An East-Westphalian success story of an egg producer association

Owi-Ei-Erzeugergemeinschaft Hof Determeyer - "Their enthusiasm and mine matched well."

About OWI-ei
Founded by Thomas Determeyer in 2003, the German company started out with just around 10.000 laying hens and selling eggs on contract. Today, the organization grades & sells high-quality egg products sourced from around 30 egg layer farms. The company Owi-Ei in Rietberg (Westphalia, Germany) grades, picks and packs approximately 600,000 eggs a day and transports them to around 80 supermarkets in the region.

The product portfolio of the OWi-Ei Erzeugergemeinschaft consists of barn, free-range, and organic eggs but also offers colored eggs and other trade products on request. Their goods are sold directly and indirectly to retail and further processing. And the company has massively grown over the last 20 years!

From expanding production facilities that started with 170m² to 2.500m² today, over increasing the grading capacity from 11.000 eggs/hour to 80.000 eggs/hour, to listing the largest national retailers to their customer base – this is a real company success story. OWi-Ei also implemented a state-of-the-art egg traceability system from Ovotrack, for more transparency of an individual eggs’ origin. The whole organization is IFS-certified, and their farms have a variety of quality certificates ensuring top egg product quality all the way.

Choosing the right grading solution

Such a growth pace also requires investments into new production equipment that lives up to modern requirements, like traceability. But how did Thomas Determeyer decide for a new grading system?

“We had a couple of grading machines since we started, and the Staalkat machines, as they were called in the past, were always reliable, and we knew the system already”, says Thomas, Owner of the OWi-Ei Erzeugergemeinschaft.

At that time, OWi-Ei was running the grading center with an Ardenta 12. The machine was reliable, but could not achieve the increased capacity requirements anymore. The company also wanted more focus on egg traceability, for which individual egg handling is needed, is a feature that is only supported by newer machines like the GraderPro.

“We heard that SANOVO is developing new capacity models of the GraderPro and together with them we started discussing about a new grading solution. We already had a great partnership, and their service is really good and close to our facilities as well”, explains Thomas.

Reference visit for proof-of-concept

But before investing in a GraderPro, Thomas traveled to Denmark, taking a look at the GraderPro 400 at Dava Food’s grading centre to convince themselves about the concept.

“The capacity of the 400 was a little too high, but we were convinced about the egg handling technology, because it packs every egg individually into the egg package. This is extremely important for egg traceability. So, we decided for a GraderPro 220, because it matched our capacity and traceability requirements”, says Thomas.

But that was not the only reason OWi-Ei decided to invest into the GraderPro. Especially in Germany, there is a large variety of different egg packages and types. That requires that it is easy and fast to switch the packing lanes to process new orders.

Ensuring successful project execution

To ensure the project becomes a success, the production with the current machine had to continue until the GraderPro was fully up and running.

“It was a puzzle with all the logistics, new rooms, etc. – but we made it. The project and construction of the equipment on our floor was well planned, everything worked, and everything was in time. We were quite lucky that even the De-Palletizer could be installed while the old machine was still running”, says Thomas.

Improved plant performance through less working hours and higher throughput

But what is the actual outcome of the investment, was it worth it? Did the performance of the plant improve? Thomas definitely thinks so: “First of all, the OptiLoader is super cool. Extremely easy to use without technical knowledge, very easy to clean, it does what it is supposed to do in a reliable way.”

While OWi-Ei had a throughput of 600.000 eggs per 16 hour shifts before, they can now handle 600.000 eggs per 10 hour shift. What else? “With the GraderPro 220 we were able to reduce working hours, cleaning has become way easier, eggs are coming out clean too and the switching of packaging is fast and works very well”, says Thomas.

We thank OWi-Ei for the great cooperation so far and are looking with excitement to how the company continues their growth journey.

Please check out their website to learn more about their offerings:

"With the GraderPro 220 we were able to reduce working hours, cleaning has become way easier, eggs are coming out clean too and the switching of packaging is fast and works very well”

Thomas Determeyer founder of OWI-EI