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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Question 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    What equipment would be best for an operation that has 500 production hives ?

    I looked at the Cowen line of extractors and setups, they are nice. 28 frame manual Cowen seems reasonable, except that is uses the 2 Jr spinners that I have heard so much bad about taking up too much time.

    I don't want to heat the honey above hive temperature.
    Anyone in the same boat as I am ? If so what did you decide and did it work out for you ?

    Right now I only have a Maxant 1400 10/20 framer and the Maxant 600-3 Bottling tank. We will have over 200 colonies by the end of this summer and I intend on increasing 40-50% each year until I get my numbers to 500. There is high demand for blueberry pollination and I would like to have at least 300-400 for rentals and the other 100-200 for honey and nuc sales.
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Shreveport Louisiana
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    44

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    I have the cowen 28 frame system and It has the cowen spinner not the two maxant spinners. The cappings spinner is the only downfall of the system. It slows you down because after about two barrels of honey it has to be cleaned out but it will need to spin longer to get the cappings clean. Therefore you have to stop till this happens. I actually think the two spinners may be a good thing. This machine has made my 400 colony one man operation a breeze. I couldn't think of using any other system

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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    182

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    I use a 28 frame cowen. In a 10 hour day with 2 people we do 100 boxes, about 5-6 drums of honey. I agree the cowen wax spinner is a bottle neck, but the uncapper outpaces the extractor 2-1. That uncapper could easy keep up to a 60 frame unit.
    Luke

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Herrick, SD USA
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    4,624

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    We used a Cowen cappings spinner in our large commercial operation for about 25 years. The original machine for 24 years and the "new and improved" version for one season before replacing it with a C&B system. We simply outgrew its capacity. The Cowen should be more than ample for a 500 hive operation as we were routinely running 2 drums an hour through them but they do take some tinkering. We had much better luck with the older machine after devising our own system of manually directing the cappings (and not letting them get too thick) into first the back, then the center, then all the way to the front. The hopper above the auger allowed you to store excess cappings as needed. By the time the front was full you can clean out the back third and redirect the flow accordingly. The key factors are always the warmth, moisture and clarity of the cappings going in. Some "tinkering" for sure but the secret is not to get greedy and try to put too much in it at a time, keep the cappings thin and they will dry quickly.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Thanks everyone. I will try to keep my eyes open for something next year, this year is not a good year to buy these major pieces of equipment.
    First thing is to get the Honey house built. Then see if the bank wants to lend us enough money to get the proper equipment for the job
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    6,602

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Cappings are always the challenge for just about every beekeeper you talk to. Let us know how you make out Ben

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Yes, I can see a need for a better method of separating honey and wax. The C+B works well, but is noisy. The old Fager press(2 SS flattop conveyor tracks that converged) was quiet, but did noit do as good a job as the spinner. Maybe it is time for me to test some of my crazy ideas.

    Crazy Roland

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    Yes, I can see a need for a better method of separating honey and wax. The C+B works well, but is noisy. The old Fager press(2 SS flattop conveyor tracks that converged) was quiet, but did noit do as good a job as the spinner. Maybe it is time for me to test some of my crazy ideas.

    Crazy Roland
    Love my C&B but at 15 grand + 10 for a heat exchanger and another 5 or so for the pump it all gets a bit spendy for many. The Maxant continuous at 10 grand and the claim of no additional heat needed sounds intriguing but if anyone has offered a first hand account of their experience with one I missed it. With any of these systems there is going to be at least some honey loss.
    Get on it Roland. The world will beat a path to your door.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  9. #9
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    I'm just about to use the spin float, looking forward to not skimming tanks.

    Just one thought... Of all the precission and high performance of this machine, that cappings discharge chute looks messy. I'm going to put a tub under to catch the wax cuttings, and build a pan next year.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I'm just about to use the spin float, looking forward to not skimming tanks.

    Just one thought... Of all the precission and high performance of this machine, that cappings discharge chute looks messy. I'm going to put a tub under to catch the wax cuttings, and build a pan next year.
    That's cause it is messy, I use a big tub. Definitely room for improvement here. Pat, at C&B told me they have tested some different collection systems but haven't hit on anything real workable. FWIW last year we had very little wax on our holding tanks. This year we have lots and lots already and we are just a little over 2 weeks in. Dry honey and cooler honey temps I guess are the biggest reason. Seems to be doing better now. I also was running the wax cake a bit thicker than I probably should have been. I recently put a pump activated solenoid switch on the water supply and it has really worked well at reducing the amount of water in the cappings.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  11. #11
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Pump activated water selenoid, meaning the water runs whenever the pumps do ? Awesome idea

  12. #12
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    Feb 2006
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    Herrick, SD USA
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Pump activated water selenoid, meaning the water runs whenever the pumps do ? Awesome idea
    Yes. Had an old refrigerator with ice maker and it dawned on me one day that the valve on the back was exactly what I needed to shut off the water flow when the pump isn't operating. Took a hot wire out of the pump a neutral out of the box, plumbed it after the pressure reduction and it works perfectly.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    289

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Love my C&B but at 15 grand + 10 for a heat exchanger and another 5 or so for the pump it all gets a bit spendy for many. The Maxant continuous at 10 grand and the claim of no additional heat needed sounds intriguing but if anyone has offered a first hand account of their experience with one I missed it. With any of these systems there is going to be at least some honey loss.
    Get on it Roland. The world will beat a path to your door.
    will let ya know how maxant spinner works,,, will know more in couple weeks
    AKA BEEMAN800

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Suchan View Post
    will let ya know how maxant spinner works,,, will know more in couple weeks
    Right on, please do. How many hives/honey do you plan to run through it?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Omaha, NE
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    289

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Dont know yet depends how full the boxes are. There are a couple peeps on here from florida that say they can run 20+ drum/day through theirs
    AKA BEEMAN800

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Ojai, California
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    1,084

    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    My buddy usually varies between 450 and 650 hives, and he uses 2 extractors holding 72 frames each. Hopefully, I'll be operating them in a couple of days, and get all the details all over my coveralls and in my head.

    As I think about this thread, I remember a post by LSPender in an thread from a few years ago saying that most commercial bee operations ran from 700 to 1,000 hives per person. You might consider erring on the side of a little bit more capacity than on the side of not enough. Even with a couple hundred hives less than capacity, a really good year could happen, and you'd be glad you had it, if your time is valuable, that is.

    You can also offer the extracting service to other beek's, if they'll pay a fair fee or % of their honey for your work. Just a consideration...not a recommendation

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Has anyone used the Paradise Honey wax press and are they just as good as a spinner or spin float? http://paradisehoney.net/en/honey-wax-press-system/
    I think propolis-etc is a dealer from what I have been told and their website is down right now. Just want to cover all of my options. I just have no clue if they are priced out of this world or not !

    Thanks
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    Default Re: 500 hive operation Honey extraction line

    Jim wrote:

    Get on it Roland. The world will beat a path to your door.

    I need to finish my all pneumatic(except the knives) uncapper, then comes the half finished 90 frame radial extractor, then the engine adapter/flywheel to mate a VW 6 cyl. Diesel to an Eaton Fuller 10 speed. Yup, I'm on it!!!


    Crazier than you thought Roland

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