Tube Feeders Inc.

Thin Connector (Air Jet) Feeder

The Thin Connector Feeders (TCFs) are designed to feed the general classification of connectors or headers where the width of the connector is small relative to the length of the connectors. These connectors are sometimes available packaged in extruded plastic tubes, and it is often desirable to feed the connectors directly from those tubes. Since the connectors are generally fairly long, not very many connectors will fit in each tube. For volume production, Horizontal Tube Feeders (HTFs), which contain a stack of tubes and automatically change out the empty tube, is the perferresd type of feeder. However, the HTFs are fairly large and usually are dedicated to only one or two connector packages. For low volume or prototype production, Thin Connector Feeders (TCFs) are available. In addition to feeding this connectors, track assemblies can be designed to feed many other small odd form components. The TCF has the advantage that they require less feeder space than HTFs, and they are not dedicated to a particular connector/tube. A Thin Connector Feeder is composed of two main parts, the Generic Thin Connector Feeder and the Track Assembly, which work together to feed the connectors. The Track Assembly is made specifically for the connector and tube to be fed. The Track Assembly is easily removed from the generic feeder and replaced with another Track Assembly that is made to feed a different connector.


High volume feeding from tube is best done using Horizontal Stacked Tube Feeders, but in the prototype of low volume production stage, feeding with the TCF has some attractive features:

  • The ability to quickly and easily change the feeder to feed a different component using the same Generic Base provides economy, effciency, and versatility
  • The TCF is a single lane feeder, taking only 2-3 feeder slots on the placement machine. On some placement machines, up to three TCFs will fit in the same feeder space as one HTF
  • The feeders may also be mounted to a workstation for manual PCB assembly. For manual PCB assembly, quality and reliability of the PCB assembly is enhanced and scrap is minimized because the delicate leads of each connector are protected until the connector is picked by the operator and placed on the PCB.