Milk leaving the farm at exactly the right temperature and in the best quality. A starting point that benefits not only the dairy farmer but ultimately the consumer as well. Reason for Lely to start the development of the Lely Hubble in 2000 to accurately monitor milk temperature and quality. An innovation from which we learned a lot; knowledge we still apply within our innovations today!
Today, it is impossible to imagine the Lely product portfolio and many dairy farms worldwide without the milking robot. Yet this was not the case in the early years of the 21st century. “Despite the increasing level of automation within the sector - reducing manual actions and checks - the need to safeguard and monitor milk quality remained unchanged," Cost & Value Engineer Aalze Veenstra looks back. "Milk production involves high quality and hygiene requirements; logical since this product ends up in the fridge of countless households. From the need to be able to accurately monitor the milk temperature and cleaning of the milk lines and milk tank, the idea for the Lely Hubble was born."
A seemingly simple box - the size of a shoe box and equipped with sensors, both in milk tank and milk lines - observed various processes like cooling and cleaning. Is the milk optimally cooled, is the tank sufficiently cleaned and is the cleaning of the milk line - often from a milking robot - proceeding properly? The Hubble closely monitored these processes. Deviations were shown to the dairy farmer directly on the screen of his PC. And the farmer was alarmed when there was a problem with cooling or cleaning.
Regardless of the type of conventional milking system or robotic milking system in a barn, the Hubble was easy to install. Aalze: "We effortlessly met the technical challenge of being able to connect the Hubble to any type of milk tank. That made the product accessible and user-friendly. In addition, Lely was the only provider that not only provided insight into temperature and hygiene, but also into the absence of any cleaning products that could have a negative effect on milk quality. Compare it to your dishwasher at home, where it is also about the combination of cold and hot water with chemicals."
In the end, the Lely Hubble was not widely marketed. Aalze: "The whole issue around monitoring milk lines, cleaning and temperature is something that we continue to include in further development of our innovations to this day. In fact, you could say we were ahead of our time! Especially now that there is an increasing emphasis from dairy farms - and society - on circularity. Cleaning costs a lot of water and chemicals. We need to take up the challenge together to reduce that further!"