El Surco, founded in 1986 and headquartered in Tampico, Mexico, needed a soluble blending facility in González, Mexico that would be flexible enough to produce over 100 formulations, while maintaining high speed, precision, and quality.
The company’s goal was to: “…develop a water-soluble fertilizers market in México, Latin America and USA with our own specialty products and trademarks supported by state-of-the-art software and user-friendly apps created specifically for these products in order to apply them with high precision.”
The result was:
- A 6 bin dosing system, with 8 removable bins that can be filled at a separate station and placed as needed.
- A live-bottom weigh weighing system
- A 1/2-ton High Intensity Mixer (HIM)
- Capacity to blend and bag 6+ metric tons per hour (MTPH)
- A separate tote bin loading station where material can be conditioned and pre-loaded to ensure the soluble system is not slowed by ingredient replenishment
El Surco now has a highly accurate system that incorporates the most efficient mixer in the industry with a dosing system that provides the speed and accuracy to meet their production schedule and stringent quality controls.
Challenge: Complexity and Efficiency
Sackett-Waconia was approached with the problem of constructing a blending and bagging system that could handle over 100 product formulations, required for their areas variety of crops and phenological stages.
Sr. Gerardo Gutierrez Garcia, of El Surco, said “We didn’t explore any other solution because we were quite sure that traditional dry fertilizer equipment and blenders will not fit into this project, due to the precision required to handle this type of raw materials which are mainly crystals or fine powders. We searched in different fertilizer equipment companies, and after a long search, we found that [Sackett-Waconia] had the right equipment we were looking for. [Sackett-Waconia] is a well-known company in the fertilizer equipment sector. We met Larry and Charles in one of the fertilizer conferences held in the USA. We talked about our requirements and our project and they listened carefully and paid attention to every detail in order to propose the best solution.”
He also stated that the most important factors in evaluating the options available to them were: Precision, Reliability, Support, and Quality. He states that they rely most on Sackett-Waconia's “…Technical support and open communication with each member of [Sackett-Waconia] team.”
With that information, Sackett-Waconia designed a complete system for a green-field site, which included a separate bin charging station with conditioning, a highly accurate live-bottom scale system, a bulk-toter transfer system, the HIM 500 mixer, and bagging system.
“From marketing standpoint, you are focused in specialty products, which normally gives you more profit. Time and increased productivity is for our customers benefit because based on our nutrition programs, they can reach up to: better produce quality and less waste, or more yield per acre, or less fertilizer investment per acre. The key fact is that the farmer only use the exact amount of nutrients they need for a specific crop and stage.” Garcia said. This fits in very well with Sackett’s dedication to the 4R’s of nutrient stewardship of applying the Right fertilizer source, at the Right rate, at the Right time, and in the Right place.
A warehouse was designed and built in González, Mexico, to house the new system. In about 6 months from making the decision, the company was producing their line of unique products.
Garcia said that the advantage of having their own blending facility is to produce exactly what they require per day; having all raw materials available on site, close to the blending and bagging equipment. This gives them the opportunity to manufacture any formulation in an “on demand” fashion. "We have capacity to produce 50 metric tons per day” which can “…be increased on demand to 100 metric tons per day with two shifts. The benefit to produce and offer a total capacity of 12k to 20k metric tons per year to our customers.” Garcia said.
El Surco has increased to an average of 30 Metric Tons per day per shift, compared to their previous average of 20 Metric Tons per day per shift at the old plant. They have also seen labor costs decrease an average of 20% due to the new facility being able to operate more efficiently. In addition, they also now service farmers from the main horticultural areas of México, to Texas and New Mexico.