La Fourcade

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 STAALKAT 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.

Firstly, automation of the complete processing line has enabled us to increase the quality of the product we supply to our customers. The automatic control systems are highly reliable and immune to errors caused by distraction.

The fact that the machine is completely washable gives us the certainty of supplying a product that complies with the highest hygiene standards. At the same time, the working conditions of our employees have improved greatly. All heavy and repetitive work is now carried out by the machinery.

Marie Pierre Thomas, Production Manager, and Loic Thomas, Owner, La Fourcade

La Fourcade

The cooperation with the SANOVO TECHNOLOGY GROUP has been extremely constructive. It has answered our needs in terms of performance and adapting automation to our specific requirements.

Looking back, it was a fundamental and winning strategy to use a single supplier that took on the whole project without neglecting any details.

Marie Pierre Thomas, Production Manager, and Loic Thomas, Owner, La Fourcade

La Fourcade