The TSS QCM+ microprocessor unit is the heart of the laboratory based system which with a full configuration can measure the following egg quality traits electronically:
To obtain maximum benefit from the from the QCM+ and the full range of instruments Eggware software needs to be used. Using Eggware sensory observations can be added to the standard egg quality tests, such as blood spots, meat spots, odour and yolk colour (if the TSS colorimeter is not used).
The instruments required in addition to the QCM+ and Eggware software to make the full range of measurements are:
QCR - shell colour reflectometer
The reflectometer is used to measure shell colour the uniformity of which is perceived by many consumers as an indication of overall egg quality. Indeed so important has this trait become that many retailers now insist that eggs supplied to them have a specific depth of colour.
The instrument, which is used by many world poultry breeders, works by taking a percentage reading between black and white with the former expressed as 0% and the latter pure white 100%. For most world brown egg markets, a reading of 25-40% is required. For white eggs an acceptable reading is 75-85%.
Results expressed in a world standard form, can be displayed on the instrument itself or on the microprocessor. Calibration takes less than a minute.
The head of the instrument is ergonomically shaped and, being made from anodised aluminium, is very light and easy to handle. A stainless steel, non-wearing insert where the egg is presented to the instrument ensures optimum accuracy and long life.
Egg and shell weight
QCBi-XV - digital balance with USB interface
As with the reflectometer, the balance can be used as a stand alone instrument or linked to the microprocessor for the automatic calculation of Haugh Unit values with the QCM+
It is used to weigh both the whole egg and the dried shells to an accuracy of 0.1g and is quick and easy to use. A plastic tray holds the egg in place while it is being weighed and if required a battery can be fitted to allow the instrument to be used away from the mains electrical supply.
The balance is fitted with a USB interface and is supplied complete with its own mains power supply unit, calibration masses are optional.
QCH - albumen height gauge
The height gauge is used for for measuring albumen height, one of the most important characteristics of egg quality, albumen height can be measured to an accuracy of 0.1mm, in a mere fraction of a second, using a unique freeze-on-contact technology.
Simply break out the egg, push down the sharp-pointed probe (considerably more accurate than probes with blunt ends) and the operation is completed.
The higher the albumen height, the better the albumen quality. The height can vary from as low as 1.5mm in stale eggs of poor quality to 12mm in good quality fresh eggs. Generally the younger the bird, producing a newly laid egg, the higher the albumen height.
Manufactured entirely from food grade stainless steel, the height gauge requires no maintainence, it's very easy to keep clean, and can be calibrated in a matter of seconds. It is used world-wide as a proven industry standard.
This is calculated within the system on the input of egg weight and albumen height.
QCC - yolk colorimeter
The QCC yolk colorimeter is an in-line electronic instrument to objectively measure yolk colour. Results are expressed in a worldwide recognised standards which are widely used by egg packers, processors and researchers.
The instrument measures the ratio of red, green and blue light reflected from the yolk, either whole or broken, when illuminated by a flashed white & green LED source and compares these values with known percentages of the the chosen standard which are pre-programmed into the Colorimeter.
The Colorimeter is automatically calibrated before use and its performance can be checked by reference.
In use the colorimeter is connected via the QCM+ microprocessor unit, and if required, the full range of TSS range of instruments.
The yolk colour test can be made individually or as part of a full quality control test. A destructive test of about 30 eggs per test/flock is sufficient to give a meaningful result.
As outlined earlier, after measuring the albumen height on the glass table, the broken out egg is swept down a chute to the sample cup where the albumen is separated from the yolk.
A single key stroke measures the yolk colour, with the result being displayed on the microprocessor & recorded directly to the Eggware software. When the reading is accepted, the yolk sample is automatically tipped from the sample cup in readiness for the next sample measurement.
This is calculated within system on the input of whole egg weight and dried shell weight.
QCT - shell thickness micrometer
Shell thickness is almost entirely dependant on breed, feed and the age of the bird - it is important to have a strong shell in order to minimise the number of second quality eggs.
The micrometer electronically measures the thickness of the shell in microns with the results being entered into the test. It can be used as a stand alone instrument or linked to the microprocessor.
The instruments are very easy to use simply place the shell between the two spherical ball ends of the micrometer and screw up the ratchet wheel - the reading when the ratchet sounds is the shell thickness measurement is displayed in microns.
Shell strength and deformation
QC-SPA - shell and packaging strength analyser
This instrument can be interfaced so that the results are integrated into the Eggware QA report. For full details on the QC-SPA can be found here.