A restructured management approach that has put more onus on staff is paying dividends for farm managers Isaac and Michelle Johnstone.
Designed, manufactured and exclusive to Waikato Milking Systems, the Centrus Composite Rotary Platform 84 and smaller 54 and 60 stall were originally developed in response to demand from farmers around the world for a platform with the size, strength and durability required by a global market where very large herds of large framed cows and 24/7 milking are common place.
Grant Wisnewski, international sales manager for Waikato Milking Systems, said that since its introduction, however, demand has come from farmers across the spectrum of dairying “from small family units right up to the large intensive 24/7 operations)”.
The deck sections of Centrus Composite Rotary platforms are formed in a multi-layer process that includes Kevlar, a material used in the construction of aircraft and international racing yachts.
“The decks are bonded together by a unique high-strength adhesive which, coincidentally, is used in wind turbines, military vehicles and marine,” Grant said.
“The result is a platform which is 75% lighter and eight times stronger than concrete overcoming the wear and tear which traditional multi-tonne concrete decks place on platform support structures.”
The weight to strength ratio is a logic which appeals to farmers and demand for the composite decks has grown around with the world and led to Waikato Milking Systems extending the range so there is now a size for “every farmer”.
Centrus Composite Rotary platforms are available in 40, 50, 60 and 84 stall configurations.
Grant said every aspect of each Centrus platform is produced to exacting standards in-house - each involving innovation, ingenuity and superb engineering unique to Waikato Milking Systems.
“One example of our attention to detail is in the manufacture and rolling of the beam which has an accuracy of plus or minus 1/16 No other deck can match that level of precision.”
It’s where the beam meets the platform that another world first comes into play.
The Pivot Roller, exclusive to Waikato Milking Systems, maintains perfect alignment with the rotary platform’s support structure, the ‘I’ beam, even under 24 hour milking conditions.
The resulting 100% contact enhances the performance and decreases wear and tear of the platform.
“Positioned between two high load pivot bushes, the self-lubricating cast pivot rollers are long-life but if replacement is ever needed they are easily swapped out without significant downtime.
“Micro adjustment within the roller assembly provides precise height settings and allows a degree of fine tuning and precision never before achieved. This is especially important because cow loadings constantly change, especially at the beginning and end of milking.
“That uneven weight puts a point loading on rollers and beam and can result in uneven wear which ultimately affects a platform’s operation. The Pivot Roller overcomes that problem, making it relatively simple to maintain the platform’s perfect alignment.”
Cow comfort was a critical element in the design of the composite platforms with stalls built for large framed cows and rubber matting underfoot.
The composite deck surface is impervious to most chemicals and cow effluent and will not suffer the degradation common in concrete surfaces. Grant says that with proper care “they will look like new for years to come”.
Centrus Composite Rotary platforms are manufactured at Waikato Milking Systems’ global head office in Hamilton, New Zealand and shipped around the world.
“The platform arrives on site accompanied by a specialist team who oversee the unloading, set-up and commissioning of every Centrus platform. Lasers are used to ensure the foundations and structure are perfectly true and precise.
“We are known for our customer and after sales service as much as we are for the quality of our products. Rob Spencer is our Business Development in Australia and we have a growing dealer network across the country.
“Our systems are designed and built to last a lifetime with a minimum of maintenance but our people are there if and when they’re needed to ensure the systems work optimally all the time.”
The wider range of platform size is expected to fuel global demand for the composite platforms, pivot roller and the company’s extensive range of technology eg Electronic Milk Meters, SmartECR cup removers, SmartD-TECT mastitis identification and herd management systems.
“Our message to farmers is simple. No matter where you’re farming, how many cows you’re milking or the frequency of milkings, there’s a Centrus Composite Rotary platform which will out-perform and out-last anything else on the market,” Grant said. (Source: Waikato Milking Systems)