With Automatic Control Patents (Class 119/14.08)
  • Patent number: 11051484
    Abstract: A teat sprayer for use in dairy applications is described that uses an articulated arm and system to deliver a spray to a teat and move between multiple dairy animals. In one aspect the dairy animal teat treatment apparatus, comprises a spray inlet, a spray nozzle, a flow path extending between the spray inlet and the spray nozzle, and an articulated arm conveying the spray nozzle, movement of the articulated arm driven by an actuator. Articulated arm movement may be between a retracted position in which the spray nozzle and articulated arm are retracted and an extended position in which at least part of the articulated arm and spray nozzle thereon is extended, moving the spray nozzle to a position configured to be about an animal's udder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2020
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2021
    Assignee: FARM IMPROVEMENTS LIMITED
    Inventors: Gary Arnott, Grant Chemaly
  • Patent number: 11041805
    Abstract: A method (100) and a system for determining pH values of fermented/acidified animal/vegetable milk products from inline optical measurements, the method comprising: emitting light into a fermented/acidified animal/vegetable milk product (101); optically detecting scattering light coming from said fermented/acidified animal/vegetable milk product, generated from said emitted light once received therein, to collect scattered light data (102); calculating by a computing device including one or more processors running an algorithm at least one value of a variable from the collected scattered light data (103); and obtaining, by said computing device a pH value of the fermented/acidified animal/vegetable milk product by using said at least one calculated value of a variable (104), wherein a single wavelength is used for collecting the scattered light data.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 22, 2021
    Assignee: UNIVERSITAT AUTONOMA DE BARCELONA
    Inventors: Manuel Castillo Zambudio, Oscar Arango Bedoya, Antonio José Trujillo Mesa
  • Patent number: 11006613
    Abstract: Disclosed is a system for treating dairy livestock having fore legs and hind legs, wherein the system comprises a milking parlor ramp, livestock stalls positioned along at least part of the milking parlor ramp, wherein each stall is configured to contain one dairy livestock, at least one vertical upright teat cup holder comprising teat cups and a mobile unit. The mobile unit comprises equipment for treating livestock and a processor, where the mobile unit is configured to travel between the fore legs and hind legs of the dairy livestock on the milking parlor ramp and use the equipment to perform at least one action related to a treatment of the dairy livestock. Also disclosed is that the equipment includes an arm configured to withdraw the teat cups from the vertical upright teat cup holder and connect them to the dairy livestock.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 7, 2019
    Date of Patent: May 18, 2021
    Assignee: Afimilk Agricultural Cooperative Ltd.
    Inventors: Niv Pinsky, Efraim Garti, Doron Shalem, Adar Shachar, Haviv Amnon
  • Patent number: 10874084
    Abstract: A system for cleaning a dairy animal milker unit and applying dip to a dairy animal, the system includes a main control, an air supply, a water supply, a backflush fluid supply, a dip supply, a stall control for receiving the air, water, backflush fluid and dip supplies, and a safety valve that is adjacent to a downstream portion of the milker unit to control backflush and dip fluids being fed to the milker unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 2, 2018
    Date of Patent: December 29, 2020
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin L. Torgerson, Nathan Hedlund, Matthew J. Stuessel
  • Patent number: 10845826
    Abstract: A diaphragmatic elbow damper joining two angularly oriented channels and configured to seal the channels in the absence of fluid flow overcoming gravity and atmospheric pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 24, 2020
    Assignee: VE Innovation I, LLC
    Inventors: David Ho, Eugene Siterman, Arkady Siterman
  • Patent number: 10827720
    Abstract: In order to avoid negative changes in the teat ends of a cow, in particular to avoid hyperkeratoses, the invention proposes a method for operating a milking system in which at least one of the parameters from total pressure per cycle, minimum total pressure per cycle or the ratio of total suction to total pressure is determined for at least one animal of a herd during at least one part of a milking process, and is compared with at least one reference value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2019
    Date of Patent: November 10, 2020
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventors: Franz Uhlenbruck, Martin Spohr
  • Patent number: 10750712
    Abstract: An implement for automatically milking a dairy animal, such as a cow, comprises a milking parlour, a sensor for observing a teat, and a milking robot for automatically attaching a teat cup to the teat. The milking robot comprises a robot control that is connected to the sensor. The sensor comprises a radiation source for emitting light, a receiver for receiving electromagnetic radiation reflected from the dairy animal, a lens, and sensor control unit. The sensor comprises a matrix with a plurality of rows and a plurality of columns of receivers. The sensor control unit is designed to determine for each of the receivers a phase difference between the emitted and the reflected electromagnetic radiation in order to calculate the distance from the sensor to a plurality of points on the part to be observed of the dairy animal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 29, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 25, 2020
    Assignee: MAASLAND N.V.
