GSA Pioneered rotary automation 10+ years ago
In 2007, GSA installed its first RotaryMATE system, a fast, accurate robot that eliminated labor at the dipping positions. What started as a dream over lunch, has grown into the leading solution for quality and durability in efficient milk harvesting.
“When we looked at the possibility of automation in the dairy industry, we saw an amazing opportunity. With the acceptance of rotary parlors as the most efficient way to milk a lot of cows, we validated that many of the concepts we had developed for other industries would work well in the dairy industry as well,” said James Frias, president of GSA.
Challenges were abundant. One of the greatest was adapting robots designed to go to a preset destination to interact with a living, moving animal. “I still remember when we had 3 people testing our tooling by holding it manually under the cow.” Using patented, cutting edge vision technology and a crack team of programmers, the RotaryMATE system came to life.
“As with any start-up, we have had our share of challenges and setbacks, but it is how we have risen to the challenges that has made us as strong as we are today,” said Frias. “We knew we would be able to reduce labor, but a major unknown was how beneficial consistent interaction with the cow would be. Cows are creatures of habit and love consistency, and that is exactly what the RotaryMATE delivers.”
The growth is impressive, with 2017 marking a tripling of sales compared to the prior year. As of today, more than 50 RotaryMATE systems are in operation or scheduled for install. Frias said he is looking forward to the next 10 years. “We are excited to build on our successes. We are always incorporating newer technologies to improve our current system and are currently working to expand the range of automation we can deliver to the dairy industry”. Some of the highlights of the first 10 years have included:
- The addition of the RotaryMATE EXPS, the only predip and stimulation system on the market, with cylindrical brushes that not only dip, but clean and stimulate as well.
- Incremental increases in speed (currently as fast as 4.5 seconds per stall)
- Next level vision system
- Refined algorithms that guarantee a 98% hit rate.
What has contributed to the success of GSA? “Our customers!,” said Frias. “We work in lockstep with the best dairymen in the industry. Without their feedback, we would not be in the position we are today. They are also helping drive our innovation group as we continue to drive forward”.