Robotic milking system at dairy farm in WA

Robotic milking system at dairy farm in WA

Innovative dairy farmers Mat and Sue Daubney — co-owners of Bannister Downs Dairy Farm — pride themselves on delivering quality farm-fresh products, such as milk, cream and flavoured milks. Located in Northcliffe (which is in the lower South West region of Western Australia), the farm has built a creamery on a greenfield site and this is where they now milk, process and dispatch all their products. For their raw milk collection, they have implemented the DeLaval automatic milking rotary (AMR) technology, complete with a Kaeser compressed air system.

Almost 10 years ago, DeLaval created the automatic milking rotary (AMR) to meet the requirements of large dairy farmers wanting an automated milking system. The system enables up to 1600 fully automatic milkings per day and relies on an efficient and clean supply of high-quality compressed air, which in many cases is now supplied by a Kaeser compressed air system.

The AMR at Bannister Downs Dairy Farm operates 24 hours a day and is responsible for milking part of the 2000 Holstein Fresian dairy herd. Once the on-farm milking process is complete, the milk is transported just 10 m through stainless steel pipework into the processing facility, where it is processed and packaged ready for daily dispatch. 

For Mat Daubney, having a reliable compressed air system is critical for the dairy to be able to produce and deliver fresh products to its customers on a daily basis. He said: “The concept of robotic milking is still relatively new and the AMR at Bannister Downs is the first one DeLaval has built of its generation in Australia. We are relatively isolated — both being in Australia and our actual dairy location — which is even more reason why we need the AMR and the Kaeser compressed air system to be reliable.”

Reliability and efficiency are just two reasons why DeLaval in Australia and New Zealand are choosing Kaeser when it comes to delivering high quality and clean compressed air to its automated milking rotary.

How does the system work?

Once the cows are collected in a waiting area, a crowd gate may be used to slowly and calmly move the cows into the AMR platform. Preparation, milking and the exit stages of the milking process are then carried out by five robotic arms. Two arms manage preparation, two milking and one more manages the teat spraying at exit.

In the preparation stage, a cup is attached to the teat where a unique combination of air and water clean, stimulate and strip the teat ready for milking. The next robotic arm then attaches the separate milking cups, which commences the milking process. Once complete the first step in the exit process is delivered by the last of the five robotic arms. Finally, before the cow exits the AMR, each teat is sprayed individually using a separate line and nozzle to eliminate any risk of milk contamination.

To deliver a reliable supply of clean, dry and high-quality compressed air to the AMR, two Kaeser SX 3 T series rotary screw compressors with integrated refrigeration dryers, complete with air treatment package and air receiver, were installed.

The SX series from Kaeser are small but mighty compressors that not only deliver more compressed air for less energy but also combine ease of use and maintenance.

At the heart of the SX series rotary screw compressor lies the Sigma Profile screw compressor block. Operating at low speed, the Kaeser screw compressor block is equipped with flow-optimised rotors for good efficiency. Furthermore, all SX series rotary screw compressors feature energy-saving, premium efficiency IE3 drive motors, which comply with and exceed prevailing Australian GEMS regulations for three-phase electric motors. For Bannister Downs Dairy Farm this means more compressed air for less energy consumption.

The compact SX T models also include an integrated refrigeration dryer which is installed in a separate enclosure. An automatic dryer shutdown feature further aids energy-efficient performance. In addition, a service-friendly design ensures that all maintenance and service components are easily accessible. This significantly reduces the downtime associated with such tasks and helps to increase compressed air availability and minimise operating costs.

To meet the air purity level required for food manufacture, Kaeser filters were also installed as part of the air treatment package. Thanks to lowest-possible differential pressure, these filters efficiently ensure compressed air of all purity classes as per the ISO 8573-1 standard. Using modern deep-pleated filter media, they remove particles and aerosols, while a highly effective carbon fibre mat traps oil vapours. Together with innovative flow dynamics, they deliver good filtration efficiency with minimal pressure loss.

12 months on from installation, Mat is pleased to report that the Kaeser compressed air system has been running without incident. “With a site that’s got quite a lot of new technology in it, that’s pretty good and something we’re really happy about,” he said.

The SX series of rotary screw compressors from Kaeser is available with working pressures 7.5 to 15 bar, motor power 2.2 to 5.5 kW and free air deliveries 0.26 to 0.80 m3/min.

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