The first of three robotic work-cells that bond rare-earth magnets as part of a motor assembly process. This cell included a dual-magnet feeder, and a robot to pick the magnets from a nest, apply glue, and then place the magnets on the substrate.
As the first attempt at feeding rare earth magnets, the feeding principle usesa typical bottom-push coin feeder principle to strip the magnets off a stack. The magnets are then tested for polarity, and blow fed to the pick nest, where they are pushed into the pick position.
This concept worked surprisingly well, but the concept proved troublesome over time due to wear on the feed track fromt the magnets. To make the blow feeding concept work, the feed tracks were made out of aluminum, and anodized with a hard coat for protection. Unfortunately, the hard coat, like a hard candy coating, doesn't really protect the aluminum from impact damage, which ultimately led to surface failure.
Subsequent feeding approachs for rare earth magnets switched from blow feeding to a walking beam approach. This proved to have much better serviceability, as the impact problem was eliminated, and a hardened steel could be utilized.