The ETSCHEID Think-Tank, the „thinking“ tank
milk cooling for robotic systems
The Think-Tank, also called the thinking milk cooling tank, is the first milk cooling tank on the market with direct evaporation for robotic milking systems to effectively prevent the freezing of the milk in the tank. Compared to traditional milk cooling the robotic milking technology requires new, special systems for cooling milk. The ETSCHEID GmbH has been operating in the development of special milk cooling tanks for milk cooling robots since the early days of robotic milking technology almost 20 years ago.
Traditional milking and robotic milking
In traditional milking large quantities of milk are usually milked in the morning and evening in a short milking time (1 - 3 hours). This large quantity of fresh milk must be cooled down as soon as possible (in Germany in about 3 hours from 35 ° C to 4 ° C according to the standard CII). Accordingly, the cooling units have to be very powerful. Milk cooling is essential to ensure that bacteria do not multiply and therefore the milk is not perishable. In a standard milk cooling tank cooling will not start until about 7 - 10% of the tank's capacity is reached, otherwise there is a risk of freezing the milk, which can cause secondary damage. Therefore, the cooling may only begin with a capacity from 700 to 1000 liters with a 10,000 liter tank.
A robotic milking system milks continuously from 20 to 22 hours a day. A 2 boxes robotic milking system milks max. 200 liters of milk per hour. Thus, only very small amounts of milk per hour enter the tank. This means that in the worst case when a standard milk cooling tank is being used, cooling should only be started after several hours.
The Thinking Tank
milk cooling for robotic systems
ETSCHEID GmbH has brought the first milk cooling tank with direct evaporation for robotic milking systems, the think-tank type TT (the "thinking" tank) on the market.
The Think-Tank TT cools the milk down from the first second of the filling without ice forming. The patented solution with novel shaped evaporator surfaces and an intelligent control system for checking the evaporator surface temperature, allows, in addition to the milk temperature sensor, after the milk collection by the dairy plant and after the necessary tank cleaning without additional costs (eg buffer tank), immediate milking into the robotic milk cooling tank TT.
The cooling starts automatically after cleaning and there is no risk for the quality of milk by freezing or condensation. The cooling units are optimally matched to the expected amount of milk and are equipped with a condensing pressure control. Thus, the milk is cooled efficiently and energy saving.
ETSCHEID robot milk cooling tank TT's patented, special evaporator bottoms
The Think-Tank's evaporator bottoms compared to a standard tank
The evaporator consists of two distinct parts (Fig. 1), to each of a cooling compressor can be connected (light blue and dark blue area).
The intelligent cooling control prevents freezing the milk. The temperature in each evaporator section is measured and before ice can form the respective compressor is turned off.
The second evaporator section and second compressor are automatically kept turned off longer if there's not enough milk in the tank. A single- compressor solution is sufficient for small robot milk cooling tanks TT.
The Think Tank's evaporator bottoms
Advantages of the subdivisions of the evaporator:
- no condensation
- no ice
- low energy costs
- cooling of small amounts of milk
- ensures the quality of milk
- no buffer tank required
- precooler not required
Option: buffer tank as a Think Tank
The ETSCHEID cleaning system LAVATRONIC AWE
The ETSCHEID cleaning system Lavatronic AWE for the robot milk cooling tank TT avoids water build-up (Scheme A) and thus a so called grease edge in the tank. Cleaning is done with the least possible amount of water and detergent concentration (Scheme B). In addition, the new effective rapid cleaning with shortened complete cleaning program and increased heating capacity achieves optimum cleaning speed.
Comparison of the cleaning systems - scheme A (left), scheme B (right)
Scheme of the compact cooler
Installation directly to the robot.
- only cold milk in the pressure line
- direct cooling of the milk from 35° to 4-6°C
- extra buffertank not required
- only 1 milkpump in the system
- automatic cleaning by the robot
- water chiller and ice bank
- pump for chilled water
- tube cooler, coaxial heat exchanger, automatically drained during wash period
Details of the compact cooler and precooler
tested on a 9000 l milk tank for a 3 box Robotic Milking System