Milking Machine Pulsation

The Pulsation of your milking machine acts as the heartbeat of the entire milking system to ensure proper milk removal.

Poorly performing pulsators can and will affect the overall milking performance on your dairy and negatively impact teat condition and cow comfort. Make sure the pulsation of your milking system is working correctly by considering the following maintenance and evaluation steps.

Milk removal and teat health really depend on the pulsation settings, which control an alternating pattern of atmospheric air and vacuum to open and close the teat cup liner. Improper open and close cycles can cause erratic pulsation, resulting in irritation to the teat ends and a reduction of milk flow.

Ensure accurate pulsation settings by graphing pulsators six monthly. This will help keep the pulsation settings steady by evaluating the length of the four pulsation phases: A, B, C and D. In general, the A and B phase indicate liner open times, and the C and D phase indicate liner close time

A full pulsation cycle includes the time it takes to rotate through all four pulsation phases and typically takes approximately one second to complete, although this number can vary based on the rate selected.

According to ISO standards, the B phase should be at least 30 percent of the total pulsation cycle, and the D phase should be at least 15 percent. However, most manufacturers recommend settings much higher to maximize milk flow on today’s higher-producing cows.

Average B phase settings of 450 to 525 milliseconds, and average D phase settings of 200 to 250 milliseconds are also commonly recommended. When evaluating the pulsation settings, you should consult your manufacturer’s recommendations for the brand of equipment and liner used.

Pulsation is similar, we can shorten A’s and C’s to a point or we can let them be and spend more time doing things that don’t help us milk cows. B phases milk cows and D phases remove congestion, plain and simple. The goal of every milking event should be clean and complete. Clean teats, cleanly milked, with milk completely removed. Removal of all things that prevent that from happening is the goal.

It’s also important to assess the pulsation rate and ratio when graphing the pulsation system. Maintaining an accurate pulsation rate and ratio can provide proper pulsation for optimal open and close times and teat condition.

Like the beats per minute of your heart rate, the pulsation rate calculates the number of complete pulsation cycles per minute. To maintain recommended liner open and close times, the pulsation rate is generally between 55 and 62 cycles per minute and should be consistent from day to day.

The pulsation ratio represents the percentage of open and close time in each pulsation cycle. The default pulsation ratio is oftentimes split between 60 percent open time and 40 percent close time.

 However, it is always important to consult with the manufacturer, as recommendations for pulsation rates and ratios can vary based on the type of equipment and liner being used. In addition, equipment should always be fine-tuned by your local milking equipment specialist.

Vacuum levels should be consistent among all pulsators. Pulsation settings, vacuum levels and clean air work in unison to properly open and close the liner for optimal milk flow. Indicators of correct vacuum and pulsation settings include cow comfort during milking, teat colour or markings teat end thickness and teat rings. \lsdunhideuse