Robotic arm improves efficiency

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Chuck Ahlem Farms in Hilmar, Calif., has been using a robotic arm to post-dip cows in its rotary milking parlor for the last 18 months.

The robotic arm works in tandem with a 3-D camera that tells the robotic arm if the milking unit has been taken off, udder depth and teat placement. The camera will not tell the robotic arm to go in and spray the teats unless it sees that it’s clear.

“Eventually, we will install a robotic arm for pre-dipping,” says Frank Dinis, herd manager.

Green Source Automation, the company who built the robotic arm, says they are in the engineering phase on stripping and attaching the cups, and hope to eventually offer these to the market as well.

Each robotic arm saves one person per milking shift. And, representatives from the company say there is a 30 percent reduction in teat dip usage.

Green Source Automation is also working on a system that allows teat dips to foam. The foam stays on the teat better and uses 20 percent less dip, says a company representative.

The dairy plans to prototype the teat dip as well.

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