The Indramat-Powered Home-Made Goat-Milking Machine

Indramat servo motors are used for many things in many places, but this story — heard in a chat room so who knows if it’s true — is one of our favorites.

There was a goat farmer in Namibia, with a farm some 50km outside of Windhoek. He raised Boer goats for meat, and he decided to expand into dairy farming.

Now, the farmer was no stranger to milk goats, as he kept a few to supply his family’s own dairy needs. But he knew that commercial milk production would require a milking machine; hand milking would simply not be practical on that scale. As a quick look at YouTube will reveal, (and there are a truly amazing number of videos on YouTube about milking goats), milking a goat is not quite the same as milking a cow. The animals are just constructed and proportioned a bit differently. The farmer couldn’t find an appropriate milking machine that worked with his budget, so he decided to make his own.

The vacuum pump turned out to be a stumbling block. All the available vacuum pumps he could find were designed to run on AC power, but the goat farm didn’t have access to reliable electricity on the grid. Even now, Namibia buys most of its electricity from South Africa, and in those days utilities in rural areas were nonexistent. The farmer didn’t have a generator, and the cost for the fuel would have been prohibitive in any case.

Indramat to the rescue.

In the early 20th century , Indramat was mostly known for DC servo motors. The farmer bought an old ore-processing conveyor at a used-equipment auction. Removing the Indramat DC motor, wiring harness, and associated controls, he drove away and left the rest of the conveyor.

A local machine shop made an adaptor for him and he attached the servo motor to his homemade milking machine. His equally home-made power system, (consisting of solar panels, a windmill, and a dozen truck batteries), supplied reliable DC power, and the dairy operation was in business.

I’m not sure this story has any takeaways for Indramat servo motor users today, but it speaks to the versatility of the Indramat product.

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Goat Care For Boers

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