Thursday, 29 October 2015 08:52

Boatbuilder leads to world first

Written by 
Waikato Milking Systems chief executive Dean Bell (right) and boatbuilder Josh Janmaat. Waikato Milking Systems chief executive Dean Bell (right) and boatbuilder Josh Janmaat.

A challenge by a young Morrinsville boatbuilder to Kiwi milking systems makers in 2007 was picked up by just one – and the rest is history.

Waikato Milking Systems (WMS) took notice of boatbuilder Josh Janmaat's musings about milking platform deck sizes "getting up there" in weight.

Janmaat, whose father Peter is a dairy farmer, had discerned during a Fieldays visit in 2007 the huge wear and tear imposed by concrete rotary platforms on their support structures.

Janmaat mused that the decks "could be manufactured in fibreglass which includes Kevlar, as are aircraft and racing yachts. The result would be a deck much lighter and stronger than concrete. They'd be cheaper to run and would avoid a lot of damage to the 'I' beam."

Janmaat joined WMS and now leads a "small, talented team" producing what the firm's chief executive, Dean Bell, describes as the world's most technically advanced dairy platform.

The first Centrus composite platforms had 54 bails, then 60. In the last 12 months the company has launched the Centrus 84.

Bell, recently home from the World Dairy Expo in Wisconsin where the 84 bail Centrus was displayed, reports "tremendous interest" in the platform.

"The construction, so novel... attracts a lot of interest."

Janmaat explains: "The first stage of the platform is a wooden plug which becomes the template for the mould, then 400 hours of hand sanding and buffing is involved".

"The fibreglass/Kevalr sections of the platform are formed in closed moulds... enabling a better fibre-to-resin ratio." The process allows consistent quality, he says. Each section is identical, which is not possible using concrete or steel.

"The decks are bonded together by a high-strength adhesive also used to make aircraft and by NASA in the construction of space craft.

Accuracy during the manufacture and rolling of the platform beam is plus or minus 1.5 millimetres.

And where the beam meets the platform the pivot roller maintains perfect alignment with the rotary platform's support structure -- the 'I' beam. The resulting 100% contact enhances the platform's performance and decreases wear and tear.

Self-lubricating cast pivot rollers between two bearings are the only components that wear.

"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 bearings 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 alignment."

The lower weight of the Centrus 84 is a big attraction for farmers, Bell says.

"The weight, with bail work, from the track up is around 12.6 tonne. Fully loaded with 84 x 1000kg cows (the design maximum weight), totals 92.6t.

A concrete equivalent weighs around 46.2t and, with 84 x 1000kg cows, equates to a total weight of 130.2t – a difference of 37.6t."

The 14 sections of a Centrus 84 platform fit into one shipping container.

"These decks are in demand worldwide by farmers operating intensive farming operations milking 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"The Centrus 84 arrives on site anywhere in the world accompanied by a team from Waikato Milking Systems who oversee the unloading, setup and commissioning. Lasers are used to ensure the foundations and structure are true and precise."

More like this

Dairy conversion era over – expert

The days of rapid, large-scale dairy conversions in New Zealand are at an end, says Waikato Milking Systems chief executive NZ Campbell Parker.

Sheep, goat dairy farmers must aim to export

Waikato Milking Systems product and project manager Andy Geissmann believes there’s plenty of scope for Kiwis working in the emerging sheep and goat dairy sectors to export.

WMS spreads wings into effluent

Waikato Milking Systems (WMS) will use Fieldays to promote its expansion beyond milking systems into effluent and environmental products.


Get ready for the ‘now’ norm

Get prepared for a ‘Now Normal’ future, says Ian Proudfoot – Global Head of Agribusiness for KPMG – discussing the likely effects of COVID-19 in the months to come.


Northland farmers count the costs

Northland farmers are starting to count the cost of one of the most severe droughts to hit the region as the cost of feed and lower prices for stock are the order of the day.

Times will get better for deer sector

While the deer industry faces several challenges in the short term, there will be a strong rebound in New Zealand venison sales once global demand recovers.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Effluent power

Finnish dairy company Valio is on a mission to reduce milk’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035.

What’s in a name?

The man who coined the term ‘Gypsy Day’ is slightly miffed that a term he introduced to New Zealand’s farming…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter