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Thread: Fullwood robot

  1. #1
    Kevin
    Guest

    Fullwood robot

    Ok, here goes.

    Why Fullwood?

    Delaval told me they wouldn't be selling into my area before 2010, and I can't really take to their method of one arm moving around so much to put the cow on.

    SAC tried to get into the UK a few years ago, I remember a friend of mine being offered them really cheaply, but he wasn't a robot person. They failed, but are going to launch again this year with the growing interest in robots, they will probably sell a few, but the one arm servicing 2 boxes reminded me of a car production line. Nothing wrong with this, after all we're all driving vehicles built by these robots, but they were'nt available now anyway.

    Lely, the most popular robots here in the UK. Very helpful, good advice, 2 robots would be around 235k. The exchange rate is killing these robots coming in from Holland, Delaval would be the same price. Also I wasn't happy that Lely stopped selling A2's, stopped making A2's, when they launched the A3, a robot which didn't work alongside the A2. So if you have an A2 and want to expand, you have to look for a 2nd hand A2, or buy 2 new A3's. Not very user friendly. They say that they don't make milking parlours, so they can concentrate on robots, the bits used are made purely for robots, not the same bits as are used in parlours. Surely they kind of have to say this though. This also means that you HAVE to get your parts from a Lely dealer, and there aren't many of them, yet.

    Fullwood.
    They DO make parlours, some of the components on the robot are used in parlours, and therefore ARE stocked by Fullwood agents, and there are lots of them. The Merlin is supposed to be easier to work on. Maybe most importantly, it's British, and NOT affected by the exchange rate. Not so long ago Fullwoods and Lely were very close on price, I was quoted less than 170k for 2 Merlins. 65k is almost a 3rd robot if you wanted it, call it a spare?!!
    The "mothballed" Merlin in Gelli Aur college won't be for much longer. I bought it and will be installing it alongside a new one, saving me another 30k or so, depending on how much work needs to be done on the 2nd hand one to bring it up to spec. It will be having the new static laser, and new arm with the pipes being drawn out of the way as the cow milks.

    I'm not sure how the 2 threads will run, but I'm still very interested in how Chips is getting on, so please don't stop that one??
    I don't know how much you guys want to know, I can post as little or as much as you want. The robots are due to be delivered end of Feb, I would hope we'll be using them by mid to late March.

    and so it begins......

  2. #2
    tree mover
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    We had to decide a few months back to either get into a robot or new parlour. At this point in time, we decided to go for the old system. BUT I am sure that our next parlour investment will be a robot.

    I would like to see a mobile system come available, as it would utilise farms, fragmented farms much better, cut down on walking and reduce the need for large concrete yards.

    I like reading about how you guys are getting on, and see if the robots make the difference some of us hope they can achieve.

    Imagine when tractors become fully automised and robotic- and how much interest will surround them.

  3. #3
    Ploughman1963
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Chips' thread has been fascinating for tose with dairying experience and those without. It has been particuarly pleasing to see how successful it has been and what a change it has made to Chips and family. I look forward to reading your updates and hope it all goes just as well for you. Best of luck - keep posting

    regards

  4. #4
    chips
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Hi Kevin,
    All seems very sound business going for the Merlins and as I said with todays exchange rate I might have looked harder at them especially now they have the static laser and the pipes all tucked out the way ,something which put me off the second hand A2. I thought you could still buy a new A2 but only if you've already got an A2 , must have stopped since I bought mine but thought they were still on the dutch website . I think unless something is done from lely to help with finance or similar Merlins will become ever more popular in this country .
    Milking by the end of March ? blimey that's quick , I take it you have very little building work to do ,but then that's the beauty of robots . Has your fullwood dealer got other robots on his books or are you the first ,either way it will have advantages and disadvantages , if you're the first he'll be learning as you learn but on the other hand you should have plenty of attention off him like the first Lely users had .

  5. #5
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    I might be wrong about new A2's, but let's face it, the A3 would be the way forward for Lely, they wouldn't want to be promoting new A2's.
    The 2nd hand Merlin from the college was the first in the area, maybe the first in Wales? It was a 3 year project which ran it's course. The Merlin is 6 year old now but has only done 3 years work. It's similar to the current Merlin, about a foot longer. I don't expect to get the same attention from the Fullwood agent as a Lely agent because the Lely agent would be much more concentrated on the Robots, while the fullwood guy will be running around installing and repairing Parlours, but he should be OK. I had a fullwood parlour at my last place, and the guy who serviced me there, will be doing the robots.
    It's a nice day here for a change so I'll take some "before" photos, but they won't make much sense until the work starts. If Chips can take some close-up photos of the texas gate, that would help. you might even have a plan for it?
    As for milking late March, I'm always setting tough deadlines for myself, though in fairness, I'm usually pretty close.

