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Hygiene is becoming more and more important in the egg industry. Recent outbreaks of salmonella infections and bird flu showed that not many practices were applied to prevent cross contamination.
Packing station of the future
We, like our customers, are continually working on improvements. Leading companies in the sector have asked us to help in the development of an improved ‘Packing station of the future’. Every food handling facility needs to be designed in a logical sequence. An ideal egg grading station designed in accordance with this principle is supplied with ungraded eggs at the front and releases perfect graded eggs at the end. Persons, packaging materials, pallets, forklifts and conveyors involved in egg grading should never pose a risk of bacterial contamination of good product caused by contact with dirty tools, materials, hands or… machine parts.
Graders not only grade eggs, but also separate off-grade eggs that have traditionally been discharged as a separate product at the end of the machine. Many parts of graders, such as the rollers, can transfer bacteria from dirty eggs to clean eggs. Although the risk of bacteria multiplying on dry eggs is very low, the risk is much higher with wet eggs: bacteria thrive in humid conditions. This means that risks of bacterial contamination are much greater when graders are equipped with an egg washer.
Moba had already developed an unparalleled step-by-step hygienic system for its Omnia, which is fitted with a separate roller section that passes through the washer. Leakers are removed in this roller section before they can come into contact with other surfaces. The intact eggs are passed to the next roller section of the grading and packing machine.
A new concept: Multi Outlet
Moba now introduces a Multi Outlet system that provides even more added value to this system. Leakers - and dirty eggs - can be removed in the ‘Multi drum’ before the good eggs pass to the next roller section. This system removes dirty eggs as early in the process as possible. The eggs removed by the system can be returned to be rewashed on a conveyor that brings them back to the accumulator. This approach minimises the area of the machine that could be contaminated by leaking and dirty eggs. A distinction can then be made between ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ areas.
Although the automatic separation of dirty eggs is common practice, none of the traditional methods used in the industry allows separation before egg drying and traveling further on the infeed towards the grader. All these methods need egg transports on long roller sections and in big loops. This is shown in the above left illustration.
The ‘Multi Outlet’ only needs a short loop, even when used with high-capacity Omnia PX700 graders. The above right illustration shows these short dirty-egg loops. The wash and rewash sections can then be clearly separated from the grader’s clean egg area.
The ‘Multi drum’ name is now even more applicable, as the unit can:
- Orientate the eggs
- Drop leaking eggs into an outlet for removal
- Discharge dirty eggs into an outlet for cleaning
- Separate roller sections into relative dirty and clean sections
- Transfer eggs from rollers passing through an egg washer to a downstream dry roller section
The concept is shown in the above diagram. The eggs travel from left to right through the Multi Outlet system, where:
1. Eggs from the egg washer are transported on a separate roller section and are subjected to an automated camera inspection. Each egg is checked for leaks and dirt.
2. Leakers are rejected before they can come into contact with any other surfaces. The leaking eggs drop into a bin and are removed from the machine. Some machines are equipped with an automated system for the collection of these eggs, such as an auger or pump system.
3. Dirty eggs are removed by a series of soft plastic flaps with gentle egg handling properties. These flaps, unlike brushes used to catch eggs, have a hygienic and easy-to-clean surface without crevices where bacteria could multiply.
4. The dirty eggs are transferred to a conveyor that can be connected to a rewash return conveyor.
5. The eggs are then oriented (correct point setting) and transferred to a dry roller section that carries only clean eggs to the downstream egg dryer, UV disinfection unit, crack detection unit and the actual grader.
6. At the end of the production the whole section can be cleaned with high-pressure water sprays: 2, 3 and 4 can be retracted for easy access. An automated CIP system can also be used to clean and disinfect the two roller sections.
For now the Multi Outlet system is only available on PX700 machines. At the IPPE Atlanta 2019 the Multi Outlet will be introduced.