The world’s first fully automatic external rotary parlour has been officially launched at a farm in south-east Germany. The unique machine is called the DairyProQ, which has an individual robotic arm placed at every stall in the parlour.
On the aforementioned farm in Germany the rotary parlour has 40 points which can milk the herd of 400 cows in just two hours. There are 4 prototypes of the machine are running; 2 in Germany and 2 in Canada. Each stall unit on the DairyProQ rotary has its own robotic arm, and is designed to completely automate the entire milking process. Rotary parlours using this system can run between 28 and 80 stalls.
Robotic arms do the milking
Once the cow steps into her stall on the revolving carousel, the control panel on each module displays her milking status and shows the parlour operator if attention is needed. The modules instruct robotic arms when, where and how to do the milking. Attaching the teat cup along with teat preparations (including pre-dipping), fore-stripping, stimulation, the milking process, and post-dipping are done in-line, in one single attachment. The unit is automatically removed and backflushed between milkings to cleanse the clusters between cows.
Save on labour costs
The German farm is situated in Teichroda and is owned by father and son Eckehard and Stefan Blottner. They farm 1,740 hectares to keep the dairy herd plus have pigs, beef and deer. GEA's vice-president of large project sales, Steve Pretz, said: "Farmers have an increasing number of things to look after on-farm and automation will help them cope with these challenges. "Our customers are not only seeking more efficient and profitable businesses, but young people coming in to agriculture want to 'work to live, not live to work'. "Dairy farms need to be attractive to young people and automation is key in that." The Blottners fitted the rotary in a bid to save on labour costs and to increase efficiency during the milking process. They used to milk twice per day but wanted to move to 3 times per day without the need for paying labour all day long. Now with this 3 times a day system the parlour is running 6 hours per day with only 1 person watching the robots. The cost of the DairyProQ is up to 4 times that of a conventional rotary according to the company.
The German-based GEA Group is one of the largest suppliers of technology for the food processing industry and for a wide range of other process industries. As an international technology group, the company focuses on world-leading process technology and components for sophisticated production processes. The company is targeting more so younger farmers with its new advanced ideas in automated milking to make the job as interesting as possible.