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Lely's updated dairy robots work faster, smarter

Lely Lely’s A5 automated dairy milking and feed-pushing system
QUICKER TO THE DRAW: Lely's A5 employs a faster robotic arm to "hook up" cows for milking.
A5 Astronaut's robotic arm speeds milking; Juno feed pusher gains Bluetooth tech.

Lely now offers improved versions of its automated dairy milking and feed-pushing systems. Key upgrades include a faster, smarter robotic arm for the A5 Astronaut and a more versatile feed-pushing Juno, according to Steve Fried, Lely's North American sales manager.

In terms of cow through-put, the biggest technology leap came with the A4 model's IFlow cow data intelligence system, Fried points out. But the A5's new hybrid arm is silent, faster and follows cow movement during milking. It also corrects itself in case of unexpected movement, ensuring thorough milking even with heifers.

"With the A5 in validation herds, we've seen a 4% increase in production, a slight increase from 2.7 to 2.8 average milkings [per day] and an average connection [connecting cups to teats] time of 25 seconds, versus 35 seconds on the A4," Fried says. "So yes, the new arm has helped improve through-put and overall production."


WHIRLING BRUSH: Juno's new features reduce wear and tear, and make routing more efficient.

Post-milking teat spraying is improved with a new Teat Detection System that pre-scans the udder before spraying. The user interface is redesigned for easier understanding with all relevant data available on a single page. And, the A5 box is the same size as that of the A4, keeping with the modular system design.

A smarter feed pusher
Improvements in the third-generation Juno feed pusher make it easier to operate in multiple barn situations. The pusher automatically corrects for optimal distance to the feed fence based on the amount of feed at a given spot. Its collision detector stops the machine when it touches an obstacle.

Guided by ultrasound sensors and a gyroscope, the pusher can pass over small obstacles such as floor railing and has enough clearance to climb 15% slopes with the optional skirt lifter. That ground clearance also keeps it free of mud and manure.

With a special Bluetooth option, the Juno can automatically open and close electric doors while driving from one barn to another. You also can use Bluetooth to adjust pre-set actions and steer it with a fingertip on the smartphone screen.

Other options in Lely's "flex package" include the ability to push roughage left and right along walls and fences on both sides of the feed alley. An LED light can make the machine more visible in the dark. The collision detector can be equipped with a non-harmful electric pulse that discourages cows from stopping the pusher.

Lely expects to have an A5 and the new Juno available for fall exhibitions, according to Fried. See how the systems work in this Lely video:

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