The cow is central to all of the products that we develop. This also applies to the design of the Lely Astronaut. Keeping the cow in mind led to free cow traffic. This is the basis of our automatic milking system and the most natural way possible to milk.

Natural milking and free cow traffic are not only about the cow’s freedom to choose when to eat, drink, rest or be milked. They are also about the cow’s well-being and degree of comfort during milking.

Thanks to the I-flow concept cows feel comfortable. With the silent hybrid arm and improved teat detection system cow comfort is increased even more. All together resulting in a new milestone in cow comfort.

I-flow concept

Cows dislike obstacles. The Astronaut’s straight route, the I-flow, offers unhindered entrance, leading cows more easily to their milking turn. As a result, the number of times the cow is milked and the milk yield both increase.

Also, cows are sociable creatures: they are herd animals and they prefer to stay in the group. The open construction of the Astronaut’s cow box ensures that the cow and the rest of the herd are never out of sight of each other. This natural interaction prevents stress during milking, and a stress-free cow is a productive cow. The cows release their milk with more ease and the milking is quicker, increasing yield.

Lely’s research shows that the milking time per cow is reduced by 4% in the case of Astronaut robots with I-flow compared to previous models with no straight route.

Hybrid arm

The principle of the robotic arm has proved itself as the smartest solution for taking care of the milking process. It is underneath the cow during the whole milking process. The arm follows the cow, allowing her maximum freedom of movement in the box.

The hybrid arm of the new Astronaut A5 combines the advantages of electrical driven movements with the softness and the power of air. A huge pneumatic cylinder carries the weight of the arm using virtually no air while electrical components move the arm with great accuracy. The air in the system balances the heavy load of the arm and buffers cow kicks, protecting the electrical system.

Since the silent hybrid arm is significantly quieter cows experience more rest during milking. Milking has become easier through accurate and swift attachment of the cups to the udder. In addition the robot arm is faster and more decisive compared to its predecessors.

Teat detection system

Fast, consistent and accurate connecting of the teat cups is more relaxing for a cow. A three-layer laser system delivers the most accurate teat-position information, independent from light or background.

The udder and teat position is stored after each milking. Together with the 3D camera for accurate localizing the cows’ position in the box, the brushes and cups can easily find the teats.

The wide reach of the hybrid arm ensures smooth connecting for almost all cow breeds or cows with devious-positioned teats. The changing shape of the udder during lactation of the cow is no problem for the robot.

Increased milk yield

The I-flow concept, hybrid arm and teat detection system ensure a smooth and quick milking for all cows in the herd. Natural behavior is promoted taking away any possible stress: cows feel safe and have enough room to move during milking without disturbing the milking process itself.

It’s this freedom that makes cows adjust more quickly to automatic milking. They will visit the Lely Astronaut voluntarily and more frequently which increases the capacity and ultimately the milk yield.


Producing high-quality milk requires time and care. It requires healthy and happy cows. It requires making the right choices. Choices that fit in with you and your goals. Our solutions for automatic milking help you make the right decisions for attaining these goals.