Shearing sheep is hard work, and there is a shortage of sheep shearers. Australia alone has 73 million sheep and just 2,800 shearers. What’s more, a drop in the price of wool has made the cost of shearing higher than the revenue shepherds get from selling the wool. Cost-cutting is necessary for the modern sheep rancher.
Robots to the rescue
Australian Wool Innovation built and tested sheep-shearing machines using plastic models of sheep. They also tried out exoskeletons for shearers. Early models just used sensors to tell them when to take a break to reduce back injuries, but they were hoping to make the shearing easier.
Robots can’t shear sheep faster than a human. If you’ve seen a sheep sheared, you know that it usually takes just a few minutes. The sheep tolerate their haircuts, cooperating as much as a doll would, and then jump up and gambol. off, apparently feeling cool and liberated without that heavy fleece.
Robotic shearing looks a lot more traumatic, at least in the video above.
The cost of purchasing a robotic shearer is much lower than the cost of hiring a professional shearer. The cost savings can be substantial, especially for large farms that need to shear hundreds of sheep.
Robotic sheep shearing is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to revolutionize the industry. The benefits of this technology are many, and it could become the new standard for shearing sheep in the future. For now, it is important to remember that this technology is still developing and that it should be used with caution.
Motion control is key to any robotic sheep shearing system. Rexroth produces the best motion control systems in the world. No matter hat you use yours for, we are the people to call when you need service or support for your drive and control systems.