The cow enters the system through a double saloon gate that secures one cow at a time on the platform. If she hesitates to step onto the platform a gate pushes her gently a few times to teach her not to remain in between, and photocells tell the system where she is. Then a sequence gate swings her into final position on the platform at the same time as the platform rotates to the next stop position for teat preparation. The next cow can now enter the system behind her.
The entrance gate has ID so the cow has stored teat positions for the teat preparation robot to use. The laser camera then finds the exact teat location and each teat is cleaned with a special teat cup adding water. The teat is then dried with a slow cup pull off from the teat. A small amount of milk is then also ejected into the wash water.
You can start with one robot for teat preparation and one robot for milking cup attachment and achieve milking of 50 cows per hour.
Milking cup attachment
The next move of the platform will take the cow to a milking cup attachment robot that, via a magnetic gripper, picks up 2 cups at a time from the magazine and attaches them to the teats, one at a time, using first stored teat positions and then a laser camera for exact location of the teats.
If it's a system with 24 milking points there can be 2 robots for teat preparation and also 2 robots for milking cup attachment. So, in total, the 4 robots will work on 4 cows at the same time. The process takes on average 20-30 seconds for each robot for 2 teats. They will have a capacity of approximately 90 cows/ hour with 2 preparation and 2 attachment robots.
Milking starts as soon as the milking cups are on the teats. The milk is monitored per quarter with an optic milk meter measuring flow, yield, blood and conductivity. Vacuum levels per quarter are monitored by sensors in the magazine and when milk flow stops or the cup is kicked off, the cup will individually retract into the magazine. The maximum milk out time is approximately 12 minutes and if not enough for a cow with high yield (or any other reason), the platform can stop to wait or force the cup take off. This is decided by the user in the configuration set-up of the system.
The DeLaval AMR™ will suit herds exceeding 300 cows. The first commercial rotaries will have a 90 cow/hour capacity depending on the number of robots installed.
Spraying can be done to the teats at the last milking point by a dedicated teat spray robot.
When the cows leave the platform in the exit lane, she can be diverted either to an area for treatment ot an area for re-entering the milking. Normally, she will pass a one-way gate from here into the entry lane to the platform for a second milking round. The reason can be a kick-off or failed attachment of cups.
Between exit and entry, the milking cups will be rinsed inside and out with water (similar to the VMS process).