    Inventor: Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 10743511
    Abstract: A milking robot for completely automatically performing a teat-related action on a dairy animal. The robot includes a frame with a movable arm structure and a robot arm and actuators, a teat cup, a flexible connecting means connected between the teat cup and the arm structure, a retracting device for pulling the teat cup back onto the arm structure by means of the connecting means, a vacuum device for applying a milking vacuum to the teat cup, and a control unit for controlling the milking robot. The robot further includes at least one of an arm structure position-determining device for determining a measured value relating to an arm structure position, and an arm structure acceleration-determining device for determining an arm structure acceleration. The control unit is configured to control the retracting device and/or the vacuum device, if the determined measured value satisfies a predetermined measured value criterion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2020
    Assignee: LELY PATENT N.V.
    Inventors: Dik-Jan Wisse, Paulus Jacobus Maria Van Adrichem, Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 10743512
    Abstract: An implement for automatically milking a dairy animal, such as a cow, comprises a milking parlour, a sensor for observing a teat, and a milking robot for automatically attaching a teat cup to the teat. The milking robot comprises a robot control that is connected to the sensor. The sensor comprises a radiation source for emitting light, a receiver for receiving electromagnetic radiation reflected from the dairy animal, a lens, and sensor control unit. The sensor comprises a matrix with a plurality of rows and a plurality of columns of receivers. The sensor control unit is designed to determine for each of the receivers a phase difference between the emitted and the reflected electromagnetic radiation in order to calculate the distance from the sensor to a plurality of points on the part to be observed of the dairy animal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 3, 2018
    Date of Patent: August 18, 2020
    Assignee: MAASLAND N.V.
    Inventor: Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 10721908
    Abstract: Mat (12) for a floor (11) for livestock facilities, which floor (11) is formed with a defined longitudinal direction, the mat (12) comprising a liquid-impermeable support layer (121) onto which a wear layer (122) is applied and which support layer (121) can be imposed an intermittent bending to essentially be able to connect against a cylindrical object having the diameter of Ø=2Ro, and which mat (12) is provided with first slip-reducing means (502, 602, 702, 802, 902), wherein the bending primarily is located to straight and parallel lines, grooves, or bands extending transversely to the mat in or on the wear layer (122), and that the bending in these lines, grooves, or bands amounts to 1/r, wherein Ro?r. Also concerns a floor having such a mat and a livestock facility having such a floor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: LINDVALLS PATENTBOLAG AB
    Inventor: Tommy Lindvall
  • Patent number: 10701889
    Abstract: A system includes a platform, an extension member, a spray tool member, and a spray tool. The platform is coupled to and positioned above the carriage. The platform has a length greater than and orthogonal to its width. The extension member is coupled to the platform and its longitudinal axis is parallel to the platform's length. The spray tool member's back end is coupled to the extension member's front end. The spray tool is coupled to the spray tool member's front end and includes a first nozzle oriented in a first direction, a second nozzle oriented in the first direction and positioned in line with the first nozzle, a third nozzle oriented in a second direction and positioned between and offset from the first and second nozzles, and a fourth nozzle oriented in a third direction and positioned between and offset from the first and second nozzles.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: July 7, 2020
    Assignee: TECHNOLOGIES HOLDINGS CORP.
    Inventors: Joel R. Henry, Bruce A. Schroeder, Adam R. Hachey, Rizwan Ajaz, Peter Willem van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 10694713
    Abstract: A milking system including: at least one milking device; a milk storage vessel storing milk obtained with the milking device; a milk line system with a milk line with a first end connected to the milking device and with a second end connected to the milk storage vessel; and a monitoring system including: a sensor configured to measure a fluid parameter value of a fluid in the milk line, and a control system actively connected to the sensor and configured to process the measured fluid parameter value and generate a transition signal on fulfilment of a predefined transition criterion. The milk line includes a substantially vertical line portion, and a proposed discharge direction of milk runs through the milk line from the milking device to the milk storage vessel and is raised through the line portion, wherein the sensor is placed in or on the substantially vertical line portion.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 30, 2020
    Assignee: Lely Patent N.V.
