Case Study: Schipper Eggs

Remote feed mill control means happier operators, happier hens, & better eggs


The Challenge

In raising and caring for the hens that deliver the goods, commercial egg producers like Holland, Michigan-based Schipper Eggs must store, mix, and move tons of grain—the nutritionally balanced poultry feed the hens need.

Schipper Eggs’ automated feed mill is typical: raw grain, usually corn, is mixed with soybean meal, vitamins, and minerals, and then transported to the buildings that house the egg-laying hens. Automated feeders deliver the feed to the hens. 

At a large egg producer like Schipper Eggs, the feed mill operates 14-16 hours a day. The automated mill runs reliably, but during operation it used to be mostly unsupervised. Facilities Manager Dan Berghorst knew additional oversight was needed. 

“We needed a way for the operators to have instant remote access,” he explains, “including being able to monitor the mill’s operational status and also start, stop, or modify how the feed was being mixed.”  

Berghorst was asked to implement a remote monitoring system.

The Solution

Berghorst had switched the mill to an Opto 22 SNAP PAC control system shortly before groov View became available. When local Opto 22 distributor OptoSolutions told him about the groov View HMI, Berghorst got a groov Box.

Setting up the groov Box and preparing screens for an operator interface took little time. Building screens was quick, he says, and it didn’t take long to get up and running.

Berghorst set up accounts for secure operation, and feed mill operators now monitor and control the mill from smartphones. The remote access also lets him monitor and troubleshoot the mill’s control system.

Schipper Eggs web-based HMIA web browser includes live video in an overview of machinery status.

Berghorst has used other mobile SCADA products, and he appreciates the ease of updating the operator interface on many different devices in the field at the same time.

"I love the way that I can change screens and it gets pushed to all the devices as soon as they refresh," he says.

Happy operators, happy hens, better eggs.

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