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Injection moulding poly supers?

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Chris B 

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Just on the off chance that anybody has any experience of this..

What is it likely to cost to have a mould fabricated for a poly langstroth super? And then what is it likely to cost per unit to produce them? Obviously without full spec any figures can only be ballpark but that will be helpful. I'm just looking to estimate production level necessary to make it worthwhile. Apart from cost saving this would also let me custom design something.

Thanks
 

oliver90owner 

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That would be for injection moulding? Quite expensive, but maybe a lot less than thin wall polypropylene tooling. Probably much cheaper for two 'simpler' moulds and assemble the parts (distribution and storage is also an issue)

If you look at the Weald farm site, I think he says that for converting Standard National to 14 x 12, he is going to include an extra 'hone supper' at cost - charging a fiver (he then marks them up with a 250% increase (ie 360% of that figure). Not sure of the actual arrangement, because I did not take that much notice of it. I take it that his spelling is not that good.

Hope this helps a little.

Regards, RAB
 

Chris B 

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Thanks RAB, it's a good start. £5 cost price, I wonder if that factors in the tooling or not. But encouraging - Swienty box around £9 at current exchange rates with maximum volume discount.
 

Poly Hive 

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About £20,000 per mould and for a super you will need 2.

What super are you after as there are loads of Langstroth around already.

PH
 

Chris B 

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Hi PH, main difference from anything on market would be ready moulded frame spacing for 8 or 9 frames. Then I could use non-Hoffman frames which I can get made cheaply, and then I can dust off my chain uncapper that shreds Hoffmans.

Alternative is fitting metal castellation to Swienty box but that's an extra £1 and messing about and I don't know how durable that would be.

Price is the unknown factor. Where did you get the £20k figure? On that basis I'd need about 10,000 supers made to justify it. My expansion plans don't quite go that far!
 

Poly Hive 

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I was told by them what know that 20k is the figure for a mould.

Doing poly to a proper standard on a DIY basis is just not possible, or so I have been led to believe by two people now, both of whom sold the hives.

It would be cheaper me thinks to work Manley frames in your supers and invest in a decent uncapping machine. Consult the Bee Farmers as they are the guys with this info and or Swienty and Thomas. They are the vendors with the real expertise.

PH
 

Poly Hive 

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Blasted edit time lapsed...

So.

I used to put on a poly super as the first one, and it definitely assisted in getting the bees up. After that though it made no odds whether the 2nd was timber or poly.

When I was making Langstroth supers using planned all round timber, a dovetail jig and router, I costed them at just under £2 each. Makes a poly super look a bit pricey hmm?


PH
 

Chris B 

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Quite right, a different uncapping machine could also be the answer. Current one is a Thomas who haven't helped things by discontinuing Langstroth castelations. What I can't fathom is how they can sell chain uncappers and also only sell hoffman super frames?
 
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If you want less than about a thousand supers it won't be economic and the break even point could be much higher if the molding is more complex than a simple box. However, biggest risk is getting the design wrong. The established suppliers have decades of experience.
 

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Are poly supers essential to your success is the question.

I would argue that they are a very nice to have but no not essential.

If I were to spend the money on setting up on a commercial basis again I would be looking at a, going Langstroth, and b, making my floors and supers but investing in poly brood boxes and either buying poly roofs or making insulated roofs so same same. That is where the gain is to be made. More brood.

It would be worth talking to Swienty as the published price is obviously open to discount for say 100+ and so on. They are very easy to communicate with as they have very good English.

http://www.swienty.com/uk/contactus.asp

Under sales the first person is Jo, and she is the one I call when I need stuff.

PH
 
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Chris B 

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Thanks PH & Rooftops,
No I'm not committed to poly supers, just after the most economical solution factoring in all aspects including secondary expenses and time. Up to now I've used mainly brood depth boxes for supers but now decided to switch to something shallower and redeploy the deep boxes (Swienty poly) for brood only. I reckon I need around 2000 over the next 3 years so worth looking at all options.
Making my own doesn't appeal but I would go that route if the costs were right. The only trouble is I would not be quick. Poly boxes just need a paint job. We already had 300 from Swienty this season and a spray gun had them all done in a day. I could live with going the Swienty route but I can't live with not seeing if a better option exists first. Don't want to be reinventing any wheels though.
Thanks again.
 

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why not make a fibre glass home made heavy duty mould and in that way you could then make them in the shed your self.

i have a bit of knowledge of injection moulding plastics and have never used foamed polystyrene.

what i would get is the two part foaming eurthene foam, from one of the glass fibre suppliers. but it comes in several densities try the heavier ones and when you you pour add some loose fibres to it so we get some strength to it
 

Poly Hive 

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I believe that the real stuff is made under some thousands of psi. Not really a home situation. Not unless the shed is very heavy duty...LOL

PH
 

oliver90owner 

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They will only be making up to about 50kg per metre cubed. They are moulding cutting and shaping, not injection moulding. They cut sheets from a large block with hot wires, that sort of thing.

I have a couple of numbers to ring but injection moulding is not the usual run of the mill manufacture. Big hydraulic machines with pressure-multiplier screws to inject; complex water cooled moulds and very repetitive once set up, so not for making even just a few hundred, I would think, even at the relatively low pressure, compared to, say, polypropylene.

Regards, RAB
 

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Still may be worth a phone call or email to find out what they can do.
 

oliver90owner 

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Food boxes. Low density so would need lining /coating. Low mechanical strenth where propolis is concerned. Relatively soft, so prone to damage.

Might get away with them for a while if edges were protected.
 

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Fish boxes or low density supers wouldn't be bouncy enough once the help got to drop test one though.

Just a thought about injection moulding. How much do you think it costs to make a single moulds for the packing pieces that go in the average £30 microwave cooker packaging?

The guys that are likely to be approached on this have decades of experience with both moulding and manufacture of the tooling. With a suitable CAD ready drawing (OK unlikely) then the process is largely automated. I do understand that automated doesn't mean free, but £2,000 seems excessive . . .certainly at today's prices.

I do at least feel that RoofTops has a reasonable grasp of the question as asked and understands the risks, but for what is a simple box, the scope for errors is somewhat reduced.

I am inclined to agree with PH regarding floors and roofs. 3,000 boxes from 9mm ply is a lot of construction time. Best get started yesterday Chris.. :) :grouphug:
 

Chris B 

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Thanks all,
I shall be following up all leads.
But an interesting thought...if the mould costs £20k but the unit cost thereafter is only 20p, who cares if the bees chew it up a bit? Swienty density is around 100kg/m3 and does get chewed a little but not enough to worry about. There is a law of diminishing returns at work.
 

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