    Inventors: Mattheus Jacob De Hullu, Dirk Dijkshoorn, Ruben Alexander Van Tilburg
  • Patent number: 10653101
    Abstract: A system that includes a robotic arm, a laser, a memory, and a processor. The processor is configured to position the laser adjacent to a dairy livestock and to modify teat location information for one or more teats of the dairy livestock based on a robot position offset between the dairy livestock and the robotic arm. The processor is further configured to generate a teat position associated with an unknown teat based on a scan of the dairy livestock and to determine a position distances between the teat position and teats of the dairy livestock. The processor is further configured to identify a teat of the dairy livestock with the smallest position distance, to associate a teat identifier for the unknown teat with the identified teat, and to store the association in the memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: May 19, 2020
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Mark A. Foresman, Bradley J. Prevost, Marinus P. Van Aart
  • Patent number: 10595498
    Abstract: A system that includes a robotic arm, a laser, a three-dimensional (3D) camera, and a processor. The processor is configured to send instructions to position the robotic arm adjacent to a dairy livestock, to send a signal that initiates scanning a portion of the dairy livestock, and to generate teat candidate position information based on the scan of the dairy livestock. The processor is further configured receive target teat information, identify a teat candidate within a teat location range of the target teat, and link the identified teat candidate with a teat identifier. The processor is further configured to send instructions to the robotic arm to move at least a portion of the robotic arm toward the target teat based on the teat candidate position information for the identified teat candidate that is linked with the teat identifier.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Mark A. Foresman, Bradley J. Prevost
  • Patent number: 10537087
    Abstract: Determining the quality of milk due to the presence of mastitis by monitoring the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) of the raw (unpasteurized) milk. The ORP of the milk is tested by a sensor placed into the milk soon after having been removed from the animal (e.g., cow) and prior to the milk being combined in a bulk tank with milk from other animals. The sensor can be positioned in the line carrying the milk from the cow, allowing real-time testing of the milk. Each mammary gland (e.g., quarter) is tested separately, and the ORP levels are compared. Any gland (e.g., quarter) having a level that deviates from the other levels by a predetermined amount is considered suspect for mastitis.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 30, 2016
    Date of Patent: January 21, 2020
    Inventor: Geoffrey J. Westfall
  • Patent number: 10512243
    Abstract: A system includes a cylinder and a piston that moves within the cylinder from a retracted position to an extended position. A vacuum port facilitates application of a vacuum pressure to the cylinder that results in a vacuum force being applied to the piston, which causes the piston to move toward a top end of the cylinder to the retracted position. A spring member applies a spring force to the piston when the piston is in the retracted position. The spring force offsets at least a portion of the vacuum force. A sensor generates a displacement signal in response to detecting movement of the piston from the retracted position toward the extended position. A control unit receives the displacement signal generated by the sensor and generates a valve control signal to be communicated to a valve located on a vacuum line connecting a vacuum source to the vacuum port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 5, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 24, 2019
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Ejvind D. Hansen, Joergen Frederiksen
  • Patent number: 10499607
    Abstract: A system includes a robotic arm, a laser, and a processor. The processor is configured to determine whether a distance between a left and right teat of a dairy livestock is less than or equal to a predetermined distance, and if so, command the robotic arm to move to a scan location that is between the left and right teats. The processor is further configured to command the laser to perform a scan of the teats after the robotic arm is at the scan location and to determine whether the left and right teats are found in the scan. If both the left and right teats are found in the scan, the processor commands the robotic arm to attach a teat cup to either the left or right teat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2019
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Mark A. Foresman, Marijn Van Anart, Peter Willem van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 10440931
    Abstract: An arm device for a milking parlor arrangement for the automatic milking of milk-producing animals comprises an arm and a holder, which is coupled to the arm in a pivotable manner and has a milking cluster, wherein the arm is connected to an arm-drive shaft and is mounted such that it can be rotated about an arm axis, wherein a holder-drive shaft is mounted in the arm-drive shaft such that it can be rotated independently of the arm-drive shaft, wherein the arm-drive shaft and the holder-drive shaft are designed such that they can be coupled to a drive unit, wherein the arm device has at least one transmission element in the form of a pulling means for transmitting rotary or pivoting movements. The at least one transmission element is fixed in each case to respective wheels, with which it interacts in order to transmit rotary or pivoting movements. The invention also relates to a divider for a milking parlor arrangement having said arm device, and to a milking-parlor arrangement.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2019
