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Milking System Air Consumption When Using a Variable Speed Vacuum Pump

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  033014,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14993) @2003
Authors:   Scott A. Sanford, Sr.
Keywords:   Variable Speed drive, Vacuum pump, Energy conservation, Energy consumption, Milking machines

Variable speed (VS) vacuum pumps have been on the commercial market for about 8 years yet no one has published a method for providing an accurate estimate of the amount of savings expected from the conversion of a constant speed vacuum pump to a variable speed pump other than using a flat percentage (50% is the most common percentage used). Four farms with existing VS vacuum pumps were monitored for one milking each in an attempt to identify a value of air consumption per milking unit that might be used for estimating air consumption. The range was found to be from 28 LPM to 78 LPM and was not related to parlor size, turns per hour or cows milked per hour. Other factors explored were the influence of milking unit attachment method, long milk hose ID size and milking unit inlet nipple ID size. System leakage or air consumption by vacuum detachers may also be a factor in the wide variation of air consumption per milking unit. All farms had vacuum pumps that were from 39% to 98% larger than the ASAE 518 Standard suggests be used to meet the vacuum system performance requirements. An air consumption rate of 55 LPM was found to give a reasonable estimate for three of the four farms.

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