RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Recently Porticos engineers were successful in providing the mechanical design and a fully functional prototype of a device that is anticipated to save the dairy industry billions of dollars annually which is lost due to mastitis. What is mastitis and how did Porticos get involved?
Referring to the Advanced Animal Diagnostics website, mastitis is a mammary gland infection in cows that, in severe cases, requires immediate antibiotic treatment and removal of the cow from milk production. Even less severe infection (non-symptomatic stage) results in a reduction in the pounds of milk produced during each lactation cycle. Furthermore once a cow is diagnosed with mastitis, any milk from that cow or that has been in contact with that milk must be discarded. The key to controlling both categories of mastitis is accurate and sensitive detection within a critical period after calving and before salable milk begins.
Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD) recognized the need for a device that could identify if a cow suffered from the illness before the tainted milk was harvested; contaminating the entire lot and resulting in its destruction. They developed a proprietary system allowing cell analysis in a dry format along with software that optimizes and analyzes individual cells. This breakthrough allows detection of mastitis to be made on the farm, real time, rather than in a lab days later. After developing the algorithm, what AAD needed was a mechanical device that could automate this precise test while surviving in the harsh environmental conditions typical of a working farm. That is where Porticos got involved. “Designing a cost effective system with the precision typically seen only on lab instruments was a challenge in itself, but making it a portable yet rugged device was one of our biggest challenges” notes Jasper Pollard, the lead designer for the AAD project at Porticos.
The first prototype, affectionately known as “Bessie”, was developed by Porticos engineers working with the hardware and software teams at AAD. Although the initial unit was only intended to be capable of demonstrating the technology in the lab, it was so successful that it was able to be unveiled recently at a trade show and for the board of directors. According to David Calderwood, Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing at AAD, “Porticos hit it out of the park with the design of this product. The board applauded when the demonstration unit finished running. I can honestly say I have never been in a board meeting where the members applauded.” The unit is currently being testing in controlled field applications while design refinements continue in support of a second round of fully field capable units.
About Porticos – Porticos, Inc. is a mechanical engineering and product development company located in Research Triangle Park, NC. Established in 2003, Porticos continues to produce innovative and effective solutions for its clients and the markets they serve. Porticos, Inc. provides mechanical design, analysis, research and development services to clients including Dell, Motorola, Raytheon, and many others. For more information on how Porticos “turns good ideas into great products,” please visit www.porticos.net.
About Advanced Animal Diagnostics – Started in 2001, Advanced Animal Diagnostics vision is to bring the power of rapid diagnostics on farm to benefit the under-served animal agricultural market. By providing vets and producers with valuable new information to monitor animals’ health without waiting days for results, AAD can improve profits for the industry and protect animal health and welfare while enhancing consumer confidence in the food source. Learn more at www.advancedanimaldiagnostics.com.