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Keeping honey runny

When honey cools down, it can crystallise; a honey roller helps keep it liquid.

We all know what happens to a jar of honey left in the back of the cupboard. The same problem occurs when liquid honey is transported in metal drums. In Otago’s cool weather, the honey solidifies. Heating it back into liquid form for processing can take up to three days. Otago Gold Honey, a local, family-owned apiary, asked the polytechnic’s Engineering students to help solve the problem. They wanted a way to keep their drums of honey moving. A drum roller would cut down the time and heat needed to prepare the product for processing and packaging.

Three Engineering Technology students, Daniel Rutter, Ennis Massey and Lewis Adamson, collaborated to develop and build the drum roller. From the outset, the team decided on a strategically simple design. As the client was a small, family-run company, one person needed to be able to operate the roller. The students were able to adapt existing designs to make a roller that is easy to use and suitable to hold the weight of full drums of honey. It uses off-the-shelf parts to minimise costs and delays. These practical choices have resulted in a more workable and sustainable end product.

The finished roller has been designed to meet the customer’s needs and a prototype has been manually and simulation tested to high safety standards. Once installed on site, further tests and adjustments can be made to optimise its performance. Furthermore, because it uses readily available materials, the drum roller has the potential to be developed for production on a larger scale.