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Here’s a neat contraption: a vibrating conveyor that can move objects up a ramp without using a belt. I’m guessing that they employ some sort of slip-stick motion, which uses the difference between static and sliding friction to move an object along a surface. I’m not entirely sure what the advantage is over a regular conveyer (besides being cool), however a quick search shows that they can at least be used to sort materials of different sizes.

BrantH of the Milwaukee Makerspace is thinking about making one; anyone else play around with these? [via milwaukeemakerspace]


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Comments

  1. Platinumwolf says:

    The advantage is that it requires fewer moving parts – no belting to wear out or bearings or rollers.

  2. velvel says:

    I remember an old Fisher-Price toy from the 70s doing the same thing. I think it was a Sesame Street Clubhouse or something similar. I bet they used those mechanics on several toys.

  3. Josh Myer says:

    I remember when I first saw something like this, being used to line up plug gages on an assembly line (plug gages are really high-precision cylinders of steel used to measure the diameter of holes). It’s like magic.

    Here’s an okay video of a circular vibratory feeder; I’d love it if anyone had better videos to link to. They are, without a doubt, one of my favorite examples of applied randomness.

    (The best part is towards the end, when the stragglers start magically moving their way around the ramp.)

  4. kinderdm says:

    My father works as an engineer for a company that produces vibrating conveyors (among other things) on an industrial scale. They have been doing such business for as long as I can remember, at least 25 years. As I understand it these systems are very useful in applications that involve small items, which could be lodged in the moving parts of a traditional conveyor. They are also useful in the food and pharmaceutical industries where lubricant contamination could be a concern. A vibrating conveyor can be made from a solid piece of metal so that the parts that contact the product require no lubrication. They also lend themselves well to sterilization as there is no where that contaminants can hide.

  5. ranjit says:

    Here’s a project I did a few years back after reading an interesting research paper about this stuff.

    http://vimeo.com/93028
    http://www.moonmilk.com/milky/projects/art-machines/sd1/

  6. Ryan Cousineau says:

    I saw a vibrating conveyer table in a recent brewery tour. Empty cans were placed on the table in front of the filling line. The table shook a big hodgepodge of cans into place and got them to go into a chute single file so they could under the filling taps.

    It works well because in that case, hand-loading the empty cans onto the table from flats was not a precision job, and cans are really light, and need to stay open-end up.

  7. A very reliable conveyor, indeed. It can be used for smaller stuff. Really useful for food industries and pharmaceuticals.