Ferme de Kervenac'h

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Egg grading efficiency increased by 50%

Interview with Patrick Charpin - owner of Ferme de Kernenac'h

In 2013, a grader installation took place in the idyllic small town of Treglamus, in France. The grader installed was the first OptiGrader 400 model in France, although its big brother, the OptiGrader 600, has already proven itself on the French market. The OptiGrader 400 placed at Ferme de Kervenac’h has a capacity of 135,000 eggs per hour when being used in combination with an automatic loading system. When this model is used in combination with an accumulator, the capacity can reach 144,000 eggs per hour.

The installation

The installed OptiGrader comes with a fully automatic depalletiser, semi-automatic power lift for loading manually several stacks of eggs in a single stroke and an automatic loading system. At the back-end, where packed products come off the OptiGrader, a fully automatic pallet street is realised. Boxes containing packed eggs are weighed, scanned and sent to the correct pallet, where they are placed according to pre-programmed patterns.

The location is a newly acquired building, completely renovated before the installation of the OptiGrader by the farm’s new owner, Patrick Chapin. Chapin previously had two smaller grading stations, but to make further growth possible, he chose to centralise processing in Treglamus, where the OptiGrader 400 can grade and pack daily orders. 'Deciding to get another grader was an easy choice,' Chapin says. 'We’ve had a good experience for many years with . Why would I change a winning formula?'

Using three production sites of Ferme de Kervenac’h, where eggs are packed on Farmpackers, Chapin mainly supplies large discount retailers. In this segment of the market, every cent counts, and contractual delivery obligations are very strict. Reliability is the keyword, and reliability is what the farm has achieved with the purchase of the OptiGrader. Chapin’s confidence in the local support he gets, plus the one-stop shopping for the entire installation, made the decision even easier.  

As grader capacities get higher, the number of temporary stops needs to be minimised, and planning and organisation around the grader must be as efficient as possible. Right after start-up at Ferme de Kervenac’h, numbers reached well over a million eggs within an eight-hour working day. This has resulted in a tremendous increase in production efficiency, with the aid of advanced quality control and off-grade egg removal systems. The graded numbers of eggs per man-hour have increased by 50 per cent!

Part of the realised production efficiency is due to the SANOVO cleaning concept implemented within the grader line and the use of CIP (automatic Cleaning-In-Place) on the OptiLoader. The whole infeed, including weighing scales, crack detector and inserting mechanism, is fully wash-down. Not a single part has to be taken out or covered to avoid damage. Even the complete packing lanes are fully wash-down, resulting in an overall reduction of cleaning hours and, of course, staffing. This easy way of cleaning an entire grader and loader brings hygiene to a whole new standard.

Chapin says that the new configuration of the OptiGrader – with denesting of egg packing and packing of eggs at the same site - has allowed him to have dedicated teams for each side of the machine, improving the optimum yield of the grader.

The EGG-IT-Touch program and large overhead information screens help operators to react at moment’s notice, benefitting the overall performance of the line.  

The introduction of the next generation of denesters are given increased buffer capacity and, surprisingly, making the setting and changing of packing material easier and more comfortable. Chapin says he is very happy with the choice he made. In his opinion, the OptiGrader, with its carefully designed functionalities, is a no-nonsense piece of heavy machinery, ready for the future.


See the OptGrader video here: