New hatchery automation technology is being introduced to the UK by Zoetis.
KL Automation uses advanced robotics from the automotive industry to the hatchery – from egg transfer and chick take-off to washing and waste disposal systems.
The systems were developed in Canada by the KL Products, which was acquired by Zoetis in 2015. They are widely used in North America and are now being launched in Europe with one of the first installations in Spain.
“The KL systems can provide the ideal solution to companies seeking to increase their hatchery capacity at a time when Brexit threatens to limit the availability of labour,” said James Porritt, Poultry Manager for Zoetis in the UK. “The innovative technology opens up new opportunities for handling large chick volumes with utmost care and precision, and for increasing overall efficiency.”
The state-of-the-art technology moves hatching eggs and chicks with gentle, fluid motions, and uses short release heights, keeping chicks on a level surface to avoid any distress or harm during tipping. The systems are designed for high throughput, ease of sanitation, low maintenance and longevity.
The technology has been developed in conjunction with Fanuc, a leading supplier of robotics used to automate the global automotive, aerospace and medical industries.
In the transfer room the system complements the Embrex in ovo vaccine delivery systems from Zoetis. After vaccination the robotic transfer head picks up the eggs, lifts the hatch basket while still holding the eggs and then moves the eggs and basket into place before gently releasing the eggs.
For the take-off room KL developed the first automatic way of separating chicks from empty shell with the option of robotic or manual handling of the chicks. During chick processing the high-speed chick counter provides for gentle handling with accuracy up to 100,000 chicks per hour.
As well as handling chicks, the KL systems offer full automation during washing, sanitisation and vacuum waste disposal. They provide options for washing chick boxes, hatch trays, racks and buggies.
The KL systems are supported by a high level of customer assistance to minimize downtime and keep hatcheries running consistently in line with the support provided by Zoetis for hatcheries using its Embrex technology.