New Zealand Milking Machine Tester

Designed to teach practical skills in a workshop like situation. It is the basis of the milking machine industries training program for new technicians and those re-entering the industry.

Course Description

As a major exporter of dairy products and equipment, New Zealand must conform closely to standards for milking machines set by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) as a basis for all milking machine manufacturers and testers.

This course is designed to teach practical skills in a workshop like situation. It is the basis of the milking machine industries training program for new technicians and those re-entering the industry.

The course runs for five days and comprises 20 illustrated and detailed texts or modules; each with practice exercises and skill assessment tests. Additional pre and post-course work is required to be completed online. Participants must complete all of the prescribed course modules. Instructions are given which enable the skilled operator to complete a module quickly or the unskilled to acquire competence. Full information is given in each module, however there are also videos, photographs, demonstration models, types of milking machines, practice with other course participants, and exercises.

Participants will gain a thorough understanding of how a milking machine should be installed and how it should operate. They will also gain the ability to test a machine for function and make recommendations on faults found. The course provides the fundamental building blocks for carrying out a Milking Machine Test and allows the Tester to either:
  • test a standard milking machine using the methodology supplied or
  • gain enough of a knowledge base to be better able to understand how to test machines that require more product-specific methods (but without teaching those methods) for which the Tester may need to refer to the OEM's guidelines.

Who Should Attend

Anyone involved in testing machines for function, milking machine dealer staff, sales reps, OEMs, local agents – fitters and testers, vets and advisors etc.

Course Content

Participants will learn: visual examination of plant, using an airflow meter to carry out static testing of vacuum levels and component air use and leakage, using a pulsator recorder to test pulsation, measuring vacuum pump performance, vacuum regulation and milk pump performance, completing test reports and more.

Participants who successfully complete this course and all the pre and post-course online modules will receive a NZMPTA Certificate of Achievement in Milking Machine Testing.

On completion of the course participants wishing to become registered as a Milking Machine Tester must accurately test six milking machines in the field and have tests marked, and accepted by an independent, industry recognised marker. Test reports should be sent to MPTA, P O Box 10514, Te Rapa, Hamilton 3241

A Tester’s Manual and Testing Standards Manual are issued to the participants to keep for future reference.

Practising Certificate

On completion of all course requirements a NZMPTA Registered Milking Machine Tester Practising Certificate will be issued (additional charge $125-00 + gst).

The Practicing Certificate will expire after two years and will be re-issued upon submitting six correct Test Reports to the NZMPTA for independent marking.

Registered Testers found guilty of malpractice may have their Practicing Certificate withdrawn.


NZMPTA Technology Training Centre
Building 8, Batchelor Centre
80 Tennent Drive
Palmerston North (Fitzherbert Science Park)

All course fees must be paid prior to course attendance.

Additional Information

  • Facilitator Quality Consultants New Zealand Ltd (QCONZ) on contract to the NZMPTA and the Technology Training Centre.

  • Pre-Course Work Participants are required to complete pre and post-course modules online. Instructions on how to access the pre-course introductory modules will be issued one month prior to the course commencement. These modules, which involve approx. 10-12 hours of study, MUST be completed within one week of the course commencement. Failure to complete the pre-course modules may result in enrolment being cancelled.

  • Course times commence at 9.00am on the Monday and will finish approx 4.00pm on the following Friday. Usual daily attendance is required from 8.30am to 5.00pm on the days in-between.

  • Accommodation can usually be arranged on-site at a cost of $350-00 for the five days of the course. If this option is unavailable we will endeavour to source alternative accommodation nearby - although the price will be higher than that quoted above. Accommodation must be paid in full directly to the accommodation provider.

Technical Basis

The course is broadly based on ISO Standards 3918, 6690 and 5707. Some modifications to these have been necessary because milking pipeline systems rather than recorder jar systems are the norm in Australasia.

