Automated Washing of Swine Transport Vehicles Moves Closer to Reality

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Farmscape for February 12, 2018

Full Interview 6:04 Listen

Scientists and engineers working to automate the washing of swine transportation equipment are preparing to take their effort to the next level. Researchers working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc have modified technology used in excavation which combines high pressure hot water and a vacuum system to wash swine transport equipment.
The goal is to reduce the time and the amount of water needed to clean swine transportation equipment in preparation for disinfection. Dr. Terry Fonstad, with the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, says the technique has proved effective and the next step will be to reduce the amount of labour involved.

Clip-Dr. Terry Fonstad-University of Saskatchewan:
We’re pretty sure it will work but it takes three people. You’ve got one person running the nozzle, being the articulator and we’ve got two people handling the hose which would be little robot or arm that would run the hose and then there’s a reel outside that wraps the hose up and lets it go that’s remotely operated. You’ve got all of these things that take three people or four people to run but it could very well then be automated. I don’t think we would go to fully automated with none watching. I think the next step would be to have a hose carrier with an articulating arm and digital recognition of corners and where you’re washing but have somebody standing on the outside much like we remotely operate mining equipment with the controls around your neck. I think that would be the next thing, avoiding having workers having to go into the truck but still have the human eyes on it. The next round of proposals that would be out if the funders choose and the industry chooses to go to that would be a three year program to get to the point where somebody could stand outside the truck and run this thing and then implement that at a commercial level.

Dr. Fonstad says this is a small part of the big picture. He says biosecurity is still the way to control disease and engineers are just trying to add one more level of security to it.

For Farmscape.Ca, I’m Bruce Cochrane.

       *Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork

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