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Egg refilling station receives 3-star award

French company ECAT, worldwide supplier of automated equipment for Hatchery and Laboratory, received a 3-star award at the recent Space Livestock show in Rennes, France, for its Egg Refilling Station.

Placed after ECAT Laser Candling and Robotic Egg Removal system, ECAT Automatic Egg Refilling Station has been designed to automatically replace the missing eggs on the setter tray removed after the candling process.

The working principle

At the outfeed of the egg candling and removal system, the tray is carried onto a conveyor before going through an egg detecting ramp which detects the empty space on the tray (missing eggs on the tray). The information is then forwarded to the PLC while the tray keeps moving onto the line. Another tray with fertile eggs is carried onto a second parallel conveyor line. The eggs set on that tray are available for picking up and refilling of the empty spaces left on the incomplete trays stand on the first conveyor line.

A specific arm with suction cups and independent pistons sucks up the fertile eggs from the tray positioned on the second line in order to place them one by one inside the empty space of the first tray waiting to be completely or partially refilled. The operator has the possibility to select the full or partial replacement of the eggs into the tray, depending on the hatchery requirement. When the refilling process is completed the tray is conveyed onto the transfer machine which transfers the eggs from the setter tray to the hatcher tray. The system operates at a speed from 50,000-70,000 eggs/hour.

According to the company, the machine provides advantages of a high speed refilling process:
- Possibility to refill the setter trays with fertile eggs for high volumes at a high speed up to 70,000 eggs/hour.
- Very quick automated process, much faster than a manual refilling operation.
- Optimisation of the space inside the hatchers, up to 20%, resulting in significant energy consumption cost reduction.

Natalie Berkhout

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