There are many uses for the portable milking machine:
Downer cows that are in an isolation box and cannot access the normal milking machine
The house cow
Goats or sheep being milked every day
Taking your prize cow to win the cup at a show
The Dairy Spares portable milker has its own vacuum system, pulsation, milk reception/storage and milking equipment, all on a frame that can be easily transported and used wherever the animal is situated. The transport frames are mainly hot dipped galvanised or painted (other suppliers are plastic coated).
The vacuum pump is driven by a motor connected to the local mains electric supply, electric provided by a portable generator (a preferred option if no electric) or belt driven from a petrol/diesel engine attached to the portable frame (these can be cumbersome).
Models available from Dairy Spares are manufactured on wheeled frames that allow the user to safely wheel the machine to the animal, where they can milk 1 or 2 animals at the same time depending on the model chosen.
There are 2 types of vacuum pump, a conventional lubricated pump or dry run pumps with graphite vanes. Dry run pumps must NEVER have lubrication applied to the inside of the vacuum pump, these pumps are lubricated by the graphite vanes passing over the internal surfaces.
The Dairy Spares machines are well balanced to permit stable transport over uneven ground when they are fully laden following milking.
Dry run pumps must never be put away when damp should be stored in a dry environment. Immediately after washing it is better to run the pump for a short time with the bucket turned off to warm the pump through and dry any moisture carried over from the washing process. During a period of time when the portable milker is not required both oiled and dry run machines benefit from being briefly run on a regular basis to help prevent vanes and rotors sticking or corroding.
Each Dairy Spares machine will have a gauge to display the vacuum level, a regulator to adjust the vacuum level and a pulsator. The pulsator is pneumatic and operates from the vacuum supply; it is important that the operator realises that the pulsation speed depends on the vacuum level. It is therefore important to set and regularly check the vacuum level and pulsation rate. Care must also be taken to minimise the amount of air that is admitted via the teat cups while the cluster is being applied to the animal, as it is easy for the operator to think the pulsator is not working properly until the vacuum has returned to the correct operating level.
The Dairy Spares machines provide a tube support for each cluster to minimise vacuum losses through slippage and promote correct cluster positioning.
If the animal is normally milked in a milking parlour as much attention as possible should be paid to minimising any differences. If vacuum, pulsation and liners are similar enough to the parlour it will help to reduce further stress on the animal.
While milking or washing it is vitally important that the bucket is not allowed to overfill, allowing liquid to enter the vacuum tank and if not careful then into the vacuum pump itself.
The Dairy Spares goat and sheep milking clusters have semi-automated valves below the liners to permit the vacuum to be contained until the cup and liner is applied to the teat. Care is needed when washing as these valves have different settings for milking and washing.
As with all equipment routine maintenance is essential. With portable milker’s it is important to ensure that all liners, gaskets and tubing are maintained in good condition. The vacuum supply tube from the machine to the buckets and the inside of the vacuum tank itself will require regular inspection and cleaning using a tube brush where necessary. Occasional inspection by a qualified milking machine engineer is advisable to ensure optimum performance is obtained. Milking liners will need to be changed every 2500 milking’s or every 6 months whichever comes first.
If washed, stored and maintained properly the Dairy Spares portable milking machines are extremely reliable, surprisingly quiet and provide a very valuable piece of equipment to both large farms and home users.