22 December 2000

Robot milkers take off

ROBOT milking in Holland is now big business – business milking machine manufactures are keen to take a slice of.

The latest contender to launch its wares at the RAI Event is Galaxy which has taken inspiration from the automotive industry where robots are used increasingly.

A single-arm robot alongside the cow is programmed to perform the following function: Wash the udder; use a single independent cup to strip the foremilk; and place the cups on the teats using a camera-guidance system.

When the system detects that each quarter has been milked out the vacuum is cut and the cups are returned to their holding location.

Milk yield is recorded with all data stored for later retrieval on an office computer. Milk is also monitored for any abnormalities to provide an early warning of impending health problems.

The Galaxy, at first sight at least, would appear to be a simpler system than several others on the market. A single robot can be used to milk up to 60 cows , but setting a second stall alongside enables the robot to handle double that number, says the manufacturer. &#42

From car welding to milking. The Galaxy robot milking system made its debut at the RAI.