Poultry producers have been using incubators to hatch eggs for more than a century.
It’s a method that dates to the early Egyptians.
A modern incubator is a device that aims not just to simulate but exceed the results from natural avian incubation. They create the perfect environment and condition for an egg to incubate because it regulates the factors such as temperature, humidity, and turning the eggs when necessary to hatch them.
Now a Sydney-based engineering company has taken this process a giant leap further with the development of a ground-breaking new control system.
Automated Control Solutions (ACS) is a company that specialises in automation and control for the manufacturing and food and beverage industries.
Established in Western Sydney over nine years ago, ACS has turned its focus to the food industry to assist poultry producers to increase their productivity.
“Our company has been doing research and development into incubator control systems for the poultry industry for many years,” says ACS founder and CEO Adam Francica.
“We have been trialling our latest system at the plant of a leading poultry producer on the outskirts of Sydney.
“The results have not only shown an increase in number and quality of hatchings, but also a huge increase in efficiency.
“After using the new technology, the producer has seen an increase of 3-5% in hatch results and a reduction in energy costs of more than 30%.
“When a client is producing more than 100,000 hatchings a week, an increase of this size is quite significant, and easily provides a quick return on investment.”
Better hatch results
Mr Francica has been working closely with a leading poultry producer for several years.
“We have been studying the hatching process over several years and have been working with hatchery managers to develop, trial and prove a control system that achieves better hatch results than current systems available on the market.
The main goal is to increase the productivity of poultry producers by increasing their efficiency and producing large numbers of uniform, robust day-old chicks.
“And the system must be flexible to suit all conditions,” says Mr Francica.
ACS developed the first prototype of the new control system three years ago and have been continuously developing and improving with their latest system in trial for the past six months.
The system is still in the developmental stages, but the early signs are most promising.
“The producer is extremely happy with the results,” says Mr Francica.
The success of the system can be largely attributed to the reliability and accuracy of its components.
Nearly all the hardware was supplied by Omron, a global leader in automation, specialising in control systems.
Omron supplied the control hardware- PLC, HMI and various control components.
Long standing relationship
“We have had a long-standing relationship with Omron,” says Mr Francica. “Our company is an authorised Omron systems integrator.”
Why did the company choose Omron?
“Omron is a reputable company,” he says. “They always provide good support and they are local. We have a strong relationship with them.”
Omron helped to implement the new system and are providing on-going support.
ACS aims to expand the control system into the poultry industry both nationally and then globally as company’s companies overseas have already expressed interest in the system.
So how does his system differ from others on the market?
“There is one key point of difference– Customisation as the system provides more control and flexibility”, says Adam.
“Our system can be custom designed to individual applications and our unique knowledge gained from research and consultation with industry leaders has enabled the development of a control system that is versatile and more flexible than competitor systems. We can locally support our control system due to in-house design and development, and this gives us a great advantage over current overseas suppliers.”
The control system uses the latest in valve technology which enables optimum temperature control and efficiency, while the PLC incorporates custom algorithms with an easy to use touchscreen for operators.
“With the new system we have been able to control the environment far more efficiently.”
Mr Francica hopes to soon unveil the new system to the world.
“It’s still not ready to market at this stage, but we are making great progress.”