A milking machine is an electric device that aids harvesting of milk from cows, goats or sheep's without milking by hand. There are three main types of milking machines namely; portable milking machines, barn milking machines and milking parlours.
Portable milking machines are simple to use and suitable for small herds. As the name suggests, they can easily be moved from one place to another. Barn milking machines are fixed in stalls where the cows stay. This means each stall has its own milking machine. Milking parlours are constructed and used in large farms. They are permanent structures constructed in different designs where the animals to be milked are taken in either in single file or in batches.
All milking systems regardless of the complexity contain these four major components;
Vacuum system - this system is made up of the vacuum pump, regulator and gauge. It's the system that ensures a vacuum is created and maintained at the test of the animal.
Cluster - this is the system that has the four teatcups which are attached to the four teats of the cow during milking.
Pulsator- the pulsator is a valve that ensures the liner opens and closes during milking for continuous flow of milk from the teats to the collecting vessel.
Receiver vessel - the receiver vessels have different capacities depending on the size of the milking machine. Besides collecting the milk, the vessels also help in separation of milk and air to aid in the flow. They are usually made of stainless steel and sometimes glass.
The milking machine process occurs during what is known as a pulsation cycle. This cycle ensures a constant vacuum is applied to the end of the teat thereby forcing the milk out of the udder. The pulsation cycle mimicks the suckling or a calf.
During the pulsation cycle, two things happen - the pulsator opens forcing milk out and then closes for the teat to rest. It is this opening and closing of the pulsator that ensures a continuous vacuum is applied at the teat to remove milk from the udder and ensure it moves through then system without clogging.
During the opening phase, pressure inside the liner of the pulsator drops way below the pressure of the streak canal of the udder. Atmospheric pressure helps to move the milk from the streak canal down to the liner. In the closed position, the pressure in the liner is higher which restores the pressure inside the streak canal in the udder. In the closed position, atmospheric pressure is restored in between the liner and shell eventually making the pulsator open again.
This process is repeated causing milk to move out of the teats continuously to the collecting vessel.
A milking machine ensures efficiency during milking of animals which saves time and labour costs. Milking machines have also been shown to milk animals sufficiently which increases yeilds in the long run. Cows that are not milked completely reduce milk production eventually which is why proper milking with a machine can help increase of maintain yields.
Contact us today for more information about milking machines and how they can enhance production in your dairy farm.