A vibratory feeder is a device that uses vibration to “feed” material to a process or machine. Vibratory feeders use both vibration and gravity to move material. Gravity is used to determine the direction, either down, or down and to a side, and then vibration is used to move the material. The material is almost always a dry material that unlike a liquid, may not move down an incline without some assistance from the vibration effect.
A common vibratory feeder is cone shaped. The material bulk is delivered in an uncontrolled fashion into the top of the feeder and a controlled delivery of the material comes from the bottom of the feeder. An example would be a pill bottling system. A large batch of pills is dumped into the top of the vibratory feeder. Gravity will pull the pills toward the bottom of the feeder where they can exit one at a time so that they can be counted. Once the correct number is in the container, the feed is stopped until a new bottle is placed in position. In this way bottles can be filled automatically by machine with the correct number of pills in each bottle. The vibration in the vibratory feeder ensures that pills keep moving towards the exit into the bottle without becoming congested.
If you have ever poured sand through a funnel at the beach, and had to tap the funnel to keep the sand flowing you have experienced how a vibratory feeder works first hand. Another common use for a vibratory feeder is to deliver material at a steady rate from an irregular supply. In an automated cement mixing operation, a bulldozer could feed a vibratory feeder with irregular loads of raw material which is then delivered to the process at a steady rate by the feeder.
The vibratory feeder comes in many shapes and sizes but all use the same principle, which is to feed bulk material in at the top in a uncontrolled fashion and take material out at the bottom at a controlled and steady rate.