The milking platform. (Image courtesy of Waikato Milking Systems.)
The milking platform. (Image courtesy of Waikato Milking Systems.)
A composite deck section.
A composite deck section.

The composite platform, branded Centrus, was first introduced in 2009 and since then 24 composite platforms have been installed at customer sites.

The Centrus deck sections are formed of composites, resulting in a platform that is 80% lighter and 500% stronger than a concrete equivalent. The composite design will still sustain rigorous use by 54 cows when fully loaded – a total of around 32.4 tonnes. The lighter weight platform also means there is less friction on the drives and running gear, resulting in reduced wear and tear. And the composite materials offer reduced ongoing maintenance as the deck is not corroded by cleaning chemicals or cows’ urine.

The composite platforms can be installed in half the time of concrete versions.

The composite deck sections are constructed of a sandwich laminate, comprising G-PET structural foam core, double bias and quadriaxial E-glass fabrics, reinforced with a high strength hybrid aramid/glass woven cloth, and laminated using a resin infusion process.

The composite materials for the platform are supplied by Gurit in the form of a B3 SmartPac, so each layer of material is CNC-machine cut to the exact shape and size required for the build, clearly labelled and packed in the order to be used.

“We decided to use the B3 SmartPac as it eliminated the need for time consuming hand cutting at our own manufacturing facility,” says Josh Janmaat, Composite Division Manager at Waikato Milking Platforms.

“The SmartPac design and cutting process is very accurate compared with hand cutting, which allows us to apply more stringent quality controls to the finished product.”

The SmartPacs are provided with step-by-step construction guides to save time in the manufacturing process, ensure repeatability and allow efficient training of new staff.