Robotic milking: Sensors, robotics help cows, farmers, quality

Milk production increases, cows seem happier with robotic milking, a new method of farm management. Advanced sensor techniques and an integrated farm management program provide state-of-the-art tools for a highly efficient milking process and milk quality control.


When launching the Astronaut robotic milking system, Lely Group ilking process and milk quality control. 

Cows seem to like their robotic milking system.

All of the peripherals are linked to the central supervision PC via Ethernet network. Due to the high level of automation, Lely chose to use Westermo SDW 550 switches for harsh environment Ethernet connectivity. “Our robots work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” says Sander J.P. Van Leeuwen, Product Specialist Robotic Milking Systems, “and with our first implementation or Ethernet network in our Astronaut system we wanted to have the highest levels of reliability.”
With the T4C management program, it is possible to manage the data of each individual cow. Each cow is free to visit the robot when it chooses and as often as she likes. In most cases she reports for milking more then 2 times a day, this results in yield increases of up to 20%. A milk quality control system ensures optimum control of udder health and milk quality by means of color and conductivity measurements.
According to the company, Lely’s Astronaut milking robot ensures complete handling of the milking process from pre-treatment, through connecting the teat cups, up to (thanks to laser sensors) and including after-treatment by means of an udder treatment spray. Reliability and fast processing are key issues. The milking robot is a 24/7 working machine and all breakdowns have to be solved as soon as possible. For instance, at the end of the milking every robot requests if it is allowed to pump the milk to the main milk tank. Sometimes the milk has to be transferred to an external bucket because the cow had antibiotics or is producing colustrum (first milk for the calf). This decision — and the corresponding pumping — have to be processed quickly to allow the next cow to be milked. All data related to each milking is also processed in real time, including information on milk quality, and are registered in the robot’s T4C management system.
— Edited by C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering Machine Control eNewsletter
Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.