Sensing in Robotic Cow Milking Machines

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll be discussing cows and the role pressure sensors play in automatic milking systems.

Sensing in Robotic Cow Milking Machines

Since the first commercial automatic milking systems (AMS) appeared in 1992, sensing has been an increasingly important aspect to monitor and control the milking process. In fact, guide lines for automatic milking were developed and approved for AMS and the associated sensor technologies within the framework of the International Standards Organization (ISO20966, 2007).

In contrast to a traditional process, that typically involves milking cows twice a day using automatic pumps that have to be manually attached, the automated or robotic systems allow motivated cows to enter as many as four or five times a day. While relieving the pressure of milk in their udders could be a factor, the incentive of food during the process is certainly critical, too. To take advantage of the latest technologies in sensing and other related areas, the first International Precision Dairy Farming Conference was held in 2016, in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Cows are an increasing part of the internet of things (IoT).

In the milking process, vacuum is used to extract the milk and is the main milking machine factor affecting milk flow rate. Common practice uses a level of about half atmospheric pressure (i.e., 40–50 kPa, 300–375 mm/Hg).



In addition to pressure sensing for the vacuum, flow rate and pump monitoring in the system, other sensors include RFID, temperature, conductivity, color and more.

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-Han Mai, Senior Marketing Specialist, All Sensors Corporation (