Computer vision technology could help the egg industry overcome problems that make the counting process less accurate.

Existing egg counter technologies can be 5-20% inaccurate, said Evan Anderson, research and technology company Agrinerds Computer-aided Designer, at the 2022 Poultry Tech Summit. He continued that dirty barn conditions impacting the technology, or eggs being closely grouped together, can affect the accuracy of current egg counters.

“When a machine under or over counts the number of eggs, producers do not know what’s really happening on their farms or how to address potential issues such as disease,” he explained.

However, a new computer vision technology could provide more accuracy when counting eggs on the conveyor belt.

How the system works

The system uses multiple sensors, an infrared beam and visual imaging software to count eggs. 

After eggs are collected onto conveyor belts, the system separates them into individual lanes for counting, Anderson said. The eggs then pass through an infrared beam, an ultrasonic sensor and a mounted camera, which all are measuring the egg count. 

Once eggs pass through the counters, the counters are checked against each other using a central controller and a final tally is produced. The system is 99% accurate due to its machine learning algorithm

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“Relying on one counter seems to be an issue for producers,” Anderson continued. “What we’re trying to do is use multiple counters in a series to have them self-check against themselves to provide a more accurate count.” 

The technology fits different sizes of conveyor belts while its modular design allows for easier installation and routine maintenance. It contains a self-cleaning air system that keeps the sensors clean and counting accurately. It also utilizes self-validating mechanisms that can mitigate miscounts between the barn and processing plant.

The camera counter system also has the potential to recognize dirt, cracks or other quality issues, however, more testing needs to be done to ensure this. Agrinerds is looking for producers to test the system with it as it moves further into development.

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