Optimation automated an egg farm whose end user is a large supermarket chain focused on high-end quality food and produce. The egg farm has nearly one million chickens. Chickens require an ideal environment: fresh air, clean water, abundant feed, cleanliness, controlled lighting and temperatures.

The project involved a dozen laying and brooder houses, a feed mill, an extensive conveyor network, a central processing facility, an automated composting system for waste, boilers, fans, and lights, and networked systems. There are more than 180 automated alarms in each laying house.

The system conveys eggs from laying houses to a processing building. In processing, every egg is washed, sanitized, weighed, and scanned by ultrasonic detectors. They are then sorted and shunted to bulk racks for restaurants or cartons for consumers.

The system uses Telemecanique for controls, programmed with ProWorx 32 software and built around Modicon Quantum and Momentum PLCs. It is networked by Modbus, Modbus Plus, Ethernet, and wireless Ethernet. Interfaces include a web-enabled HMI.


The project goal was for complete automation – human hands never touch the eggs. This egg farm has become a program of continuing improvements.


Optimation modernized the control system, but was able to leverage the I/O wiring that was already in place. The new processors allowed a faster upgrade at a lower cost.