Startup with robotic cart that follows you - could this help in a horse barn?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by candersen10, Feb 12, 2018.

?

Could this be useful?

  1. Definitely

    37.5%
  2. No way

    37.5%
  3. Maybe

    25.0%
  1. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2016
    Messages:
    6,851
    Likes Received:
    14,218
    Not practical for me at all.

    How much are you thinking i will cost? If it is too expensive it will be cost prohibitive for all but the wealthiest. . . Who are likely to already have equipment that covers all of this little guys capabilities.
     
    manesntails likes this.
  2. slc

    slc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    22,352
    Likes Received:
    13,365
    It's a great idea.

    A couple points.

    The prototype schematic is nothing like your wood carrier. The schematic has 4 large (very smooth, but at least they're wider) wheels, the wood carrier does not. It's actually hard to look at your drawing and your prototype and figure out what your future direction is with this product. If it's to make many different models for different applications, different carriers and wheels for different situations, all with the 'follow' technology being their unique thing, a few different schematic drawings might help the consumer understand where you're going.

    The wood carrier does have a high center of balance. Plus, that little back wheel - it may hold up forever on paved roads, but it really doesn't look durable or long wearing, and it isn't adequate on uneven surfaces, the wood carrier looks like it's just about to fall over more than once. And it looks an awful lot like the flimsy wheels on some of my machines, that I have to replace every few months. Whether it's that quick wearing or not, it LOOKS to a consumer like a flimsy wheel. I'd rather seen large diameter pneumatic wheels - the larger diameter pneumatic wheels on my drag are foam filled and haven't ever gone flat in over 12 years of frequent use.

    I think that a machine like this has a great many industrial applications. Horses? I'm not so sure. There are three issues with horse folk. One, they're broke. Two, they often already have a tractor that suffices for many jobs, especially when it has a front end loader than can rest on the ground for pickup and be lifted for transporting, and three - getting horse folk to change how they do ANYTHING is like trying to get a mule to walk up a ladder. We are the most TRADITIONAL, INFURIATING, HIDE BOUND customers you'll ever see.

    Small barns usually have foot power alone. Everything done by hand. And no money to do it any other way. Wheelbarrows.

    Medium size barns have a tractor - usually a very elderly one that was bought second hand. And it often has a front end loader on it, and that's used for most heavier chores.

    Big barns have tractors AND electric golf carts. Most of the big barns I've been at have several. For loading and unloading trucks and trailers with equipment when people go to horse shows, for driving around at horse shows, for cleaning stalls, delivering feed to stalls, carrying tools and fence posts out to repair fences, etc.

    And they are very appealing. They have a carrier that can be tipped to unload it. And they have seats and can be driven.

    Of course, looking at the wood carrier, its big problem is that the person is still lifting the wood quite a ways. And when I hurt my back, it's almost always when I'm lifting things from low on the ground to up into - anything. The only thing it saves on is the transporting, in other words. I still have to lift up into it.

    I would prefer, if it's going to save my back, ,that it is overall much lower, and has a tilting bed that I can drop down, with an angled front, so that I don't actually lift things way up into it.

    But here's the big problem. I don't see horse people adopting the idea, because it's too expensive. Most of us are simply not affluent. By any means. Heck, I have a $100 wheelbarrow out there with the wheels falling off, and I'm debating whether I can spare the $100 to replace it. My tractor wasn't running, I spent days taking it apart so I could buy a $7 sensor and install it myself rather than having the repair shop charge me $90 to pick up and return the tractor, keep it three weeks, and charge me $400 to replace the sensor.

    A load carrier that follows me? Fundamentally, I don't need that. I have a small tractor with a front end loader on it, and that does all the lifting and transporting I need. And in fact, I can drive it up and down the barn aisles.

    The lady down the street is 77 and has a barn full of horses. She has an electrical cart that takes a lighter load than yours, and she puts flakes of hay in it(about a 50 lb load) and walks up and down the barn aisle to feed the horses. Of course, that cart cost her about $500. Not $10,000 or more.

    So, our chores -

    The toughest chore we have, besides toting buckets of water when it's below freezing, is cleaning stalls. Not everyone cleans stalls like we do. We have very dry stalls, lots of bedding, we clean stalls 4, 5 times a day, 'picking' out small amounts of bedding and manure each time. MOST people do not do that. They bed stalls once a week, and they don't clean the stalls often, and when they do, it's all matted down and wet when they remove it, and they remove it all and put in a small amount of bedding(1 40 L bag, perhaps). The effort is actually in scraping up the wet bedding/manure and lifting - into whatever. Having a carrier follow them doesn't actually change the work effort by much.

