The Economics Of Dairy Robotic Milking Systems

There are more than 35,000 operational robotic milking system (RMS) units on dairy farms all over the world. The major reasons why dairy producers are installing milking robots are to expand without needing to hire additional labour and to improve their lifestyle.

The herringbone parlour is one of the most effective types of the automatic milking machine.

What Drives The Profitability of Robotic Milking System?

The major factors that affect RMS profitability are the length of the useful life, labour savings, milk produced per day per robot, and milk produced per cow. The main disadvantage is having to pay $150,000 to $200,000 for each robot that can each milk 50-70 cows. Most of the historical data shows that milking robots is not as profitable as conventional milking systems. These results may change by higher labour costs, improved management skills, and robotic technology advancements.

Labour Efficiency

The USDA reported that the wages paid to livestock employees increased by 4% in 2015 and 3% in 2014. RMS labour savings that have been reported vary. No savings up to a maximum of 29% savings have been reported by researchers for RMS. A lot of this variation might be explained by barn management and design. According to Farm Management Records from Firbin (2016) shows that RMS farms in the Upper Midwest averaged 2.2 million pounds of milk per each full-time worker while similar-sized herds milked in parlours average 1.5 million pounds.

Another factor that affects the decision for installing robots is the availability of labour in the future to milk cows. A 2014 survey (Adcock et al., 2015) showed that immigrant labour made up 51% of total farm labour. There could be a reduction in the availability of immigrant workers in the future if fewer foreign workers decide to work on farms or if the US passes tighter immigration laws.

Change in milk production when transitioning over to robots

The main driver for milk production changes with RMS is milking frequency changes. It was found by de Koning (2010) that robotic herds saw 5% to 10% production increases compared to 2X milking. However, production was reduced by 5% to 50% when compared to 3X milking. Our survey showed an average of 2.8 RMS milking frequency with a 2.4 to 3.2 range. In order to optimise efficiency, the aim is to have lower milking frequency during later lactation and high milking frequency during early lactation. The main factors affecting herd and individual cow average milking frequency include the following:

Change in milk production when transitioning over to robots

The main driver for milk production changes with RMS is milking frequency changes. It was found by de Koning (2010) that robotic herds saw 5% to 10% production increases compared to 2X milking. However, production was reduced by 5% to 50% when compared to 3X milking. Our survey showed an average of 2.8 RMS milking frequency with a 2.4 to 3.2 range. In order to optimise efficiency, the aim is to have lower milking frequency during later lactation and high milking frequency during early lactation. The main factors affecting herd and individual cow average milking frequency include the following:

Bijl et al. (2007) did a comparison of the economic performance of Dutch farms that used RMS that matched closely conventional farms milking at 2X. Conventional farms proved to be more profitable, due to the higher costs incurred by RMS. However, RMS farms had 29% lower labour requirements which resulted in more income and milk production per worker. The conclusion was that RMS investment allows farms to use less labour to produce more milk and milk more cows.

Milk Per Robot

To maximize profit, it is important to maximize daily milk per robot. With a four robot system over a 20-year time frame and using 2% yearly wage inflation, annual net income increases by about $4,100 for each 500-pound daily milk increase per robot. Some US farms are currently consistently harvesting more than 6,000 pounds of milk per robot per day. It is achieved through a combination of a high number of cows on each robot (frequently over 60) and high daily milk amounts per cow. The most important factors of this achievement are:

RMS in the best working condition
Reduced box time on each cow
Milking strategies and permission settings that get the right number of cows milked at the proper times

Evolution of Winlens3D Basic

When it comes to Winlens 3D Basic, designers, students, and optical engineers enjoy the Winlens3D optical design package that offers analysis tools and thoughtful design. People will get hand optimization sliders, audit trail facilities, multiple copies of tables or graphs, and zoom-friendly graphics with the Winlens 3D Basic.