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventor: Otto Krone
  • Patent number: 10349616
    Abstract: A milking system includes an assembly, a controller, and a milking cluster configured to attach to one or more teats of a livestock. The assembly includes a clevis, a piston, a pulley system, and a sensor. The clevis includes a first member, a second member, a base member, and a cylinder. The cylinder is coupled to the base member. The piston is positioned at least partially within the cylinder, and is configured to move within the cylinder. The pulley system of the assembly includes a cord configured to be coupled to the milking cluster. The assembly includes a sensor configured to generate a displacement signal in response to detecting that a portion of the clevis is within a predefined distance of the sensor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2019
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: John Seehafer, Todd Willfahrt
  • Patent number: 10306864
    Abstract: A system comprising a robotic arm, a plurality of grabbers, a sensor, and a preparation cup. The robotic arm has a first end and a recessed portion. The grabbers are coupled to the robotic arm at the first end. The sensor is positioned inside the recessed portion of the robotic arm at a first distance from the first end and at a first angle. The preparation cup is coupled to wings having a body portion, a first extended portion, and a second extended portion. The body portion is coupled to a portion of the preparation cup, the first extended portion extends in a first direction and the second extended portion extends in a second direction. The wings are operable to be magnetically coupled to the plurality of grabbers via the first and second extended portions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 29, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Robert J. Godfrey, Bradley A. Schaller
  • Patent number: 10306863
    Abstract: A robotic arm maneuvers a teat preparation cup and executes instructions from a robotic arm controller. The controller comprises an interface, a memory, and a processor. The processor instructs the sensor to perform a first scan. If the first scan discovers a first set of teats, the processor moves the robotic arm a first distance and instructs the sensor to perform a second scan. If the second scan discovers a second set of teats, the processor moves the robotic arm to a location under the first teat, and instructs the sensor to perform a third scan. The processor determines if the third scan discovers a third set of teats. If each of the first set, second set, and third set of discovered teats comprises the first teat, the processor instructs the robotic arm to attach the preparation cup to the first teat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 2016
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Mark A. Foresman, Bradley J. Prevost
  • Patent number: 10292361
    Abstract: An implement for keeping dairy animals, provided with a first and a second production unit and with a care unit having a plurality of subunits, wherein each production unit is provided with at least one accommodation area for a production group, which comprises a group of lactating dairy animals, and with a milking implement for milking the production group, wherein the subunits of the care unit at least include a calving unit for separately accommodating dairy animals in a calving period, and a milking implement for milking newly calved dairy animals, and an infirmary unit for separately accommodating sick animals, and wherein the care unit forms a connection between the production units. There is thus provided a compact disposition, comprising efficient and short distances, for dairy animals requiring care.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: May 21, 2019
    Assignee: Lely Patent N.V.
    Inventor: Gerth Petersen
  • Patent number: 10251366
    Abstract: In order to avoid negative changes in the teat ends of a cow, in particular to avoid hyperkeratoses, the invention proposes a method for operating a milking system in which at least one of the parameters from total pressure per cycle, minimum total pressure per cycle or the ratio of total suction to total pressure is determined for at least one animal of a herd during at least one part of a milking process, and is compared with at least one reference value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 22, 2013
    Date of Patent: April 9, 2019
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventors: Franz Uhlenbruck, Martin Spohr
  • Patent number: 10159213
    Abstract: A fluid measurement device and methods of manufacturing and using the same are disclosed. The fluid measurement device includes a conduit configured to transport a fluid, a conductivity sensor in the conduit, and a voltage sensor in the conduit and having first and second rings, probes, or plates. The conductivity sensor is configured to determine the conductivity of the fluid. The voltage sensor is configured to receive a first voltage on the first ring, probe, or plate and detect a capacitance or a second voltage on the second ring, probe, or plate. A value of the capacitance or second voltage corresponds to the amount of fluid in the voltage sensor. The total amount of fluid through the conduit may be determined from amount of fluid in the voltage sensor, the fluid flow rate, the fluid velocity, and the number of samples or the sampling rate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 13, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2018
    Assignee: BECO Dairy Automation Inc.