    And...keep in mind that many people have a 'threshold' going into the stall, which means whatever they take into the stall with them has to be able to climb a 4-10 inch barrier - a concrete curb, a piece of lumber, something. If no threshold, there is often a big height transition from the dirt or concrete barn floor into the stall. So most of us have something that parks outside the stall or something that's so light that we just drag/bounce it over the stall threshold.

    To clean stalls, right now, we use large 'muck buckets' on a 'muck bucket cart' - a flimsy little cart with two cheapie wheels and a handle, which is what most people use - and replace often. They are cheap(?) and get bashed around all the time.

    Those will get dumped either into a farm wagon or the bucket of the tractor to be unloaded on the manure pile.

    Ideally whatever replaces that setup, would be very small, goes right into the stall with me, I fill it with manure using a manure fork (lots of long tines, so the manure carrier can't be too narrow, or I'll throw half the manure on the floor instead of in the carrier....), but ideally, again, I can tip the bed up one one end to unload it, or lift it and tip it.......See, I'd be loading it into a bigger tractor wagon that's much taller than your wood carrier, if it could dump things, can dump from. Say....we produce about 6-8 50 lb buckets a DAY of manure and soiled bedding. All that goes into a tractor wagon and out to a manure pile. We drive the tractor up on to the manure pile and dump that wagon. Even if the carrier helps me when I'm in the stall, it doesn't lift high enough to tip the manure into my farm wagon.

    And....if you look at the video, very carefully, there's a fundamental disconnect. The biggest advantage of the small load carrying robot is that you can operate it hands free, right? And this guy...has nothing to carry in his hands. You see what i mean? The whole pretense and uniqueness of the product is that it follows you hands free, and....he ain't got nothin' in his hands.

    But....if I had a lifting/carrying job to do, why wouldn't I just put the tools I'm carrying, say, on the loader and drive/steer it?
     
  3. Bakkir

    Bakkir Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    4,609
    Likes Received:
    5,724
    We had a Kubota Gator at one farm. God I loved that thing. It was big enough to never get stuck and had hydrulic dumping. I could put a water tank on it and fill multiple troughs and do hay at the same time.

    That said most farms have 1 wheelbarrow and broken plastic pitch forks, so I agree that 10k is too much $$ for many.

    There is a reason automation hasn't revolutionized animal husbandry. It's expensive and many times impractical for everyday use.
     
    kodemiester likes this.
  4. candersen10

    candersen10 Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    The cad file/schematic is identical to the 2WD one, just with axles at both ends rather than just at one with a caster on the other end. This is our 2nd prototype, not what we're intending to sell, we're just trying to get an idea of whether there is a market. Sounds like 4WD is a must.

    If your hands are free, then can't you do more work (i.e. unload feed from the Burro robot, load it with materials as you walk along, etc.)? To us this is a big productivity advantage - for example, if you have a Kubota/Deere Gator with fencing material, and are installing fencing, you have to get in, move it some distance, get out, unload material working back to where you started, then get back in and keep going.

    Lastly, we don't have full autonomy on our machine now. But eventually will have it set up to run loads to be unloaded on it's own.
     
    Ziast likes this.
  5. candersen10

    candersen10 Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Thanks for the feedback re cost/pricing. We'll try to think through that.

    Oddly enough, robotics have been most successful on farms in the animal husbandry space. Lely is perhaps the biggest farm robotics company with robotic milkers, robotic feeding systems, and robotic cleaning tools. These are all in Dairies however, and not with horses of course.
     
  6. slc

    slc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Messages:
    22,352
    Likes Received:
    13,365
    I understand that, I'm saying, then show it in the video. Marketing 101.

     
  7. candersen10

    candersen10 Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2018
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Ok. We will when we market it further. Thanks for the tip.
     
  8. Ziast

    Ziast Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    1,730
    Likes Received:
    1,514
    Are you marking it for industrial uses too? I can see it having applications in trades and shops where safety is high. Less body strain, easy to operate, less overhead and training when compared to a cat or gator. A company would have more capital to purchase it than your average horse-poor person.
     
    manesntails likes this.
  9. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    35,342
    Likes Received:
    68,108
    Ziast has the best idea.
    I am not walking all over witha cart following me when I have to go any distance. It's more practical to use a four wheeled drivable vehicle, like a golf cart with a dump bin on the back.
     
  10. AmyK

    AmyK Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,411
    Likes Received:
    1,573
    I feel like anyone with enough money to buy this thing already has hired help around the barn... and while I can imagine them having things like tractors and gators for the stable hands to use, they are not going to buy a 10k novelty to follow the help around.
     
    manesntails likes this.

Share This Page