General Industries

A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best Fit Screw Feeding System

November 24, 2023

When it comes to optimizing productivity and efficiency in assembly processes, selecting the right screw-feeding system is crucial.

With numerous manufacturers and a variety of options available, making an informed decision can be challenging.

This article will provide an educational and informative guide to help clients understand the key factors and steps involved in choosing the best fit screw-feeding system. By considering factors such as speed, flexibility, reliability, ease of use, layout of line and support, clients can make a well-informed decision that aligns with their specific requirements.

1. Assessing application requirements: “Define your station.”

Before diving into the selection process, it is vital to evaluate the specific needs of your application. Consider the following questions when assessing your station:

  • What are the type and size of fasteners you need?
  • What is your production volume?
  • How does your process and layout look like?
  • What type of station is required: manual, automatic, or a combination?
  • How many units do you need to produce, and what is the expected production speed?
  • What is the takt time of the system?
  • What type of handling system do you prefer: XYZ system, XY system, robot, or co-bot or other?
  • Do you require flexibility for changing screwdrivers, or the type of screw used?
  • Who should be responsible for logic control, and what is the interface?
  • Who should be responsible for pneumatic control, and what is the interface?
  • Do you have any specific requirements, such as ESD compliance, clean room suitability, insulation, quick change capabilities, or data-driven functionalities?

"Consider the tightening direction as a crucial factor. Vertical down tightening is the easiest, but there are instances when you must tighten screws from the bottom-up, horizontally, or at an angle. Specific designs exist for these cases but be aware that they come with higher risks involved."
Yang Wang - Desoutter Product Marketing Manager

Different screw-feeding systems excel in various applications, and understanding your requirements will ensure a compatible match.

2. Researching Reliable Manufacturers

Begin by researching reputable screw-feeding system manufacturers. Look for companies with a proven track record, positive customer reviews, and extensive experience in the industry.

An additional benefit is a supplier offering both screw-feeding solutions and tightening tools. This provides you, as a user, with the advantage of receiving a turn-key solution that seamlessly integrates both components for a streamlined assembly process. Furthermore, having a single supplier for both systems simplifies preventive maintenance, as you can rely on one point of contact for any servicing or support needs. Manufacturers that offer a range of screw-feeding solutions demonstrate expertise and flexibility to cater to diverse customer needs.

3. Evaluating System Performance

Consider the performance capabilities of the screw-feeding system. Factors to assess include feeding speed, accuracy, and the ability to handle various screw sizes and types.

Look for features to prevent jamming or cross-threading such as:

  • Automatic screw size check
  • Quick reset from potential screw jam
  • Redundant designs to ensure the correct operation
  • Designs to prevent potential errors

It is crucial to choose a system that aligns with your desired production output while maintaining consistent quality.

4. Evaluating your screw

To ensure optimal performance, evaluate your screw based on key factors. Longer screws are ideal for auto-feeding, while shorter ones carry a higher risk of flipping and errors. If auto-feeding isn't feasible, consider a pick-and-place approach using vacuum tube methods, with vacuum tubes providing better screw detection. Customization options exist for high-speed auto-feeding of short screws but at a higher cost. Screw features like head shape, shaft type, and recess affect system design, where manufacturers provide specific adaptations. Discussing screw selection with manufacturers optimizes station performance and reduces errors. By evaluating these factors, choose the right screw-feeding system effectively.

"Here's a crucial tip: pay attention to interferences around tightening points. Basic screw feeders, known for their speed and simplicity, use a jaw to hold the screw. Ensure enough space for smooth jaw movement. If space is limited, consider vacuum feeders to bypass interferences. Keep in mind, vacuum feeders sacrifice some speed and simplicity. Also, consider the height of interferences when determining vacuum tube length, as longer tubes may present manufacturing challenges. Assess these factors for the best fit. Reach out if you need further guidance—We’re here to help!"
Yang Wang - Desoutter Product Marketing Manager

5. Analyzing Flexibility and Customization

Flexibility is key, as assembly processes may require adjustments or expansion over time. A reliable screw-feeding system should accommodate different screw types, sizes, and lengths. The ability to easily reconfigure the system for new applications or modify parameters like feeding speed and torque control can significantly enhance operational efficiency.

"One crucial aspect to address with your chosen partner is ensuring their commitment to assessing and confirming the part geometry. This step is essential for accurate screw shaft guidance, precise localization, and determining the optimal clamping area on the tooling."
Yang Wang - Desoutter Product Marketing Manager

6. Considering Ease of Use

An intuitive and user-friendly interface simplifies the operation and maintenance of the screw-feeding system. Look for features such as clear indicators, and easy adjustment mechanisms. Consider compatibility with existing assembly equipment and the availability of training and technical support to minimize downtime and facilitate a smooth integration process.

7. Assessing Reliability, Maintenance, and Seeking Technical Support

When selecting a screw-feeding system, it's crucial to consider both reliability and technical support. Look for a system built with durable materials and a proven track record of long-term performance, ensuring consistent and uninterrupted assembly line operations. Check the availability of spare parts throughout the whole life cycle. Evaluate maintenance requirements, prioritizing systems that offer ease of cleaning and routine servicing to minimize production downtime and associated costs.

Equally important is seeking a manufacturer with a global presence, providing comprehensive technical support and after-sales service. This global presence is crucial for several reasons, including the export of machines and the standardization of assembly lines across different countries. Choose a company that offers responsive customer support, troubleshooting assistance, and readily available spare parts. Timely and reliable assistance from the manufacturer's support team reduces downtime and helps maintain the efficiency of your assembly processes. By considering reliability, maintenance, and technical support, you can make an informed decision when selecting a screw-feeding system for your operations.

Choosing the best fit screw-feeding system requires careful consideration of several factors. By assessing application requirements, researching reputable manufacturers, evaluating system performance, analyzing flexibility and customization, considering ease of use, assessing reliability and maintenance, and seeking technical support, clients can make an informed decision. Investing time in the selection process will lead to improved productivity, optimized assembly processes, and ultimately, a more efficient and successful operation.