    Inventors: Stan Brown, Monte Lininger
  • Patent number: 10143178
    Abstract: A milking robot comprises a movable arm having a length in a longitudinal direction, and at least one gripper swivably mounted to the movable arm such that it moves between a first position parallel to the movable arm's longitudinal direction and a second position at which the gripper extends sideways in a horizontal plane away from the movable arm's longitudinal direction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Peter Willem van der Sluis, Henk Hofman
  • Patent number: 10130067
    Abstract: This invention is related to a double grab, its rinsing cup and milking machine provided therewith, and the method for automatically applying teat cups to the teats of an udder of an animal to be milked. The double grab, according to the invention, includes: —a first housing part provided with a first magnet designed to hold a first teat cup; —a second housing part, installed substantially in a horizontal plane next to the first housing part, provided with a second magnet designed to hold a second teat cup whereby each housing part is provided with separate pivoting means that can be activated and is designed to make the related housing part pivot around a pivoting axis which in use, extends substantially in a horizontal direction, substantially in a widthwise direction of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 26, 2018
    Date of Patent: November 20, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Hendrik Hofman, Peter van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 10104863
    Abstract: An apparatus includes a carriage, camera, spray tool, and controller. The carriage is movably coupled to a track. The camera and spray tool are coupled to the carriage. The controller moves the carriage along the track away from a starting position based on a first signal from the camera, and as the carriage moves away from the starting position, discharges, through the spray tool, a solution for a first time. The controller moves the carriage towards the starting position after the solution has been discharged for the first time, and based on a second signal from the camera as the carriage moves towards the starting position and before the carriage reaches the starting position, moves the carriage away from the starting position. As the carriage moves away from the starting position, the controller discharges, through the spray tool, the solution for a second time.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 9, 2018
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corporation
    Inventors: Joel R. Henry, Bruce A. Schroeder, Adam R. Hachey, Rizwan Ajaz, Peter Willem van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 10085411
    Abstract: A pressure control device for a milking machine includes a housing, a vacuum inlet, and two control circuits. Each circuit includes a main vacuum passage extending through the housing from the vacuum inlet to an outlet, and a main valve configured to take one of an open position and a closed position. A pilot passage extends from the main vacuum passage and includes a pilot valve body configured to take one of an open pilot position and a closed pilot position. The pilot passage acts in the open pilot position on the main valve to move to the open position, and permits in the closed pilot position the main valve to move to the closed position. A solenoid controls the pilot valve body. A holding member receives the solenoid and is attached to the housing through a first bayonet coupling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2018
    Assignee: DELAVAL HOLDING AB
    Inventor: Thomas Johansson
  • Patent number: 10088572
    Abstract: A time-of-flight (TOF) camera system for a robot milking system includes a housing accommodating a light source, imaging optics, an image sensor, and electronics; a front part including a light transparent window disposed in front of the light source and the imaging optics; and fasteners. The housing has a front side and a back side, and the front part has a front side and a backside, the surface of the front side being flat and including a front surface of the light transparent window. The fasteners releasably mechanically fasten the front part to the housing with the back side of the front part and the front side of the housing facing each other. The fasteners are maneuverable from the back side of the housing to fasten the front part to, and release the front part from, the housing, thereby enabling the front part to be replaceable.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 2, 2018
    Assignee: DELAVAL HOLDING AB
    Inventors: Thomas Axelsson, Nils-Erik Holmertz, Helmut Obermuller
  • Patent number: 10051833
    Abstract: The milking machine and method of cleaning the same comprises more than one teat cup with a teat cup liner and a discharge, a pulsator with a control device, and a cleaning device to clean the teat cup by supplying cleaning liquid in the teat cup, wherein the control device is configured to adjust per teat cup, during the cleaning, the flow of the cleaning liquid through the teat cup liner and the discharge by pulsation of the teat cup liner. The teat cup liner itself acts as a valve during the cleaning. This has the advantage that a separate cleaning valve in the milk line is not required, which results in a simpler and more reliable construction.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2018
    Assignee: LELY PATENT N.V.
