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 the 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. The I-flow concept contributes to this in many different ways.
Free to walk in
Cows dislike obstacles. The Astronaut’s straight route, the I-flow, offers unhindered entry, 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.
Contact with other cows during milking
Cows are sociable creatures: they are herd animals and they prefer to stay in the group. The straight route and the open construction of the cow cubicles ensure that the cow and the group are never out of sight of each other. The natural interaction prevents stress during milking, and a stress-free cow is a productive cow. The cows let down 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.