  6. #6
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    I just remembered, I have about 50 Fullwood pedometers for sale, no idea what they are worth yet. if anyones interested.

  7. #7
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Kevin, you are nearly right on the A2's. Lely have just stopped making any more (Jan 1st?) and you can't run A2's and A3's from the same CRS control box. You can add an A3 if you stump up for a second CRS box (another 3-4K?) I believe.


    Good luck with it. Must have some good builders & fitters on call?

  8. #8
    chips
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Here's a close up of the texas gate , basically you want a tube and a pin to put through the tube . Then cut through the tube at an angle and weld one part to the gate and one to the frame but also put the tube on the frame at an angle to help as well and so in effect it works like a gate with hinges that arn't vertical if you get me . The bottom bar wants to be about 90cm of the ground and the actual gap that the cow walks through wants to be no more than about 90cm or you will get two cows trying to get through at the same time .

  9. #9
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Thank you Chips, are these the ones sold by young Mr. Gibson? What price are they(were they)? or maybe this is a spare you might want to sell?

  10. #10
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    how do you put an "avatar" on?

  11. #11
    Yorkshire Farmer
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Thank you Chips, are these the ones sold by young Mr. Gibson? What price are they(were they)? or maybe this is a spare you might want to sell?


    Young!!! :-) God bless you sir! I may be young but I am very expirienced!!


    No these gates are the ones from Holland I would think? there are some in the attached pictures which we make here from the finest British Steel...


    RE A2/A3 - you can run them together its just the ID systems are not compatable, so they have to be separate groups, eg cows with one set of collars in one group on the A2 etc. There is a lot more to be said about compatability throught the years on A1 and A2 and now A3 Lely Robots, it has been essential all along the past 16 years to maintain their compatability from a point of spares, and so that users can expand. Also so that dealers only stock one set of spares.
    I have just bought an old robot to add to my 2 which is older than mine and been traded in for an A3, that farm only needs to change the CRS board and fit the A3 and nothing else has changed (other than then now have ruminators in stead of activity monitors as ID tags)

    It is a very interesting point you make about which companies make robots and which make parlours and a robot, I went for the ones who are specialists at what they do and focussed on only one system, both in manufacture and service. Bear in mind that milking parlour components are not likely to be constructed to tolerate the demands of 24hr on/off.. on/off.. switching when associated with robotic milking.

    But its coming up 9 years since I fitted my robots and much has changed. Many people have come and gone over the years both in making robots and farmers using them. I think things have changed so much now, and the attitude towards robotic milking is now nothing like it was when I started posting comments on the FWi forum, and uk business farming one, where I got much criticism and disbelief that a robot can milk a cow!

    Now its more a case that can the farmer cope with the robot milking his cows for him?
    and even accept that the robot does a better job?
    The colour of the machine doing the work should not matter so long as service and maintainance is alright, and this has to be done by someone who knows what they are doing, not the farmer who has plenty to do farming and ensuring his cows are milked and fed. Few farmers make engineers and technicians, and in the future as these machines get more complex there is no hope that the farmer can fix them, it will even challenge a conventional dairy engineer!

  12. #12
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshire Farmer View Post
    Young!!! :-) God bless you sir! I may be young but I am very expirienced!!
    Even if he never lurnt spelling at school!

  13. #13
    Roly-Mo
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    How far is the Fullwood technology behind Lely? How many Merlins have they actually got up and running in the UK? I guess you're taking a bit of a gamble with the Merlins, but 65k is a lot of money!

  14. #14
    chips
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Kevin , those gates of Tim's look a lot stronger than hte Lely ones , What price are they Tim ? as I will need some more yet and I've already had to repair some of the Lely ones as the cows who don't want to go in the robot give them a fair battering in the early days and then later on keen cows trying to get back in through the exit race( the one I welded today ) give them a battering . Only thing Tim's might be harder to train cows to and as Tim rightly says training cows to go through these is far harder than training them to go through the robot .