    Inventor: Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 10039259
    Abstract: An implement for automatically milking a dairy animal, such as a cow, comprises a milking parlour, a sensor for observing a teat, and a milking robot for automatically attaching a teat cup to the teat. The milking robot comprises a robot control that is connected to the sensor. The sensor comprises a radiation source for emitting light, a receiver for receiving electromagnetic radiation reflected from the dairy animal, a lens, and sensor control unit. The sensor comprises a matrix with a plurality of rows and a plurality of columns of receivers. The sensor control unit is designed to determine for each of the receivers a phase difference between the emitted and the reflected electromagnetic radiation in order to calculate the distance from the sensor to a plurality of points on the part to be observed of the dairy animal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 10, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2018
    Assignee: MAASLAND N.V.
    Inventor: Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 10010047
    Abstract: A method that can monitor a milking process is presented and, in particular, a method and apparatus that can effectively determine the stage of the milking process. An additional aspect is to provide a method that may measure a vacuum level associated with the milking process, receive an operational state of a valve associated with the milking process, and compare the vacuum level and valve operational state to criteria to determine the milking stage. Further, the method may be configured to issue an indication of the milking stage or issue an alarm if alarm conditions are satisfied.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 16, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 3, 2018
    Assignee: TAG IT TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED
    Inventors: Russell Norman Gibbs, Trent Allan Finlay
  • Patent number: 9974278
    Abstract: A system that includes a laser, a memory, and a processor. The processor is configured to receive a teat position associated with an unknown teat, determine a first position distance between the teat position and a first teat, determine a second position distance between the teat position and a second teat, determine a third position distance between the teat position and a third teat, and determine a fourth position distance between the teat position and a fourth teat. The processor is further configured to compare the first position distance, the second position distance, the third position distance, and the fourth position distance to determine a smallest position distance from the unknown teat, identify a teat of the dairy livestock corresponding with the smallest position distance, associate a teat identifier for the unknown teat with the identified teat, and store the association in the memory.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 2016
    Date of Patent: May 22, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Mark A. Foresman, Bradley J. Prevost, Marinus P. Van Aart
  • Patent number: 9968069
    Abstract: A milking cluster used for milking a dairy animal in a milking parlor, the milking cluster including a teat cup unit, a teat cup, a drive device, a hose arrangement joined to the teat cup, a hose guide engaging the hose arrangement, and a flexible element that pivots the hose guide between a fixed position and a second position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2018
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventor: Otto Krone
  • Patent number: 9961874
    Abstract: This invention is related to a double grab, its rinsing cup and milking machine provided therewith, and the method for automatically applying test cups to the teats of an udder of an animal to be milked. The double grab according to the invention includes: —a first housing part provided with a first magnet designed to hold a first teat cup; —a second housing part, installed substantially in a horizontal plane next to the first housing part, provided with a second magnet designed to hold a second teat cup; —whereby each housing part is provided with separate pivoting means that can be activated and is designed to make the related housing part pivot around a pivoting axis which in use, extends substantially in a horizontal direction, substantially in a widthwise direction of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2017
    Date of Patent: May 8, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Hendrik Hofman, Peter van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 9930863
    Abstract: A system for cleaning a dairy animal milker unit and applying dip to a dairy animal, the system includes a main control, an air supply, a water supply, a backflush fluid supply, a dip supply, a stall control for receiving the air, water, backflush fluid and dip supplies, and a safety valve that is adjacent to a downstream portion of the milker unit to control backflush and dip fluids being fed to the milker unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 17, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 3, 2018
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin L. Torgerson, Nathan Hedlund, Matthew J. Stuessel
  • Patent number: 9918450
    Abstract: A space divider of a milking parlor arrangement for at least one milking parlor for milking milk-producing animals, wherein the space divider is arranged approximately parallel to a longitudinal axis of the animal to be milked, has an arm device having a milking cluster, which can be adjusted from a parking position to a working position and back. The arm device is arranged with the milking cluster in the parking position in the space divider and can be adjusted into the working position laterally to the animal to be milked between the front and rear legs thereof. The space divider is designed in such a way that no additional space is required between adjacent animals, so that many animals can be milked in a milking parlor arrangement while the smallest possible amount of space is required.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2013