The principal variations from the ISO standards are:
  • Additions to the ISO terminology and the omission of irrelevant terms
  • More stress on the effects of friction as air flows from the receiver to the vacuum pump (new tests called the “air flow change” and “reserve at receiver” have been introduced)
  • Testing system spelled out in detail and practical considerations included, e.g. ‘permissible air leaks’
  • Standards for installation included only where integral to milking machine function. (These standards are set and amended by a technical committee made up of representatives from the MPTA, QConz and the various Research organisations.)
  • Specifically the course has been built around all the New Zealand milking machine manufacturers.


A brief introduction to what is covered in each module is listed below:
  • A4. Making and breaking physical connections in a milking machine: The various unions, connections, and clamps holding a milking machine together, all of which students must be capable of disconnecting and reconnecting.

  • A3. Identification of milking machine parts by their general name and function: The components that make up a milking machine are described to help students learn to recognise them and know their function.

  • A2. Placing parts of a milking machine In correct position relative to one another: The various configurations of milking machines (for rotary, herringbone, and walk-through sheds) are shown. Students must be capable of placing all the pipelines and components appropriately on to a layout diagram.

  • A I, Identification of milking machine parts by manufacturer, retailer, brand name, and model: Photograph albums contain colour photographs of most of the milking machine components which students must be able to recognise.

  • S2. Safety: The safety rules for working with milking machinery. Students must recall all the rules when memory-jogging titles are given.

  • D. Disconnection and re-connection of the milking machine for a test: This module covers the series of disconnections (and re-connections) that accompany the air-flow tests. The student must be capable of correctly making all these disconnections and re-connections.

  • V. Visual faults: The various milking machine faults which can be seen, felt, or heard without meters are discussed. The student must correctly identify 10 major visual faults in a test milking machine.

  • F. Dismantle, clean, reassemble, and adjust regulators: Details are given on how to dismantle, clean, reassemble and adjust all types of regulator on the New Zealand market. The student must correctly clean three regulators, indicate missing parts, and show how to adjust the regulators.

  • SI. Assembling and starting a milking machine prior to the test: The likely disconnections and safety hazards that would prevent the milking machine from being started safely. The student must safely start a milking machine.

  • T1. Use test instruments: Operation and practical use of the air-flow meters, vacuum recorders, vacuum gauges and revolution counters. Students must correctly use all these test Instruments under specific conditions.

  • C. Follow the flow chart: The milking machine testing system has been written down as a flow chart with detailed notes. Students must correctly follow the flow chart for two hypothetical milking machines.

  • ST. Testing a milking machine: This module covers the test itself. Students must be able to carry out a full test on any of the eight types of milking machine.

  • P311. Introduction to the basic mechanics of the milking machine: The concepts of vacuum and air flows as they affect milking machine operation. The student must correctly interpret what will happen in given situations.

  • P31. Recall the names and meaning of milking machine test readings: All the tests used in the milking machine test. The student must correctly recall what each reading measures and the units in which it is measured.

  • P21. Calculating the pulsation check result: The analysis of pulsation graphs. The student must correctly analyse a graph.

  • P4 Determining the standards used in milking machine testing: The standards used are covered in detail. The student must look up and record correctly the standards for two hypothetical milking machine tests

  • P3. Calculate the statistics of a milking machine: Calculations necessary to understand the results of a test. The student must correctly carry out the calculations for two hypothetical milking machine tests.

  • P2. Identify faulty pulsation: Pulsation and the standards used to assess it. The student must correctly identify a faulty pulsation system and locate the area of the fault.

  • PI. Fill in the milking machine test report and note the interactions between test readings and visual faults: The test report and how to fill it in. The student must correctly fill in two test reports and indicate two readings that have been affected by two of the results.

  • R. Recommendations on the milking machine test: This module covers the recommendations and includes a flow chart to ensure all considerations are included. The student must correctly make recommendations on two hypothetical milking machine tests.