Training in the palm of your hand

Following on from our successful egg grading game for children, the CRC is pleased to announce the release of a new training tool to teach egg grading skills to adults.

Based on the same back-end that powers the iOS Game, Egg Grab’n’Grade, the CRC’s “Egg Grading Simulator” has been written to run on either PC or Mac computers. While the main purpose of the software has been for skill development in the workforce, it may also be a useful teaching aid in schools that are currently not using iOS technology in class and so have been unable to utilise the game.

The simulator shows an egg candling table, with a mirror and candling light that can be switched on or off. Eggs roll past the user, who has to identify a variety of defect types, which include leaking, dirty, cracked, oversized or undersized, and misshapen eggs.

The beauty of the simulator is that it is completely customisable, with time, speed, percentage and distribution of egg defects all being variable.

A score card at the end of the simulation provides instant feedback to the user, who can see which eggs they have missed and gauge their level of accuracy in detecting and removing bad eggs.

The development of the simulator came about as the result of discussions with producers who identified difficulties involved with on the job candling training. Training in the real-life situation of a production line can mean a significant drop in quality while a new trainee takes time to acquire both the knowledge and skill required to perform the task.

“This simulator now gives me a tool I can use to teach new staff at least how to recognize different egg types before we let them loose on our production line” commented one producer enthusiastically. “You have to be able to recognize the bad eggs as a first step before you can even be asked to remove them, let alone perform that task at speed.”

A screenshot of the simulation software
A screenshot of the simulation software

Feedback from many end-users was incorporated in to the development process, with developers Holopoint Interactive providing a number of Alpha and Beta versions for testing. “Following an iterative development process, I’m confident we’ve got it right” said Education Manager, Liz Roan. “Understandably, with the variety of grading processes that are used in industry, we can’t represent them all in one simulation; however we have taken common components from a number of systems and incorporated them. By making the simulator customisable, each farm can adjust the combination of eggs to represent the flock they are currently packing, or even suppress various egg types altogether if their farm has processes that remove them before they get to the candling table.“

A limited number of copies of the software have been distributed to interested producers for trial. Their response has been encouraging.

One producer told us that she had successfully used the simulator to train both new and older, more experienced egg candling staff. “It is fun for them to do and having the score allows them to measure their improvement”, she said. “Egg candling is very difficult to teach as the booths are small. This simulator allows teaching in a much better atmosphere.”

For further information on this exciting development or to request a copy of the software, Australian egg producers and school teachers can email Liz Roan at the Poultry CRC.

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