Automated Hive Controller extracts honeycombs in half the time
Beekeeping can be an arduous task, as keepers have to repeatedly bend over and lift wax/honey-laden honeycomb panels out of each hive. The Hive Controller is designed to help, by robotically lifting and collecting the honeycombs.
Made by Korean company Daesung (aka Smart Hive), the Hive Controller is simply placed on top of a hive, once that hive's lid has been removed by the user. The width of the device's powder-coated aluminum frame can be adjusted to fit hives of different sizes. Power is provided either by an extension cord plugged into an outlet, or by a battery pack – one charge should reportedly be good for about 50 hives.
Once the Hive Controller is in place, the user simply pushes a button to start it up. It then proceeds to lower a set of hooks into the hive, bringing up each honeycomb and hanging it in sequence on a built-in set of arms. As the honeycombs are pulled out, soft brushes run along both sides of them, brushing the bees off (reportedly) without harming them.
The Hive Controller proceeds to move forward on its rails, across the top of the hive, until all the honeycombs have been pulled out. It then notifies the beekeeper with an audio alert, so they can take the honeycombs off of the arms for honey extraction.
According to Daesung, the device can moved and operated by one person, and roughly halves the amount of time it takes to pull all of the honeycombs from one hive. It's claimed to weigh about 11 kg (24 lb), with the battery pack adding an extra 2 kg (4 lb).
The Hive Controller is not only an honoree in the CES 2021 Innovation Awards, but it's also presently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of US$2,100 will get you one – the planned retail price is $3,000.
It can be seen in action, in the video below.
Sources: Indiegogo, Smart Hive
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Ironically, we haven't yet fully figured out what causes bee colony collapse disorder so this is a little premature.
And then there is the issue of propolis sticking the frames to the hive body. I can see some broken frames right off the bat.
I run double deeps, so the supers are at a good height for lifting. Not sure why they show the robot lifting deeps. Honey harvest is done in shallow supers. And all the robot does is lift the frames higher. You still have to remove the frames from the robot to extract the honey.
And lets not even talk about that price....