The Kuhn Aura self-propelled mixer is capable of loading silo forages through its milling head, right through to distribution without any operator intervention. It operates fully autonomously.
Unveiled in September 2021 at the Space tradeshow in France, the self-propelled autonomous Aura mixer is the next generation of automated ration distribution solutions for dairy and fattening operations. With its built-in loading module, the flexible Aura offers breeders through a whole range of functions, including loading, weighing, mixing, distribution, fodder push-back and reports on completed tasks.
Built-in loading module
Aura has a multi-purpose milling head for loading all types of silage, and fibers such as hay, straw and grass haylage. The conveyor-mounted milling head is sized to reduce energy consumption.
To increase efficiency, the milling head-conveyor unit moves laterally across the width of the machine to unload all the silage without the machine moving.
The other ration components, such as concentrates and minerals, are loaded via augers mounted on the farm’s silos. The augers are fitted with a receiver that communicates with AURA’s transmitter. Once the mixing tank is positioned under the auger, AURA starts the component filling program.
Weighing data management module
The tasks sent by the breeder are recorded in a rationing interface. This function records the precise quantities of each ration component, the distribution points and the number of daily distributions.
Aura strictly follows this information and accurately performs the mixed rations requested by the breeder. Aura’s built-in weighing system is accurate to the nearest kilo.
Aura has a 3 m3 mixing tank equipped with two vertical augers. The two-auger design offers a lower power requirement than a single mixing auger with a larger diameter.
For the longevity of the whole unit, the lower part of the tank and 100% of the mixing augers are built with K-NOX technology, which guarantees a service life 6 times longer than the steel grades traditionally used on mixers.
Like the other automated feeding systems on the market, Aura performs multi-day feeding tasks in the time slots and frequencies the farmer programs. Supplying animals with a fresh, high-quality mixed ration stimulates their intake and keeps them calmer in the stables.
Distribution is handled by a cross conveyor belt that unloads to the right or left of the machine. Maneuvering in different building configurations is thus limited, which reduces downtime spent moving the Aura.
Because the distribution is placed at the rear of the machine, the ration is delivered close to the first head gates in buildings with no separate exits.
Fodder push-back module
AURA is equipped with rotating brushes which bring the swath as close as possible to the head gates. These brushes operate simultaneously with the distribution or pass through to push back leftover fodder. The ration is pushed back to the right and/or left, which means the farmer can adapt to any type of feed passage without moving the machine unnecessarily.
The Aura is a 100% accessible solution, designed for total integration with existing farm infrastructures. It comes equipped with two steering systems: RTK GPS SIM card-free technology coupled with motion sensors for use outdoors, and LIDAR technology for indoor maneuvering. The systems ensure precise positioning down to the centimeter.
If the GPS signal is lost, Aura’s motion sensors scan the robot’s surrounding to help it accurately find its way around the building or yard.
The machine performs well on slopes of up to 20%, which means there is no need for any special flooring or land restructuring on most farms looking to automate their feeding operations.
A safety module
The Aura is a completely autonomous machine that must comply with applicable standards. Its safety system includes a set of sensors featuring various technologies (radar, laser, ultrasounds) and “sensitive edges” around the machine to ensure it moves about safely in its environment. It is dedicated to the ISO3991 standard, specifically for automated feeding systems.
The Aura mixer is designed to be as economical as possible in terms of operating costs. For this purpose, and to get the power required for the loading and unloading function, it is equipped with a 42 Kw STAGE 5 engine in compliance with current standards. As an option, the Aura e version performs all the machines functions and travel in electric mode. Farmers and animals will appreciate the total absence of exhaust fumes and noise.
Aura is deployed step by step, starting by France. If all the tests remain conclusive and if all the indicators show a positive trend, the machine could be rolled out in series in other countries as from the end of 2024, beginning of 2025.