View Full Version : Semi-automatic honey sticks/straw filling machine

Honey Stix Fix
Jan 18th 2012, 10:34 PM
Hello bee keeper community,

my name is Max and I am part of a Senior Design Project team in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, Indiana.
Our project goal is to design a semi-automated machine for filling honey straws.
From our first research we found out, that a lot of bee keepers are in need of a low budget, below $1000, straw filling machine. But it seems that there is no small scale machine currently on the market to make this process easier.

If you are a honey producer or honey distributor and are interested or you know someone who could be interested, please help us to create a customer profile. We want our design to totally match with the expectations of the poeple, that would eventually use the machine.

Important points would be:

- wished production rate per hour/day/week
- batch size
- grade of automation, manual control
- power source: manually, electric....
- size/dimension limits
- price range: per machine, per produced honey stick.
- packaging material

If I forgot something or you have any idea, please feel free to add!

Thank you all in advance! I am looking forward to a great project.

Jan 19th 2012, 12:38 PM
If you could design and make a semi automatic machine under $1,000 I believe there would be a big market for it.
Production - 100 straws/hour would be a minimum IMO
Batch size - around 20 lb
Size - to fit on the kitchen table
Power - electric/manual
It would be nice to have a roll of continuous tubing if possible with efficient sealing of ends.

Before mass marketing, machine to be tested with one or two of our senior members here who would give an unbiased review.
Good luck. :thumbsup:

Honey Stix Fix
Jan 19th 2012, 05:21 PM
Hi Marbees,
thanks for your answer!

Please explain me, why you would favor continous tubing over straws.
Our idea is to use also straws, because they are available everywhere. But we are open to any new point of view.

by the way: we are an international team out of German ans US students, so please excuse grammar and spelling mistakes, if existing.

Jan 19th 2012, 07:27 PM
Guten Abend, and welcome to the forum. :hi:

Thank you for asking this question here. Beekeepers like gadgets and like to tinker. I'm sure you'll get many responses. Some of them may even make sense. :rotfl:

From an engineering standpoint, I think Marbees has a good idea. A machine using continuous tubing would be simpler (less moving parts) than one that handles one tube at a time. Of course, your description states a semi-automatic machine. If you are planning on loading each straw by hand prior to filling, ignore my rantings.

Again, Welcome.

Jan 19th 2012, 07:51 PM
No particular reason for continuous tubing, it was just a thought.
The picture I had in my head. One of many. :lol: :lol:
Like the idea of young German/USA team working together. :thumbsup:

As for the grammar and spelling, don't worry about it. I am an ESL person myself.

Jan 19th 2012, 08:12 PM
first let me say that I have several family member with past associations with Purdue. Purdue has always had a fine reputation as an engineering school. I assume you are are doing this in regards to some class project???

inexpensive honey straw machines have been offered up previously but they often times didn't work so well. from conversations only... the more expensive machines worked fine, but likely would never be economical to anyone producing small quantities of straws (typically using their own honey crop). my limited understanding is that there is viscosity (associate with temperature) problem involved with straw production. there is one member of this board (engineering type/beekeeper) who might be of some assistance since he know a good deal about food packaging. If you think this contact might be useful I can pm him and inform him of this thread?

your question <my response:
- wished production rate per hour/day/week <low production... not so important. enough production/hour to offset labor cost.
- batch size <small batch size.... max maybe 5 gallons of honey
- grade of automation, manual control <automatic pumping of honey... everything else the simpler the better.
- power source: manually, electric.... <electric
- size/dimension limits <not so important.. maybe 2 foot square.
- price range: per machine, per produced honey stick. <everything cost $1000 so that might be a good target.
- packaging material <commonly available straws.

other consideration..
apparatus must be somewhat easy to disassemble for cleaning (between batches).

good luck...

Indiana Dave
Jan 21st 2012, 07:43 AM
Boiler Up!!!!!! Welcome to the forum Max. It will be interesting to see how this project plays out. I'm sure many will be watching. Glad to see some research into a project like this one. Good luck!

Honey Stix Fix
Jan 24th 2012, 09:35 PM
Yes, Boiler Up!!!!
are you an active bee keeper here in Indiana?

I thank you all for your opinions and concerns. We will consider your comments and other sources to determine the machine's requirements. Everything will be a great help to our design process.

If one of you knows the "perfect" straw for the best seal, please let me know where to get it.

And please continue discussing about sense, nonsense and any problems.

I will keep you updated!

Jan 24th 2012, 09:36 PM
Are you familiar with Anthony's machine?

Jan 25th 2012, 05:55 AM
who is Anthony iddee???

Jan 25th 2012, 06:03 AM
http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/04/smbusin ... /index.htm

Take note........


Indiana Dave
Jan 25th 2012, 06:07 AM
Yes, Boiler Up!!!!
Are you an active bee keeper here in Indiana?
Yes, I keep bees but I'm only in my third year and still consider myself to be a 'newbee'.
Purdue Alumni: B.S. in Wildlife Science in 1995.

Aug 22nd 2012, 07:19 AM
Hi Max..."bee-keepers"... Is there a machine being made, proto-typed, etc.?

My interest in "honey" is two-fold. I like to eat it, and I want a straw-filling machine for a non-honey product which I make. I may have a comment or two that hopefully will help all involved. I'm a small hobby-type manufacture desiring to get bigger production/sales/profits, etc. My product is sold in a plastic 8 oz squeeze "honey cylinder" shaped bottle with a flip lid, but, for me, straws would make great sample units....similar to the small blister-packs like we all get with ketchup, mayo etc., but to purchase those types of units, you have to order in the millions! Thus... straws...

I've found a simple piston-pump type INEXPENSIVE filler for my bottled product, but I believe straws would make easy and cheap sample units. I'm wondering if it would be modified with an adapter to fill 6, 8, 12, etc straws with one pump, then crimp the ends of each individually, unless the heat wire, crimping line or whatever you call it could be built-in to the straw-filling modification portion or addition that could be attached to this hand-filler. I'll attempt to contact the machine manufacturer today, and post my findings. Jim

Aug 22nd 2012, 08:12 AM
Welcome, Jim.

Please take note of the link I added to reply # 11.

Aug 22nd 2012, 08:48 AM
Max, Welcome to the ranks of an active forum poster. You;ve been on the sidelines too long.
Jim, welcome to the forum and to being an active first day member.
The project sounds interesting and I hope that the forum helps along the road to meeting your goal Max. Jim, congrats on being a "donor" rather than a recipient of information with your first post. Carry on. :thumbsup:
[Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a requester of aid in a first post either]:grin: