With a 22-percent share of the market, Cruz Azul is already a major player in Mexico's cement industry. Even so, the company recently decided to expand its product menu with a new line of tile mortar products. In the interests of getting the new products to market quickly, the building materials supplier installed an automated packaging system for the mortar at its recently completed greenfield production facility in Hidalgo, Mexico.
To design the new packaging line and supply the equipment, Cruz Azul turned to the Beumer Group, a Germany-based systems integrator and packaging specialist. Victor Luna, technical director at Cruz Azul, says his company chose Beumer based on its experience working with the vendor on previous projects. Among other systems, Beumer has supplied the cement producer with bucket elevators, Autopac truck loaders, and Paletpac palletizing devices.
The solution Beumer Group created for Cruz Azul automates the packaging process from end to end. Among other capabilities, it fills bags with eight different types of tile mortar, stacks the bags onto pallets, and seals the loaded product for cross-country transportation.
The process begins with a "bag placer" machine that guides empty bags onto highly pressurized filling spouts that compact the fine-grained material. Once the bag is filled, an electronic scale verifies the filling accuracy and weight of each bag and automatically removes any bags that fall outside of quality standards.
After moving through a bag flattener that helps to optimize bag stack quality, the bags next pass onto a high-level palletizer. A twin-belt turning device arranges the bags for optimal placement onto a pallet. Once the bags are arranged on the pallet, the pallet moves to a Beumer stretch hood system. The stretch hood solution consists of a side-folded tube that is used to make a hood corresponding to the height of the stack. Before covering, the elastic film is stretched far enough to allow it to be drawn directly over the stack so that it lies close to the package.
When it comes to productivity, the solution is producing solid results. The new packaging system at Cruz Azul has a throughput capacity of 2,200 bags per hour.