La Fourcade

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Most advanced automatic lines ever built

Interview with Loic Thomas - owner of La Fourcade

La Fourcade’s plant processes almost one million eggs per day, coming from around 40 farms located in the area surrounding the grading centre. It is one of the most complete and advanced automatic lines ever built.

To carry out this important and ambitious project, owner Loic Thomas decided to make use of the services of the SANOVO TECHNOLOGY GROUP, the only enterprise able to interpret the customer’s needs and plan a complete line able to satisfy all their demands.

The plant

It starts with receipt of the eggs and loading them into the grading machine, and ends with the preparation of pallets of the end product and shipment. Everything is controlled and monitored by a state-of-the-art control and management system.

More specifically, the plant is composed of a robot that picks up the trays of incoming eggs from the pallets (depalletiser) and feeds the loader of an OptiGrader 600 grading machine with a capacity of 600 cases per hour (216,000 eggs/hour).

Each egg is checked to ensure it has no defects and is clean. It is then weighed and sorted according to category before being placed in the correct pack. With this system, the La Fourcade grading plant can manage almost 50 different types of product code.

After being prepared, the packs are picked up by a high-speed conveyor system (up to one pack per second) and sent to the automatic packaging systems formed by four high performance robots. These robots are capable of picking up the packs from the belts and placing them in boxes within five seconds.

To ensure the quality of the final product, the system automatically checks that all packs are closed correctly, rejecting those with defects.

The packaging boxes (RSC cardboard box with flaps, trays, display boxes, etc.) are labelled and sent to the automatic case palletising system, formed by two robots capable of preparing up to eight pallets of different products simultaneously.

Each robot can prepare a complete pallet of packs in less than six minutes, the amount of time an egg takes to pass through the whole grading and packaging line.

All the steps listed above are monitored by a complex traceability system. In case of controls, the origin or destination of all eggs can be traced in less than 15 minutes – far below the three hours required by regulation.

See our video here.