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    Default Feeder ideas for bricks

    This a bit of different material handling scenario, but there are lots of smart types here from many industries so maybe someone can help.

    Picture a hopper that has a skid load of blocks dumped into it, 3 x 6 x 12" @ 30lbs each and some could be broken.

    The challenge is to come with something that will feed them one at a time onto a conveyor. HAS to be one at a time. I've talked to some bowl feeder engineers and its to heavy for anything they can do.

    Any machines or approaches or ideas you can think of for this?

    Thanks

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    Some being broken could complicate things but I suspect (yes, I'm guessing) that flipping them on edge first might make it easier to feed one at a time.

    My suggestion? find something roughly equivalent but on a smaller scale (bars of soap?) and try shaking things like cardboard mockups to see how they behave.

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    If you have lots and lots of money, I saw a similar demonstration with a FANUC (I think) robot with a vision system. It picked up domino sized pieces off a pile, but it was a small robot, so a larger robot might be able to do yours.

    For a mechanical system, pulling them out with a steeply inclined belt with appropriately-sized shelves on it might work. Unfortunately, most mechanical systems for getting one of something rely on dropping all the ones that aren't in the correct orientation back into the pile (a vibratory bowl works like this as well). This would lead to even more broken bricks.

    Do you have to dump them into the hopper? Picking blocks straight off the pallet should be easy.

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    thanks, we design build bulk material handing equipment and the given requirements are from the customer.

    Its recycling of the bricks so I don't think it matters that they are broken and also probably means a robot is out, budget wise (although one of our young engineer's face lit up at the prospect)

    You make a good point that these system are based on dumping incorrectly oriented piece back in. We thought a bowl might work and called to a bowl company engineer, but they felt that the size of vibratory bowl feeder would prohibitive for pieces this size and weight. The bowl of course has the great advantage that dumping back into itself is fine. Perhaps a straight line vibratory conveyor that knocked off out of place bricks into a trough that then were taken back into the hopper by a cleated belt conveyor might work. Adds another conveyor to i, more complexity and cost.

    The other idea is to waterfall it - several short vibratory conveyors dumping onto the next, with each subsequent one running a bit faster. It spaces things out so after the last one you could have just one at a time coming off it.

    Still thinking....

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    Bowl is secondary, make a feeder to slowly feed bowl, to keep bowl working
    with a smaller load.

    I would suggest a vibrating conveyor, screen in bottom to get rid of
    undersized junk.

    You might also try inclining part of the conveyor, and have rails for the brick
    to align (fall into) and continue up to end.

    Sort of a linear feeder bowl.

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    We have used inclined lugged conveyors to descramble and orient all kinds of shapes (of much smaller weight and density) out of a hopper. We have laser sensors aimed across the path of the conveyor that sense improperly sized / oriented shapes and then mechanically remove items of the wrong dimension to a scrap chute and items that pass go to the top of the conveyor and are transferred to a take-away conveyor.

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    Sounds like a fun project.

    I'd thought of the multiple conveyors option, but that would take a lot of space and I was envisioning more of a mobile system to deliver bricks to the mason on-site.

    I think you could get away with two, maybe three, belts. The first is inclined with 2" deep shelves on it, ~17" apart. It picks up bricks. If they're on edge, they fall off. When they get to the top, it drops on a belt running at 90 degrees, this solves the problem of having two next to each other. If you absolutely positively need them one at a time, add a third faster belt.

    The robot would be pretty cool. Because you have the vision system, I'll bet you could even sort the bricks and have two conveyors, one for good bricks and one for broken bricks. It's probably a half million dollar system though. Although things have gotten a lot cheaper on the 3D vision processing side, so who knows

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    Many years ago I saw something along the line of what you want. Memory is hazy but what I remember was a sloped ramp that fed bricks down
    to a narrow belt--probably the width of a brick standing on edge. There was a vertical fence on the side opposite the ramp and on the ramp side
    a series of guide rails to direct the bricks on to the belt. The belt alternated direction, advancing about two feet and then reversing about half that
    distance. I think this allowed bricks that had doubled up to be swept off the bottom row by guide rails. The last thing I remember was a
    hydraulic (or possibly air) operated knife or splitter bar that popped up right beside the belt. I think its purpose was to tip the bricks up on edge.

    I can't remember what the machine did with the bricks but I know that they came out of the back end of the machine in a neat row, just like bales
    of hay coming out of a baler...

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    more googling....found this vibratory bowl that is cleverly designed, we'd need something a lot heavier.

