Optimal curved fences for part alignment on a belt

M. Brokowski, M. Peshkin, K. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


In automated packing or assembly it is often necessary to bring randomly oriented parts into uniform alignment. Mechanical methods such as vibratory bowl feeders are often used for this purpose, although there is no theory for the systematic design of such feeders. A slanted “fence” attached to the stationary sides of a conveyor belt is also capable of orienting a stream of parts and a sequence of such fences has been shown [17] to function as a systematically designable linear parts feeder. A limitation offence alignment is that once a part has left contact with a fence, its final orientation is confined to a narrow range of angles but is not unique. Here we consider the design of a single fence, consisting of a straight slanted section followed by an optimal curved tail. The straight section selectivity aligns certain edges of the part, while the curved tail preserves this alignment precisely as the part leaves contact with the fence. We have found the shortest tail which guarantees alignment. Optimal curved fences may be used individually for alignment of parts on a conveyor belt. They also lend themselves to systematic design of multi-fence linear parts feeders [8], [17].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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