Kuhn AURA feeds autonomously

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The self-propelled autonomous AURA mixer from Kuhn is the next generation of automated ration distribution solutions for dairy and fattening operations. With its built-in loading module, the AURA is offering a whole range of functions, including loading, weighing, mixing, distribution, fodder push-back and reports on completed tasks.

The AURA has a multi-purpose milling head for loading all types of silage, and fibres 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 Aura hardly moving at the silo, which slashes cycle times.

Other ration components, such as concentrates and mineral additives, are loaded via peripheral augers mounted on the farm’s various stocks. Communication is established using WIFI via KUHN External Control modules. Once the mixing tank is positioned under the auger, AURA starts the component filling program with a high level of precision.

The tasks sent by the farm manager are recorded in his KUHN Librafeed feed management software. This function records the precise quantities of each ration component, the distribution points and the number of daily distributions.  The AURA strictly follows this information and accurately performs the mixed rations requested by the farm manager. AURA’s built-in weighing system is accurate to the nearest kilo.

Two vertical augers

The machine has a 3 cubic meters mixing tank equipped with two vertical augers. A two-auger design offers a lower power requirement than a single mixing auger with a larger diameter. Hence, it can provide daily feed for herds of up to 280 dairy cows and all their heifers.

For the longevity of the components in contact with the feed, 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 trailed or self-propelled mixers.

Like other automated feeding systems on the market, the AURA performs multi-day feeding tasks in the time slots and frequencies the farmer programs in his KUHN Librafeed software. 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. Manoeuvring in different building configurations is thus limited, which reduces downtime. Since 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.

The 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.

Precise positioning

The AURA is designed for total integration with existing farm infrastructures. It comes equipped with two steering systems: GPS RTK SIM card-free technology coupled with motion sensors for use outdoors, and LIDAR technology for indoor manoeuvring. The systems ensure precise positioning down to the centimeter.

If the GPS signal is lost, AURA’s motion sensors scan the robot’s surroundings to help it accurately find its way around the building or yard.

The machine moves along virtual trajectories recorded in its KUHN Farm Track interface which allows the farmer to adapt the speed of the machine according to the different routes. KUHN Farm Track makes it possible to temporarily close off certain routes depending on what is happening on the farm.

It performs well on slopes of up to 20%, which means there’s no need for any special flooring or land restructuring.

Safety module

AURA is a completely autonomous machine that must comply with applicable standards. Its safety system includes a set of sensors featuring various technologies, such as radar, laser and ultrasounds, and “sensitive edges” around the machine to ensure it moves about safely in its environment.

The process of integrating AURA into the farm is reinforced with a number of important steps, such as a safety pre-visit, a Safety Check visit, etc., guaranteeing that AURA can fully move about in an environment that complies with current standards.

It is equipped with a 42 Kw Stage 5 engine in compliance with current standards. Fuel consumption is 3.8 to 4.2 litres per hour, depending on the job.

The AURA will be available to French markets only from 2024 en becomes available internationally from early 2025. As an option available from 2025, the AURA-e electric version will perform all the machines functions and travel in electric mode.

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