Is Variable Speed Milk Pump Worth it

aidan

Member
Location
Ireland
Had local dairy engineer around the other day due to coolant leaking on milk tank compressor. After fixing that he started the machine for a quick look see. Its a 10unit Alfa Laval parlour. He then announced the double diaphram milk pump was dying. Its a DE15 Flowmax International New Zealand. Its not the bearing they are all perfect, there is a tick out of it when it comes under load.

Anyone ever rebuilt one, Ill guess the answer is not.

As double diaphram pumps are semi obsolete, we will be looking at Electric Milk Pump. For those who dont have variable speed - how do you throttle back the milk flow. No way could you have enough water to cope with the flowrate from the electric milk pump.

For variable speed milk pump I guess the level probe in the 10gallon milk Jar at the front of the pit is different for variable speed, and this is the expensive bit.

Is variable speed worth it after all that
 

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Dead Rabbits

Member
Location
'Merica
If you don’t run variable speed your plate cooler does not work as well. I can’t see how restricting would be good for the pump but probably could to a certain degree but would have to be free flow for wash.

A variable speed pump needs three phase power(ideally), the different float and a controller. If you are decent with electricity and really patient with used parts sourcing you could probably install yourself for well under 1k. Otherwise it’s probably 5 times that to have a new system installed. Different country so wouldn’t know all your prices. It’s not super complicated if you are into that kind of thing.
 
If you don’t run variable speed your plate cooler does not work as well. I can’t see how restricting would be good for the pump but probably could to a certain degree but would have to be free flow for wash.

A variable speed pump needs three phase power(ideally), the different float and a controller. If you are decent with electricity and really patient with used parts sourcing you could probably install yourself for well under 1k. Otherwise it’s probably 5 times that to have a new system installed. Different country so wouldn’t know all your prices. It’s not super complicated if you are into that kind of thing.
3 phase isn’t essential as such, my dairy engineer makes his own variable speed control units with the use of an inverter so they can be run on a single phase supply.
Cost wasn’t that much, sub £500 10 years ago but that was just for the control unit, sounds like the OP would need a new receiver vessel and pump too
 

aidan

Member
Location
Ireland
If you don’t run variable speed your plate cooler does not work as well. I can’t see how restricting would be good for the pump but probably could to a certain degree but would have to be free flow for wash.

A variable speed pump needs three phase power(ideally), the different float and a controller. If you are decent with electricity and really patient with used parts sourcing you could probably install yourself for well under 1k. Otherwise it’s probably 5 times that to have a new system installed. Different country so wouldn’t know all your prices. It’s not super complicated if you are into that kind of thing.

3 phase isn’t essential as such, my dairy engineer makes his own variable speed control units with the use of an inverter so they can be run on a single phase supply.
Cost wasn’t that much, sub £500 10 years ago but that was just for the control unit, sounds like the OP would need a new receiver vessel and pump too

I cant see how it should cost much more than 1k actually. Its 500euro for an inverter for 0.5kw motor, and then 500 euro for a float. Any standard inverter should do, ABB or Siemens or the likes.

Im good at the manuals, v good in fact, I spend a lot of time at electrial drawings figuring out what is going on.

What type of a level sensor would you recommend, 4-20mAmp or 0-10v. Google didn't pull up a huge selection of these automatically. Is there a need for analogue float or is a float with 3 levels and switches good enough. I need a level sensor 500mm long.

Inverter should have the powersupply built in for this I would be hoping.
 
Beyond my level of expertise but I’m pretty sure my float has 3 level switches, bottom being on/off , middle being to go from slow pump to fast pump as the receiver gets towards full..........actually can’t think if/why there is another level
 

aidan

Member
Location
Ireland
Beyond my level of expertise but I’m pretty sure my float has 3 level switches, bottom being on/off , middle being to go from slow pump to fast pump as the receiver gets towards full..........actually can’t think if/why there is another level

thanks for the info, any idea what part number is on your level switch please, it would be v helpful
 

jamj

Member
Location
Down
Any of the suppliers should do a probe with 3 micro switches built in. They are low voltage.
Iirc I paid about £500 for probe and control box. That was just for on/off switching as I don't have variable speed pump, but from post above it would seem that probe is the same.
 
