Commercial Only: auto pricker frame splitter upgrade

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8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
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Commercial
i'm told we are the first to get the new frame splitter for the auto pricker.
hopefully this fixes the main issue which causes frame jamming.

the good news, it works well on dry frames. it seams to work consistently. it has a few program updates which sorts a few other other issues. like the limit on reties. the old one would retry every time it miss fed and keep retrying until you stop it or it pounds it self to bits. the new program does a couple of tries and then stops. neat.

the bad news is i have a long list of things to fix.
the major one is they replaced the feet with castors, but didn't trim the legs down to suit. so now its sits higher and the deboxer etc doesn't fit. plus the end sprocket assembly was changed which also means the deboxer won't fit. not to mention chain installed wrong way around and not remotely tight (there is no chain guide on this one, so loose chain means it can easily come off)

the main pricker unit got shifted forward which allows more processed frames to be stored, but they didn't move the sensor so extra frames cannot be stored. :rolleyes:

the pneumatic airline plumbing looks like the school kid did it. wrong fittings used, necking down pipes, pipe kinked, excessively long pipes and then pressure wound up an extra 30psi to compensate for all the extra restriction. having it set at 120 psi would mean we would have to go spend $5-10k on a new air compressor. so i spent most of today fixing most of that, now it runs just fine set at 90 psi. the other plus is less air is used/wasted so its cheaper to run.

tomorrows job is to tackle the wiring. because they didn't move the wiring i can't get the control box to swing out of the way and get access to the other parts.
that wiring will get pulled out, re routed and sensors relocated to where they should be.

so its looking like a couple of weeks work before i can get honey put through it (which is sitting and waiting) and then be able to give a decent review of it.
 
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well i'm cranking through the repairs.
got the wiring and sensors sorted. i took out ~2m of air hose from the side clamps that wasn't needed (which would just waste lots of air).
fitted proper sized fittings and pipes in places. chains all fixed up and reinstalled correctly.

got some test runs in.
found frames hit on of the cut outs, which looks like it was machined by a trained rat. spent some time with the dremel grinding the angles better.

tested some stuck together frames and it split them apart with a big bang. i'm liking the much lower air pressure i have it at.
testing different width frames is still to come.

one really good thing is that if a frame doesn't exit well, it gets pushed down the line by the next frame coming in. on the old setup if it didn't exit well it would hang up on the rear gate and cause all sorts of fun. so a bit more fault tolerant in that area.
 
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8,630
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santa came today with a present, the missing parts that was taken off the auto pricker. the main one being the guides i need to put back on.

i welded new legs to the deboxer and cleaning stand so now it can fit with the auto pricker.
the 'bracket' between the deboxer and pricker just fits, otherwise i need to shorten it to make it fit perfectly which would be a sod of a job.

just have to rework the guides (as the old mounting holes no longer exist) and it should be all ready to put honey through.
 
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test run time !
got some frames through the pricker today. rather slow going sorting out the tuning and fixing other faults (wear and tear).
the frame separating mech is working well, tho it does have easy frames (plastic) going through it. but it didn't fault with a few broken wooden frames that i would not normally put through.
there is a little bit of steel sticking down that needs grinding off.

also got to test run the new pump from HD process. bit of a special order, its lower geared than normal. they reckon its "lowest geared pump in the country" lol. (its same gearing as one of our old ones) it works perfectly and about the right speed.
one of the problem you can get is pumps running to fast (even at minimum speed with a vsd) and you end up wasting time baby sitting it.
i like to just leave them running and go do other things.
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
update:
~5000 honey frames through so far and zero jams. :love:
note that this is with easy frames, the gummed up frames will be later in the season.
and that its set at 90lb air pressure. ymmv.

also worth mentioning that we cruised through 200 boxes in a start late, long coffee break, long lunch, leave early kind of day. you go a lot quicker when you don't have to un-jam a machine constantly.
 
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update:
northland flow has sucked this spring so its taken a while to put enough boxes through.

the new frame splitter (acl i think they are calling it) runs really well.
jams are rare and usually due to staff failing to take out broken frames. tho a tricky one is bent plastic frames as they are easy to miss.
cleaning tops has to be good as there is very little room and it will kick the frames off the rack if there is a lump of wax left on.

the main issues, it doesn't like bur wax on the frame but the staff are cleaning most of that off.
wax builds up on the arms which needs cleaning every 100-200 boxes or so.
the frames that are stuck together (typically wooden) tend to fired along at high speed when they are split apart. fortunately the side clamps are grabing the frame and settling it down.......but only just. it really needs a spring to absorb some of the energy or a hydraulic buffer to regulate speed better.

overall its turned a nitemare autopricker into something that actually works.
because we are not unjamming it constantly production speed has gone up, so we have broken a few of our records this week.

reliability wise, way to early to say.
 
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small update,
one of the gate cylinder rods broke this week. looks like a trained rat had welded it and the weld failed.
got a replacement, tho i will fix the old one up.
 
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the gate rod broke again, but fortunately they had already dropped off its redesigned replacement which is substantially better built.

and then an air fitting failed and blew to bits. mondays :rolleyes:
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
just a small update:

found this little gem today, i had completely missed it all season.

image0361.jpg

looks like the trained rat didn't put a thick enough washer on the bolts that holds the air cylinder end bracket. its poked right through and been rubbing on the other part. fitted another washer and its all good. it runs a bit nicer now its running on the bearings not the bolt shaft.

some more mods are in progress to fix some of the issues found over the season.
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
image039.jpg
before

image043.jpg
after

pretty simple mod to the gates. weld up and regrind the angle. also took out the curve and gave the tip more of a point shape.
the reason is the gate would come down on top of the 2nd frame and it would feed two frames at once.
thats the single most common fault we had.
its caused mostly by the plastic frames behind bending. it gets so much of a bow in it that it fills up the small gap between the top bars and the gate would hit the top bar. most of the time it was only by a millimeter or so.
so i've moved the point to be right behind the first frame as much as possible and have the wedge push the 2nd frame back.
yes pushing the frame back is not a good thing but as long as chain speed is low (no need for high chain speed) it should work ok.
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
image0371.jpg

this small mod/adjustment i did early on in the season because the separator fingers would come down and land on top of the top bar ends now and then. (there is another way of doing this but thats another ball game)
top of pic is frame outlet side, bottom of the pic is inlet feed.
in the yellow circle i added a couple of washers to pack the gates out a bit.
this is to move the frames forward as much as possible in relation to the separator fingers, without the 2nd frame getting hit by the separator finger.
this has some 35mm frames in and you can see there is a few mm gap by the red arrow to allow 33mm frames to fit.

now the reason why its needed is because there is normally wax on the top bars where the blue arrow is, in between the top bar and the gate. which keeps the frames back a bit, and the frame would end up being under the separator finger, which means all hell breaks loose when the frame gets lifted.

it doesn't completely solve the issue, the staff still need to clean the wax between the frames. even with cleaning there is often a few mm of wax build up there. so you need to have some wriggle room in there to allow for that build up.

btw i whipped up a couple of solutions including a modified design which gets rid of the rear gate altogether. wax is not really a problem to the front gate because that swings down and pushes the wax aside.
maybe someday a permeant solution will be made. however keep in mind you really need to keep the frames clean so they can go back into boxes easily. so your still need to be cleaning anyway.
 


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