For markets where optimising flock efficiency is crucial, the monitoring and efficient handling of different shell qualities can have a surprisingly positive result for the business.
Moba launched this function to detect the shell strength of every individual egg about a year ago. This innovation is based on acoustic analysis and is set to enable customers to do two things:
Monitor flocks based on average shell quality and uniformity within a supply of eggs
Grade eggs based on shell quality. This means that from a flock of relatively low quality, the stronger shells (which still often represent 80–90 per cent of the eggs) go to retail products, while the worst is downgraded to an industrial product.
After testing this function at various test sites, it is set to become a standard feature of Moba’s crack detection function. From August 2020, all Omnia machines that are equipped with a crack detector will offer shell strength detection as an additional standard feature.
The functionality is supported by iMoba to easily generate overviews of flocks.
Moba’s vision crack detection using AI
In the North American egg market, Salmonella contamination has triggered a rapid change of perspective on hygiene. Cooperation between research institutes, branch organisations and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) led to new guidelines on product handling.
Addressing this, Moba launched a hygienic programme last year. The important first step was the multi-outlet concept, a way to separate dirty eggs from the production line at the earliest possible stage.
The next step occurs a little further downstream where eggs are inspected for cracks. Moba has announced a futuristic development programme to incorporate AI into a vision system for detecting cracks.
According to Moba, this type of contactless system is the next step in the company’s hygienic programme. Moba started this project together with its long-term partner company IHFood from Denmark.
Artificial Intelligence and deep-learning technology have been applied for many years in Moba’s Egg Inspector, used for leaker and dirt detection. This technology has become so mature, that even searching for cracks which are barely visible to the human eye, is within reach. Technology that was already proven by Moba researchers in the lab some years ago is now ready for commercial application. Moba expects commercial units within a year.
AI is a game-changer in the egg industry
Paul de Schouwer, commercial director of Moba, explained, “Where most market segments focus on optimising profits and squeezing the highest possible yield out of the logistical balancing act between supplies and products, other market segments are dealing with unheard hygienic challenges, to such an extent that simplicity prevails over the yield of the operation.”
“In such a situation, the new technology using AI will certainly help with simplifying things,” de Schouwer added.
“Many vision-based attempts for crack detection have failed so far. The reason was always an unsustainable balance between low detection rates and high false rejects. Our new technology overcomes this. Artificial Intelligence evolves at an enormous pace, so we are sure that it will be found more and more in our egg graders,” de Schouwer concluded.