When people talk about a significant enhancement to Winlens Plus, they will be talking about Winlens 3D Basic. Even without any planes of symmetry, Winlens can now model systems. In all of the three axes, users can decenter and tilt individual surfaces. And when they define mirror surfaces as a fold, it will have dual power to rotate the mechanical reference, even if it is compound or simple. They can have the local reference axis directions to offset the tilt center.

Operators can also decenter or tilt the component groups and the fundamental components. The following element’s global location remains intact with the group/compound T&D, by default. As such, people can find it quite easy to create and model scanners and their movements. They can also assess the manufacturing errors impact.

Users may use coordinate breaks to change the reference axis’ direction when they do not use fold mirrors. As one of the whole range of types, they have added a new prism object. Essentially, it can be complicated to model prisms. When they have a chosen type, the wizard can collect vital parameters and set up the required surfaces.

Qioptiq displays its prisms in a unique prism database window. With that, people can use them in full designs when they reference their part number. They can then alter T&D by setting up adjusters on the module, group, component, or surface. There are also various enhancements to several analysis tools to assess the new systems:

  • A new 3D wavefront is in existence, with several display options and real-time rotation
  • A new global coordinate table is available
  • There is no assumption about symmetry from graphs
  • Users will now get lens drawing in a solid model or wire-frame when showing 3D systems, with rotation in real-time controlled by sliders

Tilted Modules, Groups, and Components

Operators may use the system data editor tilt tab to tilt the whole modules, component groups, or components. By default, when people decenter or tilt any module, group, or component, it will not affect the following components’ global position.

Tilt Options

At the end of each tilted module, group/component, winlens 3D Basic works to realign the reference axis. Users can click the relevant cells in the options box to alter this option for any module, group, or component. Operators must be aware that the non-default option is similar to inserting and placing a coordinate break at the start of the item. They can even change application order for dissenters and tilts.

Rotated System

Users can use the toolbar slider beneath the system data editor to rotate the whole glassworks. The object’s points are on the y-axis. Thus, rotating the optics. With that, it is quite easy to sample or probe another azimuth. People will then see differences in the various analysis tables and graphs when their design is not a centered system folded version.

Filling the Gap in Vocational Employment

The Baby Boomers have long held a majority of the vocation careers within the United States, but as this age reaches retirement, a gap is forming in the labor pool. Younger generations have turned to careers outside of the manufacturing, construction, and engineering fields, leaving openings in these fields without enough talent to fill the positions.

The Cost of the Labor Gap

Many in the Baby Boomer generation are set to retire between the next five to 10 years. As they leave their trades, it is estimated the over $100 million a year will be lost by 32% of billion-dollar manufacturing industries. This equates to approximately 31 million positions that will be left without qualified skilled workers to fill them. Jobs are left open as assembly line workers, as a metal fabricator Houston TX, or roofing contractor.

The Price of Fixing the Problem

There are many ways to address the problem, though an instant fix isn’t going to be possible. For many companies, developing a partnership with educational institutions is a way to fill the need for both qualified employees and skill-specific training. Having students attend two-year college and trade schools for a specific skill but also having students complete internships at partnering institutions can lead to more well-rounded instruction in the unique aspects of their intended employment. Developing mentorships and apprenticeship programs at the company level are also ways to address the labor shortage.

The States Taking the Lead

There are three states who have gotten a jump on skilled trade training. In Georgia, the Quick Start program is a state-funded workforce initiative partnering with leading manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Kia, and NCR. In Massachusetts, the Custom Machine program turns out 12 graduates every eight weeks into the manufacturing industry. Ohio Strong inspires youngsters to pursue vocational training as a career choice.

With these initiatives and many more, the trade labor gap can be filled. Vocational work offers job security and plenty of opportunities.…

How to Make a Business Plan Your Investors Will Love

When you want to start a business, you come up with an idea and modify it until you have a model that should work in real life. Now, it’s time to complete a critical step towards becoming a business owner: making your business plan.