    Podmores wooden block orientating bowl feeder - YouTube


    One of our guys had an idea that might hole some promise.....and be simple: a rotating drum on an angle with helix inside the thickness of a brick....sort of along the lines of an Archimedes screw but hollow.....like the wood one above more than one brick thick and it falls back into the middle
    Last edited by Mcgyver; 02-26-2018 at 04:00 PM.

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    I'm accustomed to vibratory bowls feeding parts more easily weighed in grams than ounces. A vibratory feeder for 30lb stone slabs puts me in mind of a full-size cement mixer or ball mill. Also: abrasive and crumbly!

    You might look at centerboard feeder designs, as an alternative to vibratory feeders, although trying to lift the centerboard through a pile of oversized bricks remains a challenge!

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    Thinking on this, like they were normal sized bricks.

    If you have a 3" wide vibrating grizzly, you have 2 conditions in which they will
    fall thru.

    12" tall
    6" tall


    12" tall, as they progress linearly, they can pass under a 6 1/2" high
    bar, that would knock them over.

    However, as they stream down the line, knocking them down, there would
    not be any room in the channel, as the next one is jammed up tight behind it.

    Hence the "Prefeeder" to slowly feed the grizzly, and then underneath,
    the linear conveyor with rails (3 1/2" apart) having a slow vibe,
    to keep them from bunching up too much.
    Last edited by digger doug; 02-27-2018 at 05:26 AM.

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    great ideas gents, thank you, and keep them coming.

    We bounced around the grizzly idea, but how do you stop it from jamming/bridging? Maybe very slowly feed it? Current plan is its starts with the hopper, below it will make a vibratory feeder (belt would rip). We can control its speed somewhat, but you have to a have big opening so it doesn't jam, so it still might be challenging to prevent a lot of bricks hitting the grizzly at a time

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    You mentioned the bricks are being recycled. Does that mean they will be clean of mortar or not? Recycled bricks are often less than uniform in size.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    thanks, we design build bulk material handing equipment and the given requirements are from the customer.

    Its recycling of the bricks so I don't think it matters that they are broken and also probably means a robot is out, budget wise (although one of our young engineer's face lit up at the prospect)

    You make a good point that these system are based on dumping incorrectly oriented piece back in. We thought a bowl might work and called to a bowl company engineer, but they felt that the size of vibratory bowl feeder would prohibitive for pieces this size and weight. The bowl of course has the great advantage that dumping back into itself is fine. Perhaps a straight line vibratory conveyor that knocked off out of place bricks into a trough that then were taken back into the hopper by a cleated belt conveyor might work. Adds another conveyor to i, more complexity and cost.

    The other idea is to waterfall it - several short vibratory conveyors dumping onto the next, with each subsequent one running a bit faster. It spaces things out so after the last one you could have just one at a time coming off it.

    Still thinking....
    This probably isn't applicable but if it doesn't matter if the bricks get broken what is stopping you from breaking them into manageable pieces first?

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    A rotary feed would work, the net has 200 kg per part.units.
    That said, I think multiple linear in a waterfall make the most sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDegenhart View Post
    You mentioned the bricks are being recycled. Does that mean they will be clean of mortar or not? Recycled bricks are often less than uniform in size.

    Tom
    Yes, its actually refractory bricks, they'll be clean is my understanding or least without mortar jutting out, might be in pieces, but nothing larger than 3x6x12

    That said, I think multiple linear in a waterfall make the most sense to me.
    yeah, it just start to be a lot of equipment and as recycling op its probably cost sensitive; i.e the 1/2 million Fanuc isn't going to fly. I was just hoping for some cheap silver bullet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    yeah, it just start to be a lot of equipment and as recycling op its probably cost sensitive; i.e the 1/2 million Fanuc isn't going to fly. I was just hoping for some cheap silver bullet.
    Naw....couple of linear vibrating trough conveyors, set at adjustable angles
    (probably an electric screw jack to adjust with pushbutton "on the fly") to tune
    both the vibration, and the tilt angle.

    Second conveyor has rails on it to hold the 3" width.

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    I dunno, Mcgyve .... two of these'd be cheaper and probly do a better job :


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    Digger beat me to it. I was thinking about processing ear corn that's going to be used for seed and how the husking rolls orient the ears lengthwise.

    Then I stumbled on a video that was using a vibrating trough and optical sensor to sort the ears. Ignore the optical sensor part of it and skip to 0:34 of the video and you might get some ideas.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TKNATqfPLNc

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    Something on the order of this?


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