Grupo Fortec automates bulk palletizing with Mitsubishi Electric robots

Grupo Fortec is using robots from Mitsubishi Electric to palletize its bulk ceramic adhesive packages.
Grupo Fortec is using robots to palletize its bulk ceramic adhesive packages. Source: Mitsubishi Electric

Grupo Fortec, a manufacturer of stucco and tile adhesives, is incorporating robots from Mitsubishi Electric in its manufacturing, material handling, and packaging areas. The company said it turned to automation to keep up with a period of rapid growth. 

The handling and packaging of bulk ceramic adhesive packages weighing 20 and 40 kg (about 44 and 88 lb., respectively) was previously a manual process at Grupo Fortec. The Apaxco, Mexico-based company sought to automate palletizing to improve productivity and keep its employees safer and healthier. 

Grupo Fortec implemented Mitsubishi Electric’s technology with the help of Koatli Industrial Engineering, an authorized systems integrator. The companies worked together to build a robotic application specified to the needs of a plant in Guanajuato, Mexico. 

Mitsubishi Electric builds cell for bulk items

Mitsubishi Electric built a production line for Grupo Fortec made up of two automatic packaging machines, a chain extraction belt system, a real-time weighing system for the bulk items, bag positioners, and roller conveyors.

In addition, the system included a robotic cell with an articulated arm and a load capacity of 70 kg (175 lb.). It can handle bulk products using an adjustable gripper that fits the dimensions of its 20 and 40 kg bags. 

On the control side, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), variable frequency drives (VFDs), and other components were networked across the distributed discrete and analog system through CC-Link IE Field.

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Grupo Fortec to standardize on systems

After implementing the system, production increased by 30%, and Grupo Fortec reported that it saved 20% of total operating costs. 

In addition to providing a return on investment (ROI) within the company’s goals, the system also has the capacity to increase production as demand increases. the company currently produces 3,200 tons a month, but its plant has a capacity of 50,000 tons. With the configured installation, it has the potential to reach maximum production capacity. 

“We are standardizing Mitsubishi Electric equipment in our other plants,” said Miguel González, operations manager at Grupo Fortec. “We are already working on the design stage, from the initial process of an electric motor, to the bulk counter and the real-time monitoring system of the on-floor work. All plants should be the same.”

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Automated Warehouse staff