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Japan's Super Egg Machine

Part 1

Japanese Eggs That Are Safe to Eat Raw


Auto-loader (C) Nabel

Aligning the eggs in the right direction

Aligning the eggs in the right direction (C) Nabel

Cleaning the eggs

Cleaning the eggs (C) Nabel

Many people in Japan like to start the day with a hot bowl of white rice, over which they pour a raw egg flavored with a dash of soy sauce. In other countries, eating eggs without cooking them is considered a bad idea, because of the risk of salmonella infection or other bacteria. In Japan, eggs are specially checked to make sure that they are safe to eat raw. But how can you inspect inside an egg without breaking the shell? In Japan, a highly advanced machine takes care of the whole process automatically: cleaning the eggs, checking them for quality, sorting them for size, and finally packaging them and sealing the carton. Of course, eggs are very fragile and the slightest of bumps can be enough to crack them. They need to be handled very carefully—as gently as if a person were holding them in his or her hands. Japanese machines use the very latest technology to make sure that the eggs receive no shock during the process. The latest machines can process 120,000 eggs in an hour—that's 33 eggs in just one second!

Let's take a look at the machine in action. The first stage is to wash the freshly laid eggs. Before this, the machine lines up the eggs so that they are all facing the same way. If you look at a package of eggs in the supermarket, you will notice that the eggs are all arranged with their pointed ends down. Unlike the blunt end of the egg, there is no pocket of air in the pointed end. If the pointed end faces up, the yolk will float up and come into contact with the shell. The shell is the part of the egg that is most likely to be affected by bacteria, so it is important to keep a good distance between the yolk and the shell at all times. When an egg rolls, its pointed end will naturally end up facing downwards. The machine uses this characteristic to line up the eggs before cleaning starts. Twelve special brushes are rotated at high speeds, polishing off every last speck of dirt and dust from the eggs. Jets of air and eleven drying brushes are then used to get rid of the water, and three propellers complete the drying stage.