Since then the company has revolutionized the hatchery sector by means of its concept based on laminar airflow and gas sealed incubation.
“The larger and more uniform chicks are when they hatch, the greater their chances of achieving their full genetic potential. To provide customers with the best chick quality, hatcheries must have incubators and hatchers which generate maximum development, expressed in terms of chick length, and the highest possible degree of uniformity. With HatchTech’s MicroClimer Incubation Technology, chicks are up to 1 cm longer than chicks hatched in traditional equipment, depending on the breed and type of chick,” says Tjitze Meter, founder and president of Hatchtech Incubation Technology.
Setting the standards
In 1995 HatchTech recognized the importance of embryo temperature as the most influential factor during the incubation process. An optimum embryo temperature leads to improved day-old chick quality, which can be measured by chick length. The company’s innovations have become global standards in the incubation industry. HatchTech project engineer Ronald van de Werken explains:
“We developed a concept that solves the major problems of traditional incubators. Our technology improves the uniformity of embryo temperature during the incubation process, providing the required cooling capacity for modern yield breeds of poultry, turkeys and chicks.
“The cooling process and temperature control is critical. A temperature of between 37.8 and 36.70C must be maintained, as this is crucial to the survival of the embryo and to improving the first days of a chick’s life. A lot of research has taken place into these crucial first days and our incubation technology has brought big improvements on earlier procedures. The number of unhatched eggs has been much reduced, for example.”
All the company’s setters and hatchers are based on the patented MicroClimer concept, which involves an airflow that circulates through the egg mass inside the incubator. This laminar, horizontal airflow touches the eggs and is immediately controlled by a radiator again. All six sections of the incubator are thus separately controlled by their own radiator and sensor. The actual embryo temperature is determined by the airflow over the egg, the heat production of the embryo, the heat transfer capacity of the air, and the air temperature.
HatchTech was also the first manufacturer to gas-seal the incubator. This allows the machine to trap the natural moisture that is lost by the eggs during incubation. The relative humidity reaches the desired level of 70 percent, which optimizes the heat transfer capacity of the air. This is especially important when the embryos need heat to begin incubation. The natural moisture lost from the eggs in the incubator is captured and used as a heat-carrier.
Prior to HatchTech’s innovations, incubation technology had remained largely unchanged since the 1950s. HatchTech engineers have gained extensive experience in developing space-efficient, hygienic and practical solutions for new and existing hatcheries. Their skills include 2D and 3D design of logistical setup, layout, drainage, ventilation, water systems, electrical and data systems and more.
Whereas stainless steel and copper pipes were the materials previously in use in hatchery units, aluminium profiles currently comprise 90 percent of this market. The ease of design afforded by aluminium, coupled with its resistance to corrosion in a moist environment, have made it the material of preference in this sector.
The ever-growing worldwide sales of Hatchtech’s products indicate that their concept has been welcomed by many users, who would appear to back the company’s claim that its technology not only benefits the financial and technical results of a hatchery – it also benefits the total production chain of poultry, meat and eggs.