Never ever thought aboout a diaphragm milk pump to supply a plate cooler . Seems a perfect solution to a problem that has made me think several times of getting my brother in law to fit the second hand variable milk pump ,in place of the standard one we have that has a choke valve on it !
He hates me choking the milk off ,cites butterfying the milk and wrecking the seals :X3: but I persist , as its the only way I can get that extra few degrees off the plate coolers , apart from speeding up water flow or getting colder water !
So an inverter would do for us ,because we are single phase , but I like the idea of the more constant gentle flow you would get from a diaphragm pump .
We still have our old Fullwood single diaphragm pump in the loft but that wont be any good any more even thought I can recall putting new copper bearings in it ,and new rubber plates :p

Only joking , I see those diaphragm pumps arent made any more ! Must be rare as hens teeth?

Mind you ,just think of the extra vacuum you'll have when you get rid of it


Good luck
 
Last edited:

aidan

Member
Location
Ireland
3 phase isn’t essential as such, my dairy engineer makes his own variable speed control units with the use of an inverter so they can be run on a single phase supply.
Cost wasn’t that much, sub £500 10 years ago but that was just for the control unit, sounds like the OP would need a new receiver vessel and pump too

A picture of your setup and control box would be worth 1000words if you have time
 

Cookie

Member
Location
Cheshire
I gave up with our variable speed milk pump controller last year and went back to a standard box. No noticeable difference tbh, the bulk tank is usually off within 30 mins of the end of milking. Variable speed on the vacc pumps is worth doing however.
 
I gave up with our variable speed milk pump controller last year and went back to a standard box. No noticeable difference tbh, the bulk tank is usually off within 30 mins of the end of milking. Variable speed on the vacc pumps is worth doing however.

I've done just the same. Our parlour fitters couldn't fit a solenoid on the water side of the plate cooler with the variable rate controller. They kept saying it was possible but they never managed it because it never dropped its output to 0.0 volts so we had to have low rate water running through the plate cooler for the whole milking.

Now we have a solenoid control on the water we have 10bar, 200litres+/min going through the cooler and the milk is cooling faster than before

I also wasn't happy that our parlour fitters were knowledgeable enough about the ABB unit. They would sub out any work to a specialist electrician but they didn't offer any weekend/night time/bank holiday cover.
 

Dead Rabbits

Member
Location
'Merica
I've done just the same. Our parlour fitters couldn't fit a solenoid on the water side of the plate cooler with the variable rate controller. They kept saying it was possible but they never managed it because it never dropped its output to 0.0 volts so we had to have low rate water running through the plate cooler for the whole milking.

Now we have a solenoid control on the water we have 10bar, 200litres+/min going through the cooler and the milk is cooling faster than before

I also wasn't happy that our parlour fitters were knowledgeable enough about the ABB unit. They would sub out any work to a specialist electrician but they didn't offer any weekend/night time/bank holiday cover.
So instead of running a constant water supply it shuts off and on with the pump? Have not heard of this. I tried to avoid having a vfd but it just would not work no matter how I tried to set it. Especially with 2 pumps.

That is a problem with controllers. It’s not always a matter of getting any old controller either. If you electrician is not familiar with the controller or a dealer for them he may not be willing to work on them. In my case the electrician is more reliable and helpful than the dairy guys so I try to keep him happy and get the brand he is familiar with.
 
So instead of running a constant water supply it shuts off and on with the pump? Have not heard of this. I tried to avoid having a vfd but it just would not work no matter how I tried to set it. Especially with 2 pumps.

