To replace the DIY surface mount component feeder used on the pick and place part posts, I was able to source 11 x 8mm Panasonic Ratchet Type Component Feeders (part no 10488BD059, specification 8WX4P Emboss) from eBay for £20 each.
We had originally planned to make our own component feeders and have the various cogs and parts laser cut but the cost of materials to build our own was a lot more than the cost to buy the second-hand Panasonic feeders.
Before and after photos showing the much smaller size of the modified feeder and the addition of the manual activation handle (blue)
New mounting frame setup.
The commercial feeders were much too long and high to use on our pick and place machine so we modified the feeders to reduce the height by trimming the excess flat stainless steel from the reel holder and then shortened the entire feeder section by approx. 17cm. This required milling of the back of the feeder assembly to fit the reel holder and also trimming the base to fit around the square frame of the pick and place machine.
The photo shows the before and after of 2 feeders with an area removed to fit around the square frame.
A new frame was added to the pick and place machine and the feeders clamp using their original fixings onto a rail as shown below:
Once the frame had been shortened we added a new activation lever to the existing mechanism and changed the return spring to keep the component access area open rather than closed as it was originally designed.
The component feeder mechanism shows waste spool and return springs.
The modification process was repeated for the remaining 10 feeders and then all were tested on the pick and place machine.
Future upgrades planned are to add either electric or air control for the dispensing of the components via push-button control.