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2018
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventors: Otto Krone, Derk Hensel, Thomas Mader, Rolf Teckentrup, Armin Hönscheid, Dieter Hille, Magnus Wiethoff, Marc Trossehl, Reinhard Balkenhol, Adib Matty
  • Patent number: 9888663
    Abstract: A method comprises receiving a displacement signal generated by a sensor, the displacement signal generated by the sensor in response to detecting movement of a piston from a retracted position in a cylinder toward an extended position in the cylinder. The method further comprises generating, in response to receiving the displacement signal, a valve control signal to be communicated to a valve located on a vacuum line connecting a vacuum source to a vacuum port of the cylinder. The valve control signal causes the valve to move from a first position in which a vacuum pressure is applied to the cylinder via the vacuum port to a second position in which atmospheric pressure is applied to the cylinder via the vacuum port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2018
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Ejvind D. Hansen, Joergen Frederiksen
  • Patent number: 9883652
    Abstract: A system for cleaning a dairy animal milker unit and applying dip to a dairy animal, the system includes a main control, an air supply, a water supply, a backflush fluid supply, a dip supply, a stall control for receiving the air, water, backflush fluid and dip supplies, and a safety valve that is adjacent to a downstream portion of the milker unit to control backflush and dip fluids being fed to the milker unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 6, 2018
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Kevin L. Torgerson, Nathan Hedlund, Matthew J. Stuessel
  • Patent number: 9848576
    Abstract: A milking cluster for a milking parlor for milking milk-giving animals, having at least one teat cup unit having a housing, a teat cup, a drive appliance, a pulling element arrangement connected to the teat cup, and the pulling element arrangement has a segment unit having at least two pulling elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2016
    Date of Patent: December 26, 2017
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventors: Otto Krone, Markus Auburger
  • Patent number: 9807973
    Abstract: This invention is related to a double grab, its rinsing cup and milking machine provided therewith, and the method for automatically applying teat cups to the teats of an udder of an animal to be milked. The double grab according to the invention includes:—a first housing part provided with a first magnet designed to hold a first teat cup;—a second housing part, installed substantially in a horizontal plane next to the first housing part, provided with a second magnet designed to hold a second teat cup;—whereby each housing part is provided with separate pivoting means that can be activated and is designed to make the related housing part pivot around a pivoting axis which in use, extends substantially in a horizontal direction, substantially in a widthwise direction of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Hendrik Hofman, Peter van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 9807974
    Abstract: This invention is related to a double grab, its rinsing cup and milking machine provided therewith, and the method for automatically applying teat cups to the teats of an udder of an animal to be milked. The double grab according to the invention includes: —a first housing part provided with a first magnet designed to hold a first teat cup; —a second housing part, installed substantially in a horizontal plane next to the first housing part, provided with a second magnet designed to hold a second teat cup; —whereby each housing part is provided with separate pivoting means that can be activated and is designed to make the related housing part pivot around a pivoting axis which in use, extends substantially in a horizontal direction, substantially in a widthwise direction of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 18, 2017
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Hendrik Hofman, Peter van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 9788522
    Abstract: A method is provided for a milking system including a moving device, milking stalls each provided with teat cups, an automatic teat cup attachment system, and an automatic teat cup returning system configured to return the teat cups to default storage positions subsequent to the milking. Current positions of the teat cups are, for each of the milking stalls, sensed after the teat cup returning system withdraws the teat cups, but before the automatic teat cup attachment system fetches the teat cups. The sensed positions of the teat cups are, for each of the milking stalls, compared with the default storage positions to determine whether the sensed current positions of the teat cups deviate from the default storage positions by at least a specified distance, and an action is performed when the sensed positions deviate from the default storage positions by at least the specified distance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 2, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2017
    Assignee: DELAVAL HOLDING AB
    Inventor: Helmut Obermuller
  • Patent number: 9743634
    Abstract: A method of monitoring a milking process by a milking apparatus that includes a teatcup with a pulsation space and an airline to deliver varying levels of pressure to the pulsation space. The method includes: measuring airflow within the airline to obtain an indication of volume of displaced air within the pulsation space; comparing the volume with a reference value; and determining a connection parameter, indicating how the teatcup is connected to the teat, based on the comparison. The displaced air volume correlates to the extent the teat protrudes into the teatcup, thus providing information on how the teatcup is connected. Also provided is a milking system incorporating the method.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 24, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2017
    Assignee: LELY PATENT N.V.
