Toymaker Lego A/S has installed more than 500 Gravicolor gravimetric mixing and dosing units and 1,500 Metro loaders for its factory in Monterrey — the largest-ever single order for Motan-Colortronic GmbH.
Motan-Colortronic announced the news Oct. 4.
A year ago, Lego of Billund, Denmark, announced plans to invest more than $100 million to expand the Monterrey plant, which injection molds interlocking plastic bricks for the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The factory opened in 2009.
After the expansion, Lego's plant in Monterrey will have more than 700 injection molding machines, according to a news release.
Motan-Colortronic and Lego did not specify the investment amount for the new material-handing equipment.
The last installment of the Motan-Colortronic equipment was delivered in April. Detlev Schmidt, sales director at the auxiliary equipment company, said Motan-Colortronic had as many as 20 installation technicians on site during the year. It took more than 50 40-foot containers to ship equipment to the site, he said.
Lego also installed 24 large resin silos, mounted on load cells that are linked to 48 fully automatic Metrolink material selection and distribution units. Those units feed resin to the injection molding machines. Material drying is performed by 16 Luxor dryers.
Officials of Motan-Colortronic, based in Friedrichsdorf, Germany, said more than 60 miles of material-feed lines have been installed throughout the system.
Lego and Motan-Colortronic have worked together for the last decade. Schmidt led the initial discussions for the latest Monterrey project in 2009.
Schmidt said Motan-Colortronic had already finished a complete central raw material-handling system for more than 150 injection presses at Lego's Monterrey factory.
“Despite installation delays due to the swine flu in Mexico and volcanic eruptions in Iceland, we were able to complete the project on time,” Schmidt said in a news release.
But the new project is bigger and more complex, covering the major plant expansion, he said.
Material-handling equipment that is very flexible and trouble-free is critical to Lego's plastics operations, according to Jes Bladt, the senior director and production manager at Lego in Mexico.
“We have to be able to totally rely on timely delivery of all bulk raw materials to each one of the injection molding machines,” he said. “Here, straightforward and fast material and color changes are essential. All of the gravimetric mixing and dosing equipment is mounted on movable frames adjacent to the machines. This enables the highest degree of flexibility.”
Following a color or material change, individual units are moved to a separate area and cleaned, ready to be deployed again.
Each production line, comprising about 25 injection molding machines, is supplied with virgin and regrind material through two Velocis side-channel blowers from Elmo Rietschle.
Schmidt said the blowers are quiet and maintenance-free.