  15. #15
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Roly-mo,
    interesting to see you believe Lely are ahead of everyone in Robot technology.

    either they are ahead, or they are very good at making people believe they are. (I think I'm going to find out soon enough!!)

    The Merlin looks a lot like the Lely A2, espescially the arm, but whereas Lely stopped developing this to make the A3, Fullwood have continued to "improve" it. The pipes are drawn back into the arm to stop them being kicked off, the software is improved compared to the A2. Fullwoods Merlin software is more like the A3 in what it can do. It's very difficult to compare really, remember the Delaval robot looks totally different to Lely and fullwood, and the SAC is different again, but they are all selling. This is a growing market.

    I do think this is a gamble, but not so much going with aMerlin instead of Lely, more because of going with a Robot. You buy a Massey instead of a John Deere you're still going to farm the same way. Using a Robot is a total change, and I hope a lifestyle change, but in a good way. I could just as easily be making a huge mistake, I was told today by the last farmer on this farm, to keep the parlour ready, I'd be taking the robots out beofre long!!

    Obviously I believe this is the best thing for me, and I'm really looking forward to it.
    Time will tell.
    Remember also that even though the Fullwood is much cheaper, it's not because it's inferior, 12 months ago, before the change in the exchange rate, Lely and fullwood were much closer in price.

  16. #16
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Yeah, what price are they Tim?

    Seriously, private message me if you prefer.

  17. #17
    Yorkshire Farmer
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    A lot less than ones imported from Holland!!

    I am not sure what they will be by the time I export them to Wales though!!

    We have one which I had made for someone in kit for so that we could send it on a pallet but he never called back to place the order and confirm where to send it! I can re visit the feasibility of doing it that way...

    Ours are made in a frame which you can bolt down into the floor or to a side wall or hang on crooks from a shed post. we mostly make the single ones now (there is a double one shown in the pictures) The double ones are better where your coming in off a field. A boss cow can stand the wrong way in one side stopping some coming back in, but she cant stand in both holes which happens a lot when grazing.

    If you need to have one "floating" over a scraper passage its harder to make but possible if we have all the measurements.

    The best solution is to get a few of them set up on your existing parlour exit (if you have cows now that is?) so they can be pushed through to train to them.
    Yes, training to one way gates takes more than the training to the robot, but our style ones are better as the cow can see a way through between the "saloon" doors, and also you can tie them right open at first so they get used to walking through the frame, then slowly let the string in so that they get used to the gates brushing the side of them until they gain confience to push the doors open and soon they walk through easily without thinking.
    Whats harder with a single "falling bar" is training heifers later on, they will try to duck under and hurt their backs, or try and jump and do all sorts of damage! When you have a few cows going through a saloon door happily a heifer will tag on behind and follow the leader and learn from the cows.

    Chips - did you have fun training to your one way gates!?

  18. #18
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Your training method is EXACTLY what I intended to try. the gates will be hung in 15 foot gaps so the sooner I start the better, and I'd like at least 2 entries in a gate, there are 160 cows going through at the moment. This number is going to come down of course. Sending them in kit form sounds good, with instructions maybe? or a finished photo would do it. Probably only the upright sections would need to be sent, they would be shorter, and I believe we can now buy box iron here!! (export indeed !!)
    When I hear the prices, I'll know how interested I will be.

  19. #19
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Fullwood have continued to "improve" it. The pipes are drawn back into the arm to stop them being kicked off,
    If they have managed to reliably sort that, then it will help. Almost all of my alarms are because a cow/mad heifer (usually newly trained) has got he leg tangled in the milk tubes and split one or tangled them up. Without those alarms, I would be down to one every few months.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    12 months ago, before the change in the exchange rate, Lely and fullwood were much closer in price.
    Makes the decision a bit different than the one I made.

  20. #20
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Delaval man was out today, their robot sounds very interesting. He says they've sold 60 into the UK already, much more than fullwood. Delaval works on hydraulics instead of air, making it smoother, is this why Lely went for the new arm type? Also when training a new cow, you've got a remote control for the arm, sound like a brilliant idea to me.
    but I'd need to find another 100k!!

  21. #21
    flumpy
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    I have been following these threads with great interest. It will be interestging to see how wide the audience of bff is when one of the Delaval's new owners starts a thread, then we can really see technology at work milking our cows !

    Do Fulwood have updated software to support the new laser ?

