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What is a Rotary Feeder?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn

A rotary feeder is a kind of industrial machine that is made for adding bulk materials into a production process. Rotary feeders are most often used with large amounts of solid material that gets added into a system in portions. Rotary feeders that portion out materials are called volumetric feeders.

Rotary feeders are also called rotary airlock feeders or rotary valve machines. A rotary feeder valve might provide for air handling, or keep pollutants out of the system. Many rotary feeder machines are made from cast iron, steel or other durable metal materials.


The power that drives these rotary feeder machines can be from an internal combustion engine or an electrical motor. Companies looking at changing their energy use can replace internal combustion engines with electrical engines for these kinds of equipment setups. A variety of rotary feeders are built differently for different tasks.

Blow-through rotary feeders are conveying machines that use pressure to implement the passage of material. These are often pneumatic machines. They can provide a lot of power with specific industrial design items like outboard bearings and heavy duty shafts.

Other machines called rotary vane feeders have radial vanes that help control the flow of materials. These are often placed on a horizontal plane, within a cylindrical structure. There are also different types of mounted rotary feeders, where table style feeders provide easy installation on a bench type structure.

Although rotary feeders are most often used with bulk materials like wheat, ground stone, cement, minerals, coffee, or other similar items, some machines that handle single metal parts can carry the designation of rotary feeders. Industrial managers might call these machines rotary feeders if they convey the single parts through a process that includes a spinning cylindrical component that helps sort the materials. Some of these machines have a vibration design that allows for volumetric distribution.

Rotary feeders are part of the evolution of automated industrial processes that allow for an impressive variety of production or processing without a lot of human labor. Industrial managers and business leaders look at how to integrate rotary feeder machines into a conveyor equipment setup for the most efficient handling of raw materials. Automating this kind of process can increase production and decrease cost, according to the cost and availability of labor. Businesses are likely to continue investing in this type of equipment for automating many production tasks.

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