Identify Your Purpose

Your business plan explains to potential investors what your company will look like. First, you must convince them that your business meets a need in your target market. To do this, you explain what that need is and why your plan fulfills it more than any other company. For example, if you want to manufacture drilling supplies made of carbon plate steel Tulsa OK, you must explain why your drills are more useful than your competition’s.

Explain Your Process

How exactly does your business meet your market’s needs? You’ve pitched your products in your opening section, and now you need to explain how they’re made. List the necessary supplies, equipment, and manufacturing steps in as much detail as possible. Estimate how many employees you need to handle each step, and identify potential vendors and their prices. The more specifics you can provide, the more your investors are willing to support your idea.

Propose Your Budget

Now it’s time for the tricky part of your business plan: your budget proposal. If you ask for too much money, your investors see your business as unsustainable, but if you ask for too little, they think you haven’t thought your plan through. Work with an accountant to estimate your business’s startup costs as well as your monthly operations. Then, suggest potential sources of startup capital, including your savings, loans, and crowdfunding.

Making your business plan takes lots of research and effort, but it’s a concrete step towards getting the funding you need to open your small business.…

What To Look for When Choosing Cat Engine Parts

Your company’s heavy equipment needs to work day in and day out, which is why you chose a Caterpillar product in the first place. However, every part will reach the end of its useable lifespan at some point, and you may be tempted to to replace them with parts from a different manufacturer. Here’s why you should reconsider and stick with genuine Cat engine parts for your machines.

Guaranteed Compatibility

Although a lot of salespeople will tell you that their off-brand parts are just as good as the real thing, there is still a chance that the part won’t be fully compatible. With all of the interconnected electronics in today’s high-tech equipment, there’s no telling when a non-Cat part will fail to integrate properly. Using Cat’s online tool, you can input the serial number for your equipment to find exactly the part you need the first time.

Dealer Options

Choosing a dealer to buy parts from can sometimes be a chore. You want a partner that’s reliable and can answer any questions you might have about your equipment and its components. Cat has an extensive network of dealer partners to choose from, all of which have teams who can provide brand-specific expertise. Look for a dealer that provides transparent pricing and offers a range of services like preventative maintenance.

Warranty

There are few things worse than buying new parts and having them turn out defective, only to find out that there is no warranty in place to cover issues with the manufacturing. When you’re looking for parts for your Cat equipment, be sure you give yourself the peace of mind offered by warrantied components. Your diesel, natural gas and marine engines are crucial assets, and finding a reputable dealer is one of the best ways to protect them for their full lifespan.

Making a DIY Thermocouple

A thermocouple is a device that can be used to measure temperatures. They can be used for anything from measuring a cooking turkey’s temperature to a home heating system. You can buy thermocouple connectors at the store if you expect to need a lot of them. However, if you need one, you can make your own. This is also a good science project for when the kids are bored. If nothing else, it will provide some entertainment and a working thermocouple probe.

The key to making your own is preparation. Once you have successfully gathered your materials, you can begin construction. Yes, your neighbors will look at you funny. But it will be pretty cool when you have a thermometer you built yourself. Read on for materials and instructions.

1. Materials

You will need a thermocouple wire. Sometimes, you will be able to use cheap wires. However, a more expensive version will give you the best results. You will also need a method to spot weld.

2. Manufacturing

First, you must remove the outer insulation. Then, strip each of the individual wires inside the insulation. Bend the wires so they touch. Weld them into this position. Now, you have a functioning thermocouple. However, you will want to calibrate it first.

3. Calibration

You will need the appropriate tools to use your thermocouple. Once you have these, it is time to calibrate it. To do this, gather your tools. Then, fill a bowl with ice water and another bowl with boiling water. You may want to add salt to the ice water bath. Then, use a normal thermometer to measure the temperature. Then, use your thermocouple to measure the temperature in the air and the cold water bath. Write down the readings and take the temperature of the boiling water bath.

