UK-based milking equipment manufacturer, Fullwood Limited, has today launched a revised version of its class-leading M2erlin automated milking system. Featuring a redesigned milking crate including Texas-style entry gates, plus a range of optional cow management equipment packs, the new M2erlin once again raises the standard for efficient, safe and hygienic milk production.
The new M2erlin retains Fullwood’s unique ‘k-flow’ entry and exit design, whereby cows can enter or exit the milking crate via straight ahead or side gates. However, whereas the original M2erlin used a side-hinged gate for straight ahead entry, the new model uses a Texas-style gate. This not only allows faster cow loading, but also saves precious space thanks to a smaller opening radius.
Additional space savings are achieved thanks to the new machine’s smaller footprint: the new M2erlin’s milking crate maintains its predecessor’s internal dimensions (thus making it able to accommodate all breeds and sizes of dairy cow), but the new model has an overall footprint which is 18.5cm shorter than the outgoing machine. “This makes the new M2erlin easier to install in confined spaces, as such making it ideally suited for use in traditional farm buildings as well as within purpose-built milking sheds,” explains John Baines, Fullwood’s technical director. “The new crate also features redesigned cabinets with stronger side-opening doors instead of the previous model’s up and over design. This improves access for servicing and maintenance duties.”
The existing model’s all-electric, silent-running milking arm remains unchanged, albeit it is now complemented by an improved jetter plate: “By mounting the cluster washing system on a spring-mounted plate, we can now achieve a tighter seal between the cups and the jetters,” Mr Baines continues. “This ensures greater cleaning effectiveness and further safeguards milk hygiene and integrity.”
The base-model M2erlin is equipped as standard with a side entry gate, a single exit gate (side or straight-ahead exit), a single feed dispenser and an ear tag or neck collar based cow identification system. It is also fitted as standard with Fullwood’s Herd Management Interface (HMI) which enables farmers and herd managers to access key cow data and milk production records from a full colour, touchscreen display mounted on the robot’s housing. “By making data such as milk flow rate and milk yield results easily accessible and without the need to consult a separate computer screen, operators can keep a closer eye on each cow’s performance and investigate any potential management concerns as she is being milked,” Mr Baines adds.
Beyond the base model’s standard specification, the new Texas-style entry gate is available as an option, as are a series of upgrade packs, which enable users to create the perfect robotic milking system for their farm. These upgrade packs include:
Traffic Control Pack: enables the M2erlin to operate a range of segregation gates via Tiris-based ear or neck tags or via Fullwood’s Vitality Plus pedometers.
Fertility Pack: incorporates Fullwood’s recently launched Vitality Plus pedometer-based heat detection and fertility monitoring system, including 60 tags and straps, a Vitality hub and ethernet kit, strap fitting gauge and strap trimming tool.
Health Pack: in addition to the Fertility Pack, also includes four-quarter conductivity sensing plus CrystaLab, Fullwood’s real-time, in-line milk analyser.
Management Pack: in addition to the Health Pack, also includes a second feed dispenser, twin exit gates (straight ahead and side exit) plus Fullwood’s MerlinView application which enables herd managers to view live and historical key performance indicators – such as individual cow milking data, cow activity, milk components, overall herd performance, bulk tank capacity and cleaning parameters – via a paired smartphone or tablet.
“The previous incarnation of the M2erlin was a huge step forwards in terms of automated milking systems,” Mr Baines adds. “As a completely new machine redesigned from the ground up, it delivered significant benefits in terms of increased milking efficiency, faster cow flow and better milk integrity.
“This new version takes that concept a step further and builds on Fullwood’s reputation as a leading expert in the field of automated milking systems.
“By making small, but significant, changes to the M2erlin’s milking crate, the best robotic milking system has evolved into an even better machine.”