The contemporary equipment for honey processing is based on the repeated use of the wax combs. Beekeepers take combs from the nests of bee colonies after filling and sealing them, make preparatory operations, centrifuge, and returned to the hives. These processes are the most time-consuming, so the implementation significantly affects the cost of production. The main objective of using different types of equipment (Fig. 7) is to facilitate the work and increase productivity. It is also important to keep the technology, which ensures preservation of the treatment, taste and nutritional properties of honey. Contact with materials and the air should not significantly affect the quality of products.
Equipment and supplies for extraction of bees from honeycombs: brushes, removers, wood frames with evaporative pads (for repellents – carbolic acid and propionic anhydride), pneumatic devices that provide air flow.
Equipment and machinery for opening cells. Beekeepers cut wax lids, destroy them on the surface of cell with needle devices and melt with hot air. They use for cutting the usual bee knives, steam-heated knives, electric-heated knives, vibrating knives and more complex assemblies. One of the basic conditions for high-quality and productive opening of honeycomb without deformation with blades is heating of honey (to reduce viscosity) that is in contact with the cutting surface.
A knife with a narrow blade is better than an ordinary knife and differs from it by narrowed to 15-20 mm (0.8”) blade, having a trough shape with a radius of 15 mm (0.6”). The knife touches very small area of a cell, and does not deform cells.
Vibrating knife (Fig. 8) has a vertical arrangement of the blade, driven by electric motor of 0.08 kW. Heated with steam coming out of the tank through a rubber hose. Applied in the apiaries, producing a large number of commercial products.
Machine to open the comb frees cells from zabrus from 2 sides with horizontally mounted vibrating knives, heated by steam. Frame is fixed to the slides, while moving down passes between running blades, and then moves up already opened. Electric motor power is 0.6 kW.
In some countries they use machines with 2 horizontal knives, heated by steam. They are equipped with conveyor belts, which automatically put frames, keep them in passing between the blades and remove to the storage.
A unit of Garrison is designed to open the combs directly in bodies. Vertically positioned blades are lowered into frames, cut the lids on permanently fixed cells. They can process about 70 bodies per hour and are used in combination with a powerful honey-extractor.
Needle machines process honeycombs with two sides with thickly lined with needles brushes that pierce the lid. Wax particles remain on the surface.
Equipment for storing combs. During pumping of honey they use tables for opening of comb, carousel and other types of holders of frames, drive-belt, taking processed cells, thermal cameras, preheated to improve the opening of honey combs, taken in advance from the hives.
The extractor extracts honey from the honeycomb cells. Regardless of the design features they are based on the use of the rotor, the rotation of which provides the force to splash drops of honey from the printed cells. They fall on the tank wall and then to the collection point. In the rotor frames are installed in a special mesh cassettes or sockets (in tapeless extractor). There are following types of extractors: 1) Chord – cells occupy a position that combines the chord line and the plane of the mediastinum 2) Radial – plane of the cell and of the radius is the same 3) radial-chord – cells can be placed in one and the other position 4) semi-radial – cells are placed between the chord and the radius (usually at an angle of 45 °).
Productivity of extractors depends largely on the number of hold framework. In the small amateur apiaries they use chord extractors for 2 – 4 frames. In large bee farms they use powerful radial-electric extractors for 20-50 frameworks that will ensure the significant amount of honey. For example, in Australia, extractor with a horizontal axis rotor is used to treat 180 frames simultaneously with automatic feeding of 30 frames in 6 sections. Extractor of Garrison holds 72 stores with tightly fixed cells.
Mobile units are equipped with the electrified extractors with small dimensions, which are constructed with a radial, radial-chord or semi-radial placement of combs.