How's Your Short Game?

Let's review the advantages of spindle-length bar feeders.

While visiting shops throughout the country, I see the entire gamut of bar feeder options. Different shops not only have different requirements for their machines and applications, but also varying opinions of which bar feeder is right for a given situation. Choosing the right bar feeder requires careful consideration of productivity factors such as bar loading time and setup time, as well as part length and rpm requirements. Part quantities and cycle times should also affect the decision, along with the amount of untended machining that is desired.

One of the biggest differences in bar feeders is length. Will a short, spindle-length bar feeder do the job, or is a 12-foot (or longer) capacity bar feeder more suitable? The material utilization advantages provided by the capacity of the longer bar feeders vividly demonstrate this design’s strengths, particularly for untended operations. The advantages of the short bar feeders are often overshadowed. Here is a list of some of the factors for which short bar feeders can provide an advantage.

  • Faster change-over and better material handling facilitate short-run work that requires frequent setup changes.
  • Shorter bar lengths reduce whip and vibration, allowing higher rpm and often providing better dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
  • The smaller units require less floor space and generally are less expensive.


For a thorough discussion of the factors that need to be considered when choosing a bar feeder, read “The Long And Short Of Bar Feeder Selection.” More detail of the advantages a short bar feeder can bring to a shop can be found in “Why Short Magazine Bar Loaders Are Efficient.” Once you’ve given careful consideration to which type of bar feeder will serve your needs best, try our Bar Feed Selector for a list of suppliers who can meet your exact bar feed criteria.

Editor Pick

Why Short Magazine Bar Loaders Are Efficient

So when are long bars and hydraulic magazine barfeeders justified? Typically, the best applications for long bar magazine feeders are found when production quantities are large (where the batch size exceeds 5,000) or when the workpiece is over 8 inches long and there are relatively few changeovers (one every 2 weeks or so). In most other cases, short barfeeders usually tend to be more efficient and a better investment. But let's analyze the reasons and find out why.