Design of a robotic manipulator for automatic application of milking cups
White, James (2006) Design of a robotic manipulator for automatic application of milking cups. Master of Engineering thesis, Dublin City University.
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The application of milking cups to cow teats has been identified as a significant component of net manual labour on the commercial dairy farm. Several automatic milking systems (AMS) are available commercially, however such commercial AMS have low capacity (typically 7.5 cows/unit/hr) and speed of teat detection and rmlking cup application is relatively low. Attempts to introduce commercial AMS into pasture-grazing systems have been unsuccessful as maximising milking efficiency in pasture-grazed herds involves optimizing throughput of cows during the milking session. This design project investgated the use of a commercial robot arm for high-speed milking cup application. Operating requirements and workspace parameters were determined horn field observation of cows in a milking parlour. An end-effector capable of handling four milking cups simultaneously was developed and interfaced with a 6-axis robot arm to form a robotic milking cup application mechanism The end-effector profile is sufficiently compact to allow access between the rear legs of the cow while enabhg full access to all four teats for application of milking cups. A control system was designed and implemented for the applicator and basic testing was performed to validate operation. Test results indicate that small changes in teat location (<20mm) may be tracked at a position update rate of approximately 200 ms.
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