Motion Control & Drives

Siemens Simatic technology ­optimises honey centrifugation

August 2015 Motion Control & Drives

German-based Harzer Antriebstechnik specialises in the planning and engineering of sophisticated automation solutions focusing on drive technology. The company recently began to fit honey extractors with Siemens technology, optimising the efficiency of the entire honey centrifugation process from the controller through the frequency converter to the operator unit.

To harvest the best quality honey, beekeepers use what are known as honey extractors to extract the honey out of the comb by centrifugal force. The key to efficient operation is to ensure the seamless interaction between the controller, the operator unit and the drive. The production conditions for the different types of honey are defined at the discretion of the beekeeper by simply selecting the spin program and setting the drive parameters.


A honey extractor comprises a cylindrical stainless steel drum which accommodates a honeycomb basket with a rotating axis. This is connected to the drive below the drum. Depending on the size of the extractor, the honeycomb basket can accommodate between 4 and 16 comb frames in which the combs are placed. Once the lid is closed and the spin program has been selected, the drive sets the honeycomb basket in rotation. The centrifugal force flings the honey against the inner wall of the drum. It flows down the wall and is collected at the base of the drum. To ensure that honey is centrifuged out of both sides of the comb, the combs are turned by reversing the motor direction. Finally, the honey is guided through a drain valve into a collecting bin.

Harzer Antriebstechnik honey extractors work using a controller model based on Simatic technology, and a Sinamics G110 frequency converter as a variable-speed drive. During the extraction process, a motor connected to the frequency converter is controlled via the communication module by a Simatic S7-1200 controller from Siemens. The motors have an output of between 0,37 and 2,2 kW with a single-phase 230 Volt AC supply.

Using a Simatic HMI KTP400 Basic combined button and touch operator panel, the beekeeper selects the spin program and the configuration. It is also possible to monitor the program sequence and individually modify the set motor speed. An exchangeable cover film protects the panel’s control buttons and switches from becoming gummed up with honey. If maintenance is required, only the controller itself needs to be sent in.

For more information contact Keshin Govender, Siemens Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 652 2412,,


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