If there was a generator entered in last weekend’s National Dairy Show Innovation Awards at Millstreet, it could have been a clear winner, in light of the events of a week which revealed a seeming scarcity of generators on dairy units.
That said, the overall award winner was one of the next best things, a diesel-powered continuous flow boiler offering hot water for the dairy and parlour, the Dairy Geyser.
This is a very necessary piece of dairy equipment, but versions in the past required a high cost outlay for a stationary unit that could not be utilised in other areas of the farm, and energy use and efficiency have posed problems too. Another problem with such units has been the control of the amount of water heated, and wasting energy on heating water that was not used.
The length of time it took to heat water, and the maximum temperatures, have also posed problems.
The National Dairy Show Innovation Awards entries were judged last week by Don Crowley, Teagasc, and Kevin Aherne, Shinagh Estates.
Don Crowley explained why they choose Dairy Geyser as their overall winner.
“In the modern age, farmers want two things, energy efficiency and flexibility.”
“That is what this product gives. It does multiple jobs that are crucial within the farm.”
The product originated from farmers having problems with their boilers in their dairies.
Martin Deady, developer of the winning product, was surprised that there wasn’t a better system than the immersion which he saw widely used on many dairy farms.
He found the idea of storing and batching water for heating was common place, but not efficient or scientifically effective.
Many farmers heated tanks of water at night on the cheaper electricity rate.
After 100 litres were run for the first run wash, it was replaced by 100 litres of cold water, which dropped the temperature.
Then, when this water was used on a cold bulk tank, the temperature further dropped below 40C, which was much cooler than the recommended 53C.
Don Crowley commented, “To allow detergents to work at their optimum to fight TBC and thermoduric, you need to be achieving these recommended temperatures.”
“You don’t want it to be too hot either, as it could effect the tank’s cooling.”
So Martin set about coming up with a solution to these problems.
The Dairy Geyser is the result of three years of development.
The product debuted at the Ploughing last month, after patent applications were finalised.
The National Dairy Innovation Award is the first time it has been judged, and after last Saturday’s success, and the Ploughing event, there is a waiting list of orders for the product up to Christmas.
So what is the product?
Don Crowley explains, “Firstly, the standard boiler has a narrow pipe that has short exposure to heat.”
“This has increased capacity through its coiling system that allows the water to be exposed to heat for longer.”
The results are that the boiler can heat water as fast as water can be fed to it, in the region of 20 litres per minute.
The boiler system is totally stainless, which means it is food grade, so passes all current and possible future food production standards.
The diesel powered continuous flow boiler is currently entering independent testing.
However, efficiency at this stage suggests that where electric heating costs €2, the diesel costing for the same is 60c.
The real benefit however seems to be its flexibility.
Where the Dairy Geyser really separates itself from the competition is that it comes with power hose attachment fittings.
With a power hose attached, it can achieve 150C dry steam washing, which means farmers have an effective sterilisation for calf houses and calving houses.
It can be put on any power washer, including PTO-driven, for up to 250 bar pressure of dry steam.
Don Crowley again explains, “You need dry steam to kill virus like Rotavirus. Hot water will kill bacteria, but not virus. This machine will also work on cryptosporidium, which is a major issue on many calf units.”
Martin Deady explains that while developing the product, versatility was an important objective.
One of the first farmers who tested the product took it upon himself to connect it up to the parlour washing system.
Through the use of a mixer tap, he has decided he will never milk cows with cold water again.
An important note to add about the hot water boiler is that it is TAMS-approved for grant aid.
The pricing is €2,300 plus VAT.
Speaking about winning the award, Martin said “It was unexpected. It is a nice badge to have on the machine.”
When Martin and his team first decided to come to the National Dairy Show, they planned an outdoor stand, where their hot water boiler could be demonstrated by making tea for the passing Show visitors.
This plan was put into question by Hurricane Ophelia, and ruled out completely by the arrival of Storm Brian on the day of the show.
The storm force winds and rain of Brian meant that all demonstrations planned for outside had to be cancelled, much regretted by the Show organisers, but necessary on health and safety grounds.
So Martin Deady had to settle for a static indoor stand at the event, but nevertheless, his product impressed the National Dairy Innovation Award judges, and Show visitors.
The product was developed in Cobh, Co. Cork.
A new office is opening in Kilkenny.
The plan is to increase production in Ireland; currently, 30% of the product is produced in Ireland, with the remainder in Italy.
The idea is to increase the Irish production to 85%, and the remainder to be maintained within Europe.
Martin is currently demonstrating the product to discussion groups and other farmer groups throughout Ireland, and welcomes more inquiries from like-minded groups who would like a demonstration in their locality.
After their first award, Dairy Geyser plan to exhibit at the Royal Ulster Fair in December, and then at the machinery show back to Millstreet in January.
They also hope to be exporting, by the summer of 2018.
The Dairy Geyser had earlier won the Gold Award in the Engineering Section of the National Dairy Innovation Award, before being selected as the overall winner.
Next week on this page, we will look at the Gold winners in the other sections, Virtual Vet in the Technology section, and Intracare in the Science section.