  22. #22
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Delaval man was out today, their robot sounds very interesting. He says they've sold 60 into the UK already, much more than fullwood. Delaval works on hydraulics instead of air, making it smoother, is this why Lely went for the new arm type? Also when training a new cow, you've got a remote control for the arm, sound like a brilliant idea to me.
    but I'd need to find another 100k!!
    Lely sell a wired remote control for the arm too. About 800 I think. I thought I'd manage without one.

  23. #23
    samw90
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Delaval man was out today, their robot sounds very interesting. He says they've sold 60 into the UK already, much more than fullwood. Delaval works on hydraulics instead of air, making it smoother, is this why Lely went for the new arm type? Also when training a new cow, you've got a remote control for the arm, sound like a brilliant idea to me.
    but I'd need to find another 100k!!
    What price are the de-laval robots each? heard the ones fitted in Scotland were about 60k each but that was three months ago.

  24. #24
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    I haven't had a quote from Delaval, but I had a rep out, he said they were about the same as Lely, so I'm guessing 235k for 2. They might be cutting their prices a bit to get robots out there, but I'd bet a fair bit that 60k is wrong.

  25. #25
    hairy dave
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    Roly-mo,
    I was told today by the last farmer on this farm, to keep the parlour ready, I'd be taking the robots out beofre long!!

    I bet his father was saying 50 years ago that AI would never catch on !!

    Remember also that even though the Fullwood is much cheaper, it's not because it's inferior, 12 months ago, before the change in the exchange rate, Lely and fullwood were much closer in price.
    Friend of mine was quoted a few months ago 250,000 euros for 2 lely A3s and 205,000 for 2 Fullwood merlins

    At the time the exchange was about 80p / euro which made them similar price. Now at parity the difference is just too much.

    Dave

  26. #26
    flumpy
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Hairy Dave, what do you mean by:

    "At the time the exchange was about 80p / euro which made them similar price. Now at parity the difference is just too much."

    Are you assuming all is equal.

    Surely the price is irrelevent if you consider the ' whole project' ? Investement of any kind needs many factors taken in, the price is only the begininng, surely its about value for money ?

    Assuming these robots are meant to last years what about the costs such as service, spares, productivity (down time ), and most importantly residule value.

    If we all just looked at the retail price we would have chinese goods ?

    I remember years ago Kvernalnd were losing lots of business to spaldings for plough tips so they did a field test showing that although Kvernland points were three times the price of spaldings they lasted four times as long. Buying cheap up front can cost you long-term.

  27. #27
    hairy dave
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Your a rich man if you think price is not relevant.

    There seems to be an assumption that Lely is the best machine, or maybe Lely are best at telling the story.
    If I was in the market for robots I could cope with maybe a premium of 15000 on Lely`s but no way the current 50,000 differential

    As you say there are many other factors to consider, one of the most important being service.

    If you are on the blessed Tim`s doorstep that`s a big mark for Lely, but if you have a well established Fullwood dealer within a few miles then that would swing it for me

    Dave

  28. #28
    pellow
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    pound has strengthened a little bit 91 or 92 p now

  29. #29
    Kevin
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Unless it's a hobby, price has to play some part, though obviously, I'm hoping that I'm not sacrificing quality for price.
    regarding service and parts, the local guy isn't a robot expert, but he is local, and he will have a phone, and I believe he will know enough, and know someone else with a phone who is an expert if need be.
    With Lely, they don't do parlours so the Lely guy is bound to be an expert. But I thought that if they put someone in my area and they didn't sell enough robots, common sense says they might have to rethink it. there's always going to be A local fullwood guy.

    regarding gates, Chips, am I right in thinking your gate opens forward and up, so the only thing to bring it back to shut is it's own weight bringing it down. Tim, your gates look as if they don't go up, just forward with a spring either pushing or pulling them back?

  30. #30
    flumpy
    Guest

    Re: Fullwood robot

    Hi Kevin,

    I worded that a little wrong, of course price is important, however the ammounts you guys are spending, if it were me I would really like to know what my return on investment would be. Then I would make a decision based on this, not only the retail price.

    Service must be a real consideration for you guys. I assume if the machine is not working the economics go out of the window, so for sure service would need to be near the top of the agenda.

    What help do you guys get from the manufacturers when you start up ? Cow training, feeding, gates , your own training ect ?

    If they do break down, how long to get them going again ?

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