By: Chase Bailey
The lab sends out 125ml bottles of saltwater into the field to collect honey bees and examine them for various pests and infections that our ravaging the honey bee population. Detection can lead to prevention and a reduction in colony losses. Before this process, the lab used to send out bottles of alcohol instead of saltwater. Not only did this cost more because of the alcohol, but it was a nuisance to ship alcohol solutions. The new method is overall much cheaper.
I noticed that the saltwater filtration system took a long time to produce a small amount of solution, and that inconsistency in the solution amounts occurred occasionally in addition to small amounts of precipitant in the bottles. I began by focusing on the main issues, improving efficiency, while creating a repeatable solution. The demand for bottles was increasing and a mechanized system would be helpful.
Option two differs from option one in the way that the bottle filler is more of a custom design. It utilizes a semi-automatic pump to dispense the 50mL at a desired time interval. A circular carousel will be set up below the pump nozzle, and will rotate after every bottle is filled. This could allow for the user to load up the carousel with a set number of bottles, and then walk away as the system dispenses and rotates automatically. The downsides of this system are that it only has one nozzle, and therefore will output fewer bottles per hour, although it could be automatized so that that user could multitask. This system would have to be built, and then programmed to run properly.