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Fig. 1. One of the sites of the Cooperative La Cruz Azul is in Hidalgo. Some of the newest products of the cement manufacturer are eight different types of a new tile mortar. // Bild 1. Einer der Standorte der Cooperativa La Cruz Azul befindet sich im Bundesstaat Hidalgo. Zu den neuesten Produkten des Zementherstellers gehören acht unterschiedliche Varianten eines neuen Fliesenmörtels. Photo/Foto: BEUMER

Fast process from beginning to end

The Cooperativa La Cruz Azul S.C.L, third-largest cement manufacturer in Mexico, required an entire packaging line for the flexible and fully automated filling, palletising and packaging of different types of a new tile mortar. The solution of BEUMER Group, Beckum/Germany, won out over the competition, providing everything from one single source. This included the BEUMER fillpac R filling system that was adapted for filling different materials. They also included the BEUMER bag placer to ensure a more efficient filling of the high-quality materials. With this new packaging line, Cruz Azul can achieve their projected production capacity.

Bridges, high-rises, tunnels for roads, subways and sewage systems: some of the biggest construction projects in Latin America are currently being built in Mexico. This makes the country the second largest cement market on the continent, right after Brazil. In order to hold their own against national and international competition, Mexican manufacturers are developing more and more high-class materials. Cooperativa La Cruz Azul, headquartered in Mexico City, is one of them. The production of this leading company, founded in 1881, is aimed exclusively towards the domestic market. The manufacturer operates four plants with a yearly production of around 8 mt of Portland cement, which is only one of their end products. The main plant is in Jasso in the state of Hidalgo (Figure 1).

Fig. 2. BEUMER Group supplies everything from one single source. This includes the BEUMER fillpac filling system. It can be adjusted to the changing parameters of the different materials. // Bild 2. Die BEUMER Group lieferte alles aus einer Hand. Dazu gehört die Abfüllanlage BEUMER fillpac R. Diese lässt sich an die veränderten Parameter der unterschiedlichen Materialien anpassen. Photo/Foto: BEUMER

Success plays an important role for Cruz Azul as well. Its cement production represents 22 % of the national market. With the goal to further increase this share, the cooperative developed high-quality tile mortar in eight different variations as one of their new products. Distributors and end customers also want the products to arrive by the required date and quantity. A small amount of the mortar is sold in big bags, the majority however is sold in 20 and 25 kg bags. This is why the manufacturer needed an entire packaging line that could meet very specific requirements (Figure 2). Due to varying material densities, and as a consequence different flow properties of the different variants of the new product line, the filling system had to be adjustable to the different materials as well as to smaller bag sizes without extensive retrofitting of the machine through the employees. The line should then palletise precise and stable bags stacks and package them to protect the content against transport damage and atmospheric influences.

BEUMER Group presented the BEUMER fillpac R filling system to Cruz Azul. “Changing the required parameters is simple and quick and the different material is filled efficiently into two- to four-ply paper valve bags,” explains Ralph Buchholz, Director General at BEUMER de México. In October 2015, BEUMER provided the systems. Three BEUMER eomployees from Germany and one from Mexico were in charge of installing the system. “We had to integrate the line into the existing building structure and bulk storage technology,” reports Buchholz.

The BEUMER fillpac R operates with eight rotating filling spouts according to the impeller filling principle. This way it can safely handle even fine-grained tile mortar. The rotating filling impeller is characterised by its speed and maximum material throughput. “The bags are weighed during the filling process,” explains Buchholz. The BEUMER fillpac is equipped with an electronic calibration-capable weighing unit. A special software enables filling spouts and scale to constantly compare the weight. If the determined weight is incorrect, the bags are automatically removed, discharged on a chute and opened. The collected material is fed back into the process via a spillage screw conveyor and a bucket elevator.

The system has a modular structure. The system is equipped with the new BEUMER bag placer. A ream magazine for 700 bags was also added. This allows Cruz Azul to further increase the efficiency of the filling system. Servomotors drive the application unit and the suction gripper automatically. The gripping system and the application unit apply the bag from the stack onto the filling spout. The system can pack 1,800 25 kg/h bags or 2,250 20 kg/h bags with the highest precision.

For the subsequent fully automatic, reliable and fast palletising, BEUMER installed a BEUMER paletpac layer palletiser. Per hour, it gently and reliably stacks 2,200 bags in 10-bag patterns or in 8-bag patterns on pallets of 1,220 x 1,020 x 245 mm in size. “A twin-belt turning device brings the bags in the required, dimensionally stable position,” explains Buchholz. The position accuracy of this device offers a great advantage compared to conventional turning machines, because the system’s components move the bags without mechanically deforming them. Two parallel driven belt conveyors move at different speeds and turn the bags quickly into the desired position. The intelligent control of the twin-belt turning device also takes the dimension and weight of the filled bag into consideration. Exact positioning, specified by the preset packing pattern, is achieved.

The finished bag stacks are transported over roller conveyors to the BEUMER stretch hood packaging system. It packages 110 pallet stacks per hour with stretch film hoods with film thickness ranging from 40 to 100 µm. In order to facilitate the work for the maintenance personnel and to ensure high system availability, the packaging system no longer needs a platform. Maintenance work, such as changing the blades or the sealing bars, is handled at floor level. Additional benefits include the compact design and the resulting low height and small footprint.

Fig. 3. The packaging line operates around the clock, which means that the cement manufacturer can reach its projected production capacity. // Bild 3. Die Verpackungslinie arbeitet rund um die Uhr. Der Zementhersteller erreicht damit seine geplante Produktionskapazität. Photo/Foto: BEUMER

In June 2016, Cruz Azul put the line into operation (Figure 3). In order to ensure a trouble-free operation, the system supplier’s specialists stay in close touch with the customer and help out immediately in case of malfunctions or downtimes. BEUMER Group also provided the necessary spare parts. With this project, BEUMER has installed the first BEUMER fillpac R on the American market. The cooperation with the system supplier will continue. Discussions are currently held regarding new projects in the fields of conveying and loading and palletising technology.

Further information:
BEUMER Group GmbH & Co. KG.