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Hi there,

We just want you to know that we'll be at the beekeeping conference in Rotorua next week at the Hivemind stand and you can tinker with all our gear including our newest sensors. We hope you can drop by.

In this issue we'll spotlight how the now established hive scale has improved over the years, and then give you a few Hivemind operational tips at the end.

Better and better

Scales under a hive

We've developed plenty of new sensors but this time we wanted to spotlight how our established Hive Scale has just kept getting better and better over the years.  Hivemind's talking scale has come a long way since the early days in terms of making it a robust industrial product.

Robustness: Our original scale had a 300kg weight limit and would damage after that. It now has overload protection and can handle overload over 1000kg. This means you can stack multiple pallets of hives during transport with the scales in place, as many of our large scale customers already do.

Radio signal: The radio signal is now several times stronger which means it is a little easier to get a good signal link between the scale and the satellite hub.

Access: The battery holder is now easier to access, and can be slipped out the end of the scale using a quick-release lever: no need to move the hive off the scales. Plus the magnetic installation button has become easier to press and is more reliable.

Plenty of other small features have been added that you probably haven't even noticed: greater reporting reliability, better weather proofing, and tare-weight functionality.

History: How it happened

Hivemind designed its scales from the ground up. It had to fit beekeeping. None of the off-the-shelf options fit the pallet system that many heavy transport operations use, and they wouldn't handle the weather. So we designed a scale with two 'load bars' that would fit into a pallet system and still leave the hive stuck firmly onto the pallet -- and onto the truck for transport. To handle rough transport we also worked with the loadcell manufacturer to develop a custom loadcell design with a mechanical stop, preventing damage on overload.

We also needed to fully encapsulate our electronic circuit in plastic for weatherproofing. This is because the the hive environment is totally prohibitive to electronics (hot, cold, transport vibration and rainfall). Our failure test involves heated, pressure testing in extreme salt-water conditions. We also had to protect four loadcell cables where the water could creep into the circuitry. You'd be surprised what stress these scales get put under by customers. We've had them submerged in flood conditions, squashed under trucks, and you name it.

There have been several design and product iterations to reach our current model, and it is serving the industry well. You can see details of installation and even a video of how it mounts in a typical pallet system on our product page here. But we're not done yet, and are still looking at various improved scale designs for the future.

Tips & tricks

Finally, the promised Hivemind tips:

  • Did you know you can add notes like "undersupered hive" to your hivemind graph?  Just click on the graph where you want to add a note, and type it in.
  • You can view and graph all your data in Excel using the CSV download function.
  • If you are operating your own apiary manager or are a nerdy type like us, your software can access all your hive data via our programmer access portal, and link it into your apiary management system.
  • You can get a feel for how much Hivemind might improve your own yield using our yield calculator here.

So long, and we'll see you in Rotorua.