Portable Milking Machines And Their Features

In this era of automated milking, having a milking machine is paramount. These are machines that make it easy to draw milk from animals. They bring in speed, quality and efficiency that lacked in hand milking. Portable milking machines rank among some of the popular milking machines in use today.

Mobile milking machines come with loads of benefits. These machines are not only portable but also facilitate easy quality milk collection.

The industry has seen the introduction of different types of portable milk machines. All these machines have been introduced to meet the different needs in the farms. This makes it important to understand the different types of portable milking machines.

The Different Types Of Portable Milking Machines

Portable milking machines have numerous variances. The differences will be brought about by the different needs met by these machines. Some of the major reasons why these machines may be different include; the type of animal milked, fuels used to run the machine, size of the machine, price of the milker and the bucket/bottle capacity.

Now that there are hundreds of different types of portable milking machines, we may not be able to review all these machines. However, we have reviewed the best portable milking machines in each of the above categories.

We have also gone an extra mile to help you use(operate), maintain, clean and repair the portable milking machines. You can learn how to efficiently operate your portable milk machine and boost your dairy cow milk profitability at minimal cost.

Features Of A Portable Milking Machine


Pulsators are designed with the cow in mind. Manufacturers ensure that the cow feels comfortable. The pulsator adopts a streamlined design and is designed to provide top of the range operation.

Pulsators can either be electric powered or pneumatic (vacuum operated). The vacuum operated ones depend on air to move the slide valve and the plunge. The plunge and slide valve are housed in oil to facilitate smooth movement.

The pulsator comes in handy in controlling the machine’s pulsation. The pulsation is regulated by a needle valve. This valve may be factory set or adjustable.

Vacuum operated pulsators tend to be affected by temperature change. There’s need to be keen on temperature changes in the dairy farm.

Electric powered pulsators are operated by master control. The master control sends commands through electric current for the pulsator to adjust pulsation ratio and rate. Unlike vacuum pulsators, electric pulsators aren’t affected by temperature changes.

Milk Receptors

Milk receptors are quite vital in milking machines. They can either be classified as claw type or suspension. Most portable milking machines tend to have the claw type receptors.

Claw type receptors are attached to the milker pail/bucket. The receptors facilitate delivery of milk to the milk buckets. Claw type receptors have an air inlet that may be in the claw or the teat cup liners. The inlet facilitates admission of air that aids in lifting the milk into the pail.

When using claw type receptors, it’s important to have a keen eye on the air admission hole. The hole should always be clean to avoid excess ignition that could cause milk rancidity.

Vacuum Gauge

Milking machines that rely on air to milk are entirely dependent on the existence of a vacuum. Vacuum levels have a dramatic effect on milking machine operation. This makes it necessary to have a reliable system to measure and monitor vacuum levels.

Most dairy farms adopt vacuum gauges or mercury manometers to measure vacuum levels. Both types of gauges can give inaccurate results but mercury manometers tend to be more accurate. If the gauge you are using gives the same readings when the vacuum pump is on and off, it needs replacement.

Vacuum Tank

The vacuum tank only serves its purpose if the vacuum levels are regulated. Milk lines as well as balance tanks play a major role in ensuring that the rig milking vacuum is maintained.

What’s The Role Of Vacuum Tanks/ Balance Tanks?

Some decades ago, vacuum pumps were quite small. This made many dairy farmers assume that vacuum tanks were reserve tanks. This tank served as the trap to stop milk and cleaning solutions from entering the vacuum pump.

Modern milking machines have large vacuum pumps and normally have a reserve tank whose capacity is 50 gallons. This tank can either be made of plastic, galvanized metal of stainless steel.

Teat Cup Liners And Shells

Teat cup liners (inflations) and shells facilitate effective milking. For the efficiency to be achieved, they need to be compatible. Compatible shells and liners will ensure that they is enough room for full collapse without hitting inner walls.

The liners should be carefully selected. This is vital in preventing ridding up and downward slippage. Narrow and immediate bore liners are known to be very reliable. These are the recommended liners.

If you have been using wide bore liners and wish to change to narrow bore liners, its important to know that;

  • You should expect more drop-offs. This will be experienced until when you learn how to handle the milking unit. Less tension is necessary with narrow bore liners.
  • The milking speed may drop at first.
  • Some cows may never adapt to the narrow bore liners. These are mainly the long and flabby-teated cows.

Teat Cup Liner Softness

Milking machine teat cup liners tend to harden with time. They are also prone to damages. Such liners should be replaced immediately. The recommended liner changes are;

Material Milkings
Synthetic Rubber 1,000 to 1,200
Natural Rubber 500-700
Silicone 5,000-10,000


Challenges To Expect With Portable Milking Machines

Portable milking machine benefits are numerous. However, there are some challenges that will be associated with portable milk machines. Some of these challenges include;

  1. An introduction of the machine to old herds may result in drop in production. The production may normalize with time but some herds may fail to recover.
  2. Most portable milking machines are power dependent. This means that you cannot use them if you do not have a power source.
  3. The portable machines increase the risk of teat and udder infections. Diseases such as mastitis in dairy cows may take some days to detect. These are the risky days when it can be transmitted from one cow to the other.
  4. Milk machine maintenance is not easy. It may also be costly. This means that you need to have provision for routine maintenance.


The market is awash with different types of portable milking machines. This makes it quite challenging to settle on the best milk machine. To settle on the right machine for your dairy farm, you need to check out different types of milk machines and appliances that draw milk from cows.

This post is aimed at helping you understand these portable milking appliances. The information detailed here should help you settle on the machine that meets your dairy farm milking needs. Have fun milking with these incredible machines.