24-hour operation, fluctuating temperatures and air containing ammonia - the cowshed conditions with which technical components of automatic milking systems also have to cope are not easy. In order to be able to rely on safe function, the GEA company relies on harnessed energy supply solutions from igus for its products.
Starting, cleaning, stimulating, pre-milking, milking - these are the individual steps that the MIone, an automatic milking system from GEA Farm Technologies GmbH, carries out independently as soon as an animal lines up at the box.
The system from the mechanical engineering company has already been in volume production for several years and is used for herd sizes from about 70 animals upwards. The special thing about the MIone is that the cows themselves decide when they should go for milking. The animals simply line up at the free box, which is detected by the system and the automatic process is initiated. A robot arm is extended and the individual teat cups at the end of the arm are placed on the udder teats one by one with pinpoint accuracy. The system works quietly while the animal is busy eating. After the entire milking process is completed, the teat cups detach from the udder, are cleaned and prepared for the next cow. The challenge for these systems is the 24-hour operation and the wide variety of conditions that can prevail in the barn. These are, for example, fluctuating temperatures from 0°C to 40°C, usually high humidity as well as air that often contains ammonia. This also affects all individual components of the MIone .
The energy supply to the robot arm is implemented with polymer energy chains and cables from igus, for which these conditions do not present any great difficulties. Specifically, two E2/000 series energy chainsfilled with chainflex cables specially developed for movement are used. One chain travels on the horizontal and one on the vertical axis. For some years now, GEA has also been procuring the e-chains as completely pre-assembled readychains, which enables savings in the procurement process.
The dynamics are relatively low in the application of the MIone, which is important so as not to injure the animals. Due to the protected installation of the energy chains in GEA's machines, damage caused by external influences can be virtually ruled out. However, operational reliability and high availability are all the more crucial. All facilities must function around the clock, unplanned stoppages are to be avoided at all costs. When the machine specialist designed the cables for the application together with igus, the cycles were estimated for ten years and the requirements were determined exactly. Since both the energy chains and the cables are supplied from a single source, it is possible to match them optimally. This creates additional security for the customer.
In this igus® magazine you will find numerous possibilities and application examples of how you can bring your tech up and/or cost down with ready-to-install energy chain systems.