Thermocouples can be a fun science project with the kids or something you want to do if you only need one. Either way, following these steps gives you a working temperature sensor.…

Planning Ahead With Your Factory’s Business Plan

When you’re starting a factory, you must identify your future products, market, and angle. As you work on similar big-picture ideas, don’t forget to focus on these essentials for a smooth opening.

Fuel

What kind of fuel you need for your factory depends on what you’re manufacturing, how much assembly you’re doing, and what kind of machines you’re using. Some factories run on renewable energy, such as solar power or geothermal energy. Others have machines that use too much electricity to run off anything besides fossil fuels. If you decide to process liquid oil Dallas TX rather than purchasing refined oil or gasoline, make sure that you have plenty of filters to help preserve your equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment means anything that keeps you and your employees safe at work. If you have loud machines, you need earplugs for everyone, and if particles or debris fly through the air, you need safety goggles. Research each machine’s operation to identify the top kinds of PPE you need to invest in. Then, figure out whether you want to invest in reusable safety equipment or just use disposables.

Emergency Supplies

Hopefully, your business won’t have an accident or emergency for a long time. However, if one occurs, you must be prepared. Purchase fire extinguishers and fire alarms, even if you don’t work with open heat sources. Include emergency eye-washing stations for factories with hazardous materials and other first aid supplies. Don’t forget an automated external defibrilator in case someone has a heart attack.

Before you open your business, it’s hard to think about all the details of your day-to-day operations. Unless you start planning for these supplies now, though, you’re going to have a hard time opening on schedule. Also, by incorporating these essentials into your business plan, you’re bound to impress your investors.…

Creating A Home Business For Beginning Entrepreneurs

Part of the beauty of having a home based business is that there are so many business models that adapt well to working out of your house. This article will give you ideas, suggestions and tips on how you can have a successful home based business of your own.

When starting a home business, select a product or service that you are interested in. If you are passionate about what you are doing, the likelihood of your business becoming a success is substantially increased. As a bonus, you will enjoy yourself everyday, and your new business will not seem like work.

Unless you live alone, be considerate of the others in your household. Don’t let your work take over common spaces or invade someone else’s personal area. Don’t treat your roommates or family like employees. Make your needs known, but remember that this space is a home first and an office second.

Since your home is also your work place, make a point to get out of the house on a regular basis. Don’t isolate yourself for the sake of convenience. Go have lunch in the park, grab your coffee at a bookstore, etc. Just make sure you are out breathing fresh air at least once a day.

Keep home and work communication seperate. Don’t send work e-mails from your personal account. Consider getting a seperate work phone line. If that is not an option, get caller ID. Don’t take personal calls while at work. Don’t take business calls after work hours. Politely ask friends and neighbors to call before coming to your door.

When you work at home, it is important to define your time. You can not work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. At times it can be challenging to work at home because the work is always there. You need to discipline your self about work times and fun times. If you work too long it is quite possible you will burn yourself out.

Set working hours. You might want to work through the night, but that will lead to burnout sooner or later. Give yourself specific times to work so you can be constant and know what to expect in your day. If work time is over at 6pm, don’t stay until 8pm. Respect yourself to obey your own boundaries.

Make a budget for your business. Base it on different things, such as, advertising costs, free products or samples and printing costs. Stick to this budget and cut out things you don’t need if you have to. If you can afford to raise your budget you should, at least for advertising.

Study your competition carefully. Understand their pricing and know where you fit in. Never say negative things about your competition. Have your ever noticed that malls are full of clothing stores that all manage to keep doing business? Competition brings out the best in different businesses and every business has its own unique nuances that draw different customers. Talk up your own business, your products’ features, and how they benefit your customers.

The new American dream consists of a lot of things, but being self employed is definitely one of them. Not answering to anyone other than yourself has a lot of appeal, as well as determining how much money you make. This article has shown you how you can achieve that dream for yourself.…