Rotary Technology Updgrade
Laang, Victoria, AUS
"The system is scalable over time to suit budgets, which means you can add more milking automation options at a later stage, rather than right away.”
Waikato Milking Systems installed its first ECR Plus system in Australia, converting a once labour-intensive dairy parlour into an efficient one-person operation.
Southwest Dairy Services led the project for farmer Andrew Buckley’s dairy property in Laang, Victoria.
Andrew was milking his 250-cow herd in a 30-bail, flat-floor rotary parlour, with no cup removers, in what was an all-manual operation.
Milking was proving to be time consuming so Andrew reached out to Southwest Dairy Services to see what the options were. He was keen to modernise his shed, without completely rebuilding the parlour.
Fitting the ECR Plus system, and other milking automation options, has given Andrew’s shed a much-needed upgrade to improve its efficiency. It’s made life easier for Andrew and the animals at milking time.
Southwest Dairy Services was resourceful and innovative when it came to designing a bespoke plan to custom-fit the milking automation options into Andrew’s existing shed.
The upgrade has reduced labour time at milking but also future-proofed Andrew’s parlour, so he can add more milking automation technology later on, when the time suits.
Southwest Dairy Services director Damian Loomans said a sophisticated Automatic Cup Remover and communication hub is at the heart of Andrew’s ECR Plus system.
“The advanced communication hub allows multiple milking automation devices to be plugged into each bail. It gathers data and controls the functions performed by each milking point.
“The level of automation is entirely up to Andrew and the needs of his operation.
“The system is scalable over time to suit budgets, which means you can add more milking automation options at a later stage, rather than right away.”
The ECR Plus uses unique Plug ‘n’ Play technology, where new milking automation options can simply be plugged into a BailMarshal on the platform.
“It makes the upgrade and installation of new technology very quick, easy and reliable,” Damian said.
On Andrew’s milking parlour, the ECR Plus communicates with a Shut Off Valve in each bail.
The valve senses when the milk flow rate drops below a pre-set level and then signals the ECR Plus to activate the cup remover.
Andrew can use the parlour’s new SmartCONTROL console to set the flow rate removal point, by adjusting the parameters to tailor the system to suit his herd’s requirements at different times of the season.
The ECR Plus also controls the BailMate Rams, to lower and raise the custom-made bail straps, which keep the cows secure on the platform during milking.
The BailMate Rams were mounted onto the platform’s top ring, where a cord lowers and raises the bail straps.
Another key milking automation option added to the parlour was Claw Drop, which lowers the cluster under the bridge after the cups are removed.
The cluster drops below the deck to create a clear space for cows to enter and exit the rotary platform.
Once past the bridge, the ECR Plus system automatically pulls the cluster back into place, ready to be cupped on again.
Southwest Dairy Services and its team custom-designed a deflector plate on the outer rim of the platform, which smoothly guides the claw as it moves around to the bridge.
At the bridge, a fender bar was also fabricated, to make sure the cluster string does not get caught on the edge.
SmartLINK connects to the new Platform Positioning System, installed in the middle of the rotary, which controls the Claw Drop and BailGate functions.
Damian said the milking parlour has been set up for further upgrades and expansion, when Andrew is ready.
Damian said the ECR Plus project stands as an example of how an old shed can be transformed into an efficient milking parlour, simply by upgrading its technology.
“The ECR Plus can be customised to suit your own specific requirements. With an eye to the future, the ECR Plus is designed to grow with you.”
BailMate /BailGate Straps
Shut Off Valve
Rotary Positioning System with SmartLINK