That is a problem with controllers. It’s not always a matter of getting any old controller either. If you electrician is not familiar with the controller or a dealer for them he may not be willing to work on them. In my case the electrician is more reliable and helpful than the dairy guys so I try to keep him happy and get the brand he is familiar with.
I wanted to have our cooling water on a booster pump which would turn on as the milk pump fired up,then off a few seconds after it shut down.
We just decided to let the water run through at the pumped rate and collect for drinking ,washing down. Our water supply allows this ,whereas its a problem for others who maybe wish to collect the warmed water for boilers calf feeding etc ! (I also dont like the thought of it being a breeding ground for bacteria if handled stored wrongly )

I found it can be an obsessive train of thought ,so opted for the cheapest and least technical way for ours - by choking the milk off with a ball lever valve with some weld dabbed on the lever to ensure its always shut just enough and not too much which means that we dont have the variable milk pump either because my bro in law never gets around to fitting it :)
 

Triangle

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Dorset
Fitted a fullwood vari speed control to a fp66 its perfect 3 levels during milk rarley goes faster than low can set the speeds to suit your pipe runs and plate coolers and wash is full bore on all levels to aid warter return works perfectly dont know if it saves much money as thats dependent on your plate cooling set up ours is a bit complex as we needed a ice bank for a while and got by, milk pump control came in 3 days ice bank was 4 months milk buyer was on our back and every little helped with the threat of we will pick up when we like if its over 5 degrees even by point 1 dump it we wont be back so it was paid for to save that even half a degree at end of milking was worth it cant remember actual figures memory says a few degrees hate the idear of a choke valve with a passion i have intagrated controlls in to our ice bank we now have mains plate cooler and vol wash plate cooler and ice bank verry happy just put pump on milk all handles its self starts everything on first milk pumped and mains for however meny seconds after pump stops ice bank and submersibels for vol wash warter plate cooler system stay on not to upset the motors i love it as i cant forget to turn anything on can even slightly over run pump for wash all together love it once i intagrated it but then i can be a tinkerer with a love for electrics
 
Fitted a fullwood vari speed control to a fp66 its perfect 3 levels during milk rarley goes faster than low can set the speeds to suit your pipe runs and plate coolers and wash is full bore on all levels to aid warter return works perfectly dont know if it saves much money as thats dependent on your plate cooling set up ours is a bit complex as we needed a ice bank for a while and got by, milk pump control came in 3 days ice bank was 4 months milk buyer was on our back and every little helped with the threat of we will pick up when we like if its over 5 degrees even by point 1 dump it we wont be back so it was paid for to save that even half a degree at end of milking was worth it cant remember actual figures memory says a few degrees hate the idear of a choke valve with a passion i have intagrated controlls in to our ice bank we now have mains plate cooler and vol wash plate cooler and ice bank verry happy just put pump on milk all handles its self starts everything on first milk pumped and mains for however meny seconds after pump stops ice bank and submersibels for vol wash warter plate cooler system stay on not to upset the motors i love it as i cant forget to turn anything on can even slightly over run pump for wash all together love it once i intagrated it but then i can be a tinkerer with a love for electrics
:X3: ;) Did you pause for a breath of air during that?
Good stuff
 

onesiedale

Member
Location
Derbyshire
For a 10 unit parlour a vs pump sounds like a big investment. In our old parlour, we simply put a stainless ball valve in line to restrict milk flow through the plate cooler. During milking valve half shut, When on wash down valve was open.
Worked great 👍
 

jondear

Member
Location
Devon
Had ours for two years definitely worth it .Using same milk pump just a new 3 phase motor and a control box Has a couple floats and a switch to pump full speed .Linked to solenoid so starts and stops before pump .Milk just trickles through
 

aidan

Member
Location
Ireland
Had ours for two years definitely worth it .Using same milk pump just a new 3 phase motor and a control box Has a couple floats and a switch to pump full speed .Linked to solenoid so starts and stops before pump .Milk just trickles through


What type of float do you have, a selection in the link above

I guess you have the big SS jar, 50gal receiver
 

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