    Inventors: Allan Walter Wilson, Michiel Adriaan Van Dorp
  • Patent number: 9713313
    Abstract: This invention is related to a double grab, its rinsing cup and milking machine provided therewith, and the method for automatically applying teat cups to the teats of an udder of an animal to be milked. The double grab according to the invention includes:—a first housing part provided with a first magnet designed to hold a first teat cup;—a second housing part, installed substantially in a horizontal plane next to the first housing part, provided with a second magnet designed to hold a second teat cup;—whereby each housing part is provided with separate pivoting means that can be activated and is designed to make the related housing part pivot around a pivoting axis which in use, extends substantially in a horizontal direction, substantially in a widthwise direction of the arm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 25, 2017
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Hendrik Hofman, Peter van der Sluis
  • Patent number: 9706744
    Abstract: A method comprises receiving a displacement signal generated by a sensor, the displacement signal generated by the sensor in response to detecting movement of a piston from a retracted position in a cylinder toward an extended position in the cylinder. The method further comprises generating, in response to receiving the displacement signal, a valve control signal to be communicated to a valve located on a vacuum line connecting a vacuum source to a vacuum port of the cylinder. The valve control signal causes the valve to move from a first position in which a vacuum pressure is applied to the cylinder via the vacuum port to a second position in which atmospheric pressure is applied to the cylinder via the vacuum port.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 5, 2015
    Date of Patent: July 18, 2017
    Assignee: Technologies Holdings Corp.
    Inventors: Ejvind D. Hansen, Joergen Frederiksen
  • Patent number: 9678198
    Abstract: The present invention provides for a milking implement for automatically milking a dairy animal. The implement includes a measuring device for measuring a position of an object such as at least one of a displaceable element of the milking implement and a teat of the dairy animal, and a control device for controlling at least the measuring device. The control device is configured to take at least one measurement, using the measuring device, on at least one point on the object in order to obtain a position information regarding the object, compare the obtained position information with a known position information regarding the object, and calibrate the measuring device on the basis of the comparison between the obtained position information and the known position information.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 12, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: LELY PATENT N.V.
    Inventor: Karel Van Den Berg
  • Patent number: 9678200
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an apparatus for determining an intensity and/or a phase of intensity modulation of an intensity-modulated electromagnetic radiation signal, having a detector and imaging optics for imaging an intensity-modulated radiation signal onto the detector. In comparison with this, the present invention addresses the problem of providing an apparatus for reducing scattered light influences on an intensity and/or phase determination of the intensity modulation of an intensity-modulated electromagnetic radiation signal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: PMDTechnologies GmbH
    Inventors: Robert Lange, Martin Albrecht
  • Patent number: 9675038
    Abstract: A milk analyzing system is disclosed, which includes a milk constituent analyzing unit configured to analyze milk from a milking station with respect to a specific constituent of the milk, and a control device communicatively connected to the milking station and to the milk constituent analyzing unit. The control device is configured to retrieve an analyzing appropriateness parameter for each of the animals milked by the milking station indicating an appropriateness of analyzing milk from the animal with respect to the specific constituent. The control device is configured to control the milk constituent analyzing unit to analyze milk from the milking station with respect to the specific constituent when the time elapsed from when the milk constituent analyzing unit last analyzed milk exceeds a threshold time period, irrespective of the analyzing appropriateness parameter for the animal milked by the milking station.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 30, 2011
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: DELAVAL HOLDING AB
    Inventor: Johan Axelson
  • Patent number: 9576368
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for optically determining the position and/or orientation of an object in space on the basis of images from at least one camera (24a, 24b). At least one 2D image of the object is recorded; 2D contour information is extracted from the image. On the basis of the contour information, at least one area (40) of the object is determined. Furthermore, 3D information is obtained from the at least one 2D image or a further 2D image. A portion situated within the determined area (40) of the object is selected from this 3D information. The position and/or orientation of the object is then determined on the basis of the selected portion of the 3D information. The invention furthermore relates to a use of the method, a device for carrying out the method and a milking robot with such a device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 21, 2017
    Assignee: GEA Farm Technologies GmbH
    Inventors: Sergey Igorevitch Fedorenko, Konstantin Korovin