellet Dosing
TrueFeed Micro Feeder from Conair designed for ultra-low doses—less than five pellets/sec.
The new TrueFeed Micro Feeder from Conair can count and dispense standard and micro pellets on an individiual basis. This precision feeding can apply to small injection molded parts and laboratory or filament extruders, as well as for dosing and blending ultra-low doses of highly concentrated additives.
The ability to dose less than 5 pellets per second comes from the TrueFeed’s patented sensing and dosing technology, according to Conair. Users input the number of pellets per gram into the TrueFeed Micro controller, together with the required dosing (in grams), calculated production rate, and operating mode (injection molding, extrusion, or batch), and the Micro Feeder automatically creates the required dosing profile. Standard or micro pellets are captured on the feeder’s proprietary dosing wheel, where they are optically counted using a light signal and dispensed, with accuracy to a single pellet.
TrueFeed Micro Feeders feature an 8-inch multi-function touchscreen HMI control with graphical interface. One control can operate one or two feeders. Two Micro Feeders can work together, or one Micro Feeder can be paired with a larger, standard TrueFeed feeder.
In addition to feeding molding applications with small shot sizes or delivering material to small-scale extruders used in laboratories, 3-D filaments or pharmaceutical production, Conair says the Micro Feeder also fits batching applications where pellet dosage rates are lower than those that can be accurately weighed and dispensed by existing TrueFeed products.
Conair notes that processors could use the feeders to blend highly concentrated additives into their own material blends instead of purchasing custom compounded materials. The dispensing technology in the Micro Feeder can dispense both standard and micro pellets, while the weighing cylinder used in larger TrueFeed feeders is limited to handling standard pellets or granulated/powdered materials.
TrueFeed Micro Feeders feature 3D-printed metal-powder construction and a compact design, measuring less than 8 inches (200 mm) in length. Standard models are equipped with a clear, top-mounted material hopper, suited for hand feeding. The system can also be equipped with a mini loader sitting atop the hopper and connected to an air supply. Micro Feeders may also be configured and ordered with customized, 3D-printed base dimensions to fit with other production equipment.
Visitors to the recent NPE 2009 show in Chicago were looking for materials handling equipment that could do more than dry, blend, or convey resins. It had to do those things while saving energy, providing faster and easier maintenance, speeding product changeovers, reducing labor cost, minimizing waste, and providing better value for money. The new products cited below addressed those needs and more.
Accuracy is one of the least understood aspects of blending. The differences between batch and continuous blenders, how blend accuracy is calculated and controlled, which blender type is more accurate, how much accuracy is really required, and how payback is calculated are discussed here.
Even the tiniest improvements in compounding feeder accuracy can improve profits. Here’s how to keep your feeding system in the pink.