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Pneumatic Case Studies

Pneumatic cylinders come in handy at milking time

The Problem:
Dairy farming is labor-intensive-cows need to be milked three times per day for optimum production. The milking process needs to be gentle in order to maintain the animals' comfort. Equipment needs to operate in an aggressive environment that includes ammonia, water and dirt.


Its Solution:
A computer-controlled milking system uses a pneumatically powered multi-purpose robotic arm to perform a number of operations, such as retrieving, attaching, holding and moving the teat cups that are used for milking.

Guided by a video camera, three pneumatic cylinders controlled by proportional directional valves generate all the arm motions. They quickly extend the arm the exact distance to reach the cow's udders, attach the teat cups, and start milking. Each cylinder moves the multi-purpose arm in a specific direction: cylinder A moves the upper and lower arms along the width of the milking station; cylinder B lifts the lower arm up or down; and cylinder C moves the lower arm along the length of the milking station.

Very durable, these low-friction, double-acting actuators have stainless-steel piston rods, anodized-aluminum profiled barrels, and anodized cast-aluminum end caps. They have magnetic pistons to feed position information back to the computer, and are fitted with 2-component polyurethane rod seals to keep contaminants out.

Related Applications:
These pneumatic cylinders could be used in any application that requires precise, reliable, repetitive movement.

How Pneumatics Improved this Application:

  • Time savings
  • Repeatability
  • Accuracy
  • Durability
  • Safety

This application was developed by Norgren. To visit the Norgren web site, click here.