Following the launch of Fullwood’s latest robotic milking machine in November 2014, sales have grown ahead of expectations with orders from dairy farmers in 10 different countries.
The Fullwood M2erlin is a completely new machine – redesigned to deliver significant benefits in terms of milking efficiency, cow flow and milk integrity.
It features a unique twin-exit gate configuration which enables the milking machine to act as a segregation gate, with cows exiting via either a side gate or straight ahead once the feed manger has automatically lifted. A side or straight entry configuration is also available to add to the machine’s flexibility and space-saving credentials. By eliminating the need for additional segregation gates, the Fullwood M2erlin requires less space and is more cost-effective to install than traditional, modular systems.
The M2erlin also features an all-electric milking arm that significantly reduces energy usage for teat cup attachment and has fewer parts for improved reliability and serviceability. The new milking arm replaces outdated pneumatic and hydraulic drives with electric motors, not only making the M2erlin virtually silent but also significantly reducing energy consumption, and improving animal comfort and safety.
“The launch of the new M2erlin robot last autumn was an unprecedented success,” explains David O’Hare, Chief Executive of Fullwood Limited.
“We’ve been inundated by enquiries from existing Merlin users, and new converts to robotic milking, all of whom have been keen to learn more about the machine’s twin-entry and exit configuration and its ability to significantly reduce running costs and milking times.”
As well as an all-new physical design, the new M2erlin also features several key operating software upgrades which improve herd management protocols. These include Fullwood’s MerlinView software, which displays information such as individual cow milking data, cow activity, milk components, overall herd performance, bulk tank capacity and cleaning parameters in an easy to view format on a single computer display screen. This software can also be viewed via a smartphone or tablet application making it possible for herd managers to keep a close eye on their herd’s live performance from any remote location.
“Whilst the former Merlin was widely regarded as the market-leading automatic milking system, the new robot builds on its reputation for reliability, speed of milking and efficiency, and applies new technologies to reach a new pinnacle in automated milking,” Mr O’Hare continues.
The M2erlin utilises a new crate design which enables cows of all sizes and breeds to be comfortably and safely milked through one standard machine. The new machine also features a number of additional fail-safes to protect the quality and integrity of the milk.
“Fullwood’s new Herd Management Interface (HMI) enables farmers to access key cow data and milk production records from a full-size touch-screen display mounted on the robot’s housing,” Mr O’Hare adds.
“Information such as milk flow rate, milk yield, heat activity and real time milk quality can now be accessed from the machine, allowing the robot’s operator to keep a closer eye on each cow’s performance and to investigate any potential management concerns as she is being milked.”
The Fullwood M2erlin is available in three specifications: the entry-level M2 Essential, mid-range M2 Extended and advanced M2 Expert. Each version is available with a different range of features, ensuring there is a Fullwood M2erlin to suit every herd’s specific requirements.
The new machine has been designed in-house by Fullwood’s engineers who have developed and tested the M2erlin. The machines are manufactured and assembled at Fullwood’s premises in Ellesmere, Shropshire, ensuring that spares and any technical support required by the company’s British customers are easily accessible.