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Case study of Wireless Egg Node in Brazil and its threshold

18 June 2021, at 12:30am

Uniquimica, a Brazil-based poultry related service company, shares their experience using the Wireless Egg Node from ORKA Food Technology.

Wireless Egg Node from ORKA Food Technology
Wireless Egg Node from ORKA Food Technology

© ORKA Food Technology

We use 5G for threshold for grading and packing machines and 8G for egg collectors.

Please note that eggshell quality is influenced by several factors such as age, mutilation, storage, temperature and handling.

We have been using ORKA´s Wireless Egg Node for more than 3 years now. Before that, we used equipment from a different company when we first started with these trials. It was very rustic and practical testing…

We would first drop 100 eggs from different heights ranging from 3 to 15 mm height (100 eggs for every height) with a gripper set that holds eggs. When it releases, it does not apply any additional force and only lets gravity do the job. This was a very simple upfront testing we conducted.

We were working on a farm at that time that was having about 7% overall cracks, and we determined that at a certain height we would have 7% of the cracks in eggs. When we used the previous company’s egg sensor, we found that with 8G, we did not take into account temperature and shell thickness nor shell strength at the time.

For example, when we had a farm with overall cracks of 13%, we would find out in that farm that 10G was the force doing this damage – so we would focus with maintenance on points where the Wireless Egg Node would measure over 10G to have immediate results and drop 2% to 3% of cracks in few simple actions.

That was the beginning of our testing of the Wireless Egg Node on the farm - simple, rustic and very practical and oriented toward the maintenance crew.

Why the threshold of 5G?

After a year of this we also found that good eggs were getting cracked by repetition on bumps in areas such as accumulators on the conveyors and belts, mostly located on grading machine entrance and packers.

We found that in domestic machines where we had several accumulation areas, when eggs suffered forces of 5G and over during the length of the accumulation areas, crack numbers on good eggs would increase 2% to 3%, so in totally automated farms with inline systems we adapted the 5G as our parameter. We would have complaints from customers that their grader would break more than usual, and we concluded after several tests that force on accumulation devices over 5G can create lots of machine cracks.

So, when we have a single bump that creates a crack, it is usually higher than 7G for a weak shell but when it gets to be a repeated number of shocks in the machine they have on the farm, we identified 5G as being a number to work with. It will be impossible to work with that number on cages and production houses as shocks will be higher, but when it comes to grading equipment with compression and successive minor contact shocks, 5G has been the number we found to work with.

Now we are reading and measuring shell strength and thickness to improve this monitoring.

As we separate eggs from hens of 60 weeks and older, we did find out that those birds are the ones that produce eggs that are most likely to be cracked during collection, transportation and grading.

As you can see, our first approach was on keeping equipment that gets into contact with eggs to have minimum bumpy areas that create cracks. On our practical testing we just did in a farm last month, we found that a flock of hens with 90 weeks of age were responsible for 42% of the overall cracks on the farm.

Temperature wise, Brazil is a blessed country, and most production areas have average temperature of 28°C with only a couple weeks of winter per year that can get to 15°C. That is why our temperature recorder on the Wireless Egg Node is quite uniform in being over 25°C. To tell you the truth, we never paid much attention of the eggshell situation with the temperature. We kept track of it when it gets over 35°C in the production houses as birds drink more water and consume less feed which compromises quality of the eggs and shell a few days later.

Please note, however, that the temperature is important to look at when measuring in cold or warm countries. Please refer to the article “Effect of temperature and moisture on breaking strength of the egg shell” by G.W. Froning.

Uniquimica, Brazil - May 29, 2020