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1. (WO2015179417) PROCÉDÉ ET DISPOSITIF POUR INJECTION IN OVO CONDITIONNELLE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

What is Claimed:

1. An automated in ovo injection machine for conditionally injecting fluid substances into eggs, only when said eggs are present beneath a conditional in ovo injector, said machine comprising:

a support frame having a movable supporting structure mounted thereon, said movable supporting structure retaining an egg tray thereon and said movable supporting structure and said egg tray moving together laterally in a generally horizontal direction when said egg tray is retained on said support structure;

a plurality of fluid substance manifolds, each comprising: a fluid substance intake opening, to receive fluid substances from a reservoir; an opening to receive a common pneumatic signal; a plurality of openings to receive an individual pneumatic actuation signal; a plurality of spool valves; and a plurality of fluid substance output ports;

an injector assembly mounted on or coupled to said support frame and having a plurality of conditional in ovo injectors arranged in a generally rectangular, longitudinally extending matrix above said egg tray;

said plurality of conditional in ovo injectors being movable in a substantially vertical direction and having needles to inject eggs in said egg tray retained on and positioned by said supporting structure;

said supporting structure being movable between an injection position in which eggs in an egg tray retained on said supporting structure are positioned directly underneath and in vertical alignment with said injectors and a loading position in which said supporting structure and said egg tray retained thereon are positioned laterally away from said injectors, said supporting structure being movable back and forth between said injection and loading positions;

wherein each injector is equipped with a means for activating a pneumatic logic circuit, wherein when the injectors are moved down onto the eggs, or the eggs are moved up onto the injectors, the eggs physically contact and displace the injectors; and

wherein this displacement activates the pneumatic logic circuit such that, in a subsequent injection step, each conditional injector will only deploy its injection needle and inject the vaccine or the other fluid substance when an egg is present beneath it; and

wherein when an egg is not present, the injector's needle is not deployed and no liquid is administered to the egg.

2. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 1, wherein each conditional injector comprises at least one magnet, wherein vertical movement from an initial position to an injection position, caused by the physical contact and movement of the injector by an egg, causes a magnetic switch to be turned on or off, depending upon the desired logic, which activates the pneumatic logic circuit such that when the egg is present, and the injector is in the injection position, the needle will be deployed, and the vaccine or other substance will be administered to the egg.

3. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 1, further comprising a fluid conduit, which is operably connected to an injector valve, one input of an "AND" valve, and the injector's needle; and

wherein when an egg displaces the conditional in ovo injector, the switch is activated, which causes the injector valve to be actuated, which allows a pneumatic pressure to be applied to the fluid conduit, which causes the injector's needle to be deployed downward, into its corresponding egg, and also applies pressure to one of the two inputs of the "AND" valve.

4. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 3, further comprising a third valve, a vaccine directional valve, a vaccine chamber, and a vaccine pump comprising a spring;

wherein after the needle is deployed into the down position and the first input of the "AND" valve is pressurized, the third valve is activated, causing pressure to be applied to the second input of the "AND" gate, which causes a vaccine directional valve to move, which places the vaccine chamber in fluid communication with the conditional injector's needle.

5. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 4, further comprising a vaccine pump

actuator and an exhaust valve;

wherein after the vaccine chamber is placed in fluid communication with the needle, the vaccine pump actuator is actuated to power the vaccine pump, which then delivers vaccine to the needle and into the egg, after which the third valve is deactivated, to shift the vaccine directional valve, and the exhaust valve relieves pressure from the "AND" valve.

6. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 5, wherein after the pressure is relieved from the "AND" valve, the vaccine directional valve is shifted to isolate the vaccine pump from the needle and also connect the pump to a vaccine bag; and

wherein pressure is then applied to move each needle into its up position, the pump actuator is deactivated, to remove power from vaccine pump, the exhaust valve relieves pressure from pump, and the vaccine pump pulls fluid from bag by spring action.

7. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 2, wherein the presence of an egg causes the conditional injector to move from an initial position to an injection position, thereby turning on the reed switch.

8. The automated in ovo injection machine of claim 1, further comprising a pusher assembly.

9. The automated in ovo injection machine of any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the conditional injectors comprise a needle depth regulation means.

10. The automated in ovo injection machine of any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the machine comprises an egg flat retention means.

11. The automated in ovo injection machine of any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the machine comprises QC lights, for indicating which injectors have been displaced by an egg- 12. The automated in ovo injection machine of any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the machine comprises a four-post lifter, which maintains a substantially parallel alignment between the flat of eggs and the array of conditional injectors, such that the injector heads are substantially vertically aligned with respect to the longitudinal axis of the eggs..

13. The automated in ovo injection machine of any one of the proceeding claims, wherein the injection section includes a moveable injector assembly in which said injectors are individually moveable within said injector assembly in a vertical direction, and further includes gripping elements in said injector assembly which inflate to grip said injectors when properly positioned on said eggs for injection.

14. A method of injecting eggs with a fluid comprising the step of injecting the eggs with the automated conditional in ovo injection machine of any one of the preceding claims.

15. The method of claim 14, comprising the steps of:

a. manually moving the supporting structure horizontally in a first direction to the loading position;

b. arranging at least one tray of eggs onto the supporting structure in said loading position;

c. manually moving the supporting structure horizontally in a second direction to the injection position, said second direction being opposite said first direction;

d. activating the automated injection assembly to inject the eggs on the egg tray with a fluid in said injection position; and

e. manually moving the supporting structure horizontally back to the loading position where the egg tray can be removed and a new egg tray loaded for a next automated injection sequence.

16. A needle depth adjuster (NDA) for use with the in ovo injection device of claim 1 wherein said NDA restricts the depth of needle penetration such that relatively smaller eggs are penetrated less deeply than are relatively larger eggs, and wherein the reduced penetration of the relatively smaller eggs improves the hatchability by reducing the percent of embryos that are damaged by injection.

17. The NDA of claim 16 further comprising a bottom portion which conforms to, and minimally exceeds the diameter of, the circular body of an in ovo injector and a top portion which further comprises an opening through which a needle guide sleeve of said in ovo injector may inserted and wherein a retaining means is attached to the needle guide sleeve such that the retaining means allows the NDA to limit the range of motion of an injection needles.

18. The NDA of claim 16, further comprising a first portion and a second portion, wherein said first and second portions are inserted into a cylinder or shaft of an in ovo injector such that the range of motion of an injector piston is limited, thereby limiting the depth of needle penetration, by the combined action of the first and second portions of the NDA making physical contact with both the injector piston and with a top surface of an injector support plate.

19. The NDA of paragraph 16, which when operably connected to the in ovo injector does not limit the range of motion of the needle when a sufficiently large egg is present beneath the injector, but does maximally limit the range of motion of the needle when a sufficiently small egg is present beneath the injector.

20. The NDA of claim 19, which limits the needle penetration depth by limiting the range of motion of the needle to a greater extent when a relatively smaller egg is present beneath the injector as compared to when a relatively larger egg is present beneath the injector.