The Advantages to the OutRunner Spiral Conveyor System


Spiral conveyor machines are some of the best conveyor solutions in the industry. However, some feature drum drive systems which are prone to issues that can affect overall performance. The OutRunner Spiral conveyor system, on the other hand, is extremely efficient and utilizes innovative technology to optimize and streamline productions. In this article, we’ll dive into spiral conveyor machines and explore the advantages to the OutRunner Spiral conveyor equipment by Span Tech.


What Are Spiral Conveyors?

Spiral conveyors pack a long distance into a small footprint. These types of changing elevation conveyors have been used for many decades to cool bakery products as they exit the baking process, as well as other food production applications. The old way of driving these conveyors uses a large, powered drum in the center. The conveyor chain is wrapped around the drum and, through friction between the chain and the drum, the chain is pushed forward. While there is an end drive separate from the drum drive that provides pull tension to the chain, the chain can still slip as the drum rotates.

In a typical drum spiral design, the chain runs against vertical cage bars that are spaced evenly to form a cylindrical shape. These bars have a slip-on plastic cover that protects the system from wear. Unfortunately, the major weakness of all drum-driven spirals is sanitation. Since the conveyor runs on a support system that is fabricated around the drum, the chain must be removed to clean the drum’s cage bars. In fact, some spiral conveyors have thousands of feet of chain, which makes the cleaning process a very long and impractical process. That’s why sanitation engineers typically look in the spirals first during an outbreak of bacteria.

In the case of the technology present in the OutRunner Spiral conveyor, however, this new system changes how these spirals are driven. Let’s look further into this solution and break down the benefits of the OutRunner Spiral machinery.

About the OutRunner Spiral Conveyor System

The OutRunner Spiral conveyor system was developed to eliminate the drum drive system altogether. Instead of wrapping the chain around a moving cylinder, this design drives the chain along its outside edge by an external sprocket. OutRunner Spirals use a vertical drive shaft with a sprocket on each tier, and the drum is eliminated in this design. Depending on the diameter and width of the chain, there can be more than one drive shaft with sprockets. These shafts are all tied together on a common mechanical connection with no electronic synchronization used, making this one of the biggest advantages to the OutRunner Spiral.

The second weakness of classical drum drives is getting products off the conveyor chain itself. Drum drive systems use long pitch chains which are usually 2” (50mm). Any product that has an unused 4” in length can have difficulty transferring product off the end of the system. Additionally, transferring smaller items can become even more challenging. One of the benefits of the OutRunner Spiral, though, is that it combats this issue by using a “Pillow Top” chain. This chain has a rounded top which forms a perfect cylindrical shape at the end drive. A knife edge plate is fitted close to the chain, making product transfer successful, even for small items.

What Are Some Other Benefits of the OutRunner Spiral?

One of the biggest advantages to the OutRunner Spiral machine is the very low horsepower required to power the system. Because there are no frictional losses between the chain and a drum, the overall power required to drive the chain is much lower. Also, because there is no massive central drum to turn, the power required to get the system started and stopped is greatly reduced. Here is an example of just what this means:

  • The MOAS Spiral in Canada: This project has 1000 feet of 36” chain in 2 spirals, one going up and the other going down. These units use a single unbroken chain so there are no transfers between the units. This system is driven with a single ¼ horsepower drive. All the drive shafts are mechanically connected.

Add the OutRunner Spiral Conveyor System to Your Operations

When it comes to your daily business operations, you may be able to streamline your productivity with help from the OutRunner Spiral conveyor machine. However, Span Tech offers many options to optimize your workflow with dozens of specialty conveyor solutions. Whether you work in beverage production, e-commerce or packaging, our conveyors are highly efficient to handle your production demands for years to come. If you’re ready to reap the benefits of the OutRunner Spiral, or are interested in one of our other specialty conveyor systems, check out our equipment and contact us today with any questions you may have. We look forward to working with you!

Tips for Keeping Up with Warehouse Demand in 2021


Time is money, and there is nothing more important than maximizing your warehouse’s ability to get high demand products off the floor, out the door and right to your customers. The ideal warehouse demand and supply is a balance that every company strives to achieve, but no warehouse and industry are the same. Finding a tailored solution to your specific warehouse demand requires the assistance of a company with the ability to tailor its products and services to your needs. Whether you are in need of a new conveyor or conveyance component and design solutions for optimizing an existing system, Span Tech’s custom designs, patented technology and expert knowledge are exactly what you require for keeping up with demand. The beginning of each new year is a chance to reevaluate customer demand and search for innovative solutions that can impact your bottom line, and 2021 is no exception. Let’s go over some conveyance tips and tricks that will help you deal with the high demand and new challenges that this year presents.


Principles for Tackling Customer Demand with Conveyance

Your situation is unique, especially as it relates to your high demand products. Business models, warehouse facilities, industry demands, existing technology, and many other factors make your circumstances one of a kind. Before discussing specific solutions for optimizing standard and specialty conveyor systems, here are some basic principles that hopefully apply to your situation regardless of your individual circumstances:

Stick With What You Know

Since goods-to-person order fulfillment runs on automation, it allows your warehouse to run at a greater level of efficiency. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology, your staff will have the ability to meet peak demands and fulfill orders seamlessly.

Scalable Resources & Technology

Supply and demand will fluctuate for any given industry. When you experience rapid changes in customer demand, scalable resources and technology can be extremely helpful in keeping up with demand that is either increasing or decreasing. Whether it is working with temp agencies or third-party logistics, the ability to scale your resources and technology to your needs.

Prepare for High Demand When Business Slows Down

In addition to scalable resources and technology, which allows your warehouse to quickly respond to changes in demand and supply, it is important to prepare for times of increased demand. You never want to find yourself in a position where there are not enough goods to sell to your customers. If you are able to identify when your business commonly experiences times of high demand, such as seasons and holidays, you can anticipate the fluctuations of demand and supply to start preparing during slow periods.

Avoid Warehouse Overload

While a warehouse with not enough goods to sell is a bad position to be in during times of increased demand, you also do not want to overload your warehouse. You have a variety of options to avoid warehouse overload and balance changing supply and demand:

  • Reduce inventory or upgrade technology
  • Add warehouses or limit the territory you serve
  • Optimize storage methods for time and space
  • Increase operation hours or outsource

Look to Invest in Superior Conveyance Technology

Upgrading your existing standard conveyor system with the latest and greatest innovations can help you maximize your efficiency and uptime to compensate for high warehouse demand. Our experts are constantly working to improve even the current conveyor solutions in anticipation of the new and growing conveyance demands in a variety of industries. If you are looking for a superior conveyor system to overcome growing customer demand, Span Tech can help you find a custom convey solution for you and your industry.

Find a Custom Conveyance Solution for High Demand Products & Industries

Beyond adhering to the general principles for tackling warehouse demand above, optimizing or restructuring your current mode of operations will often demand a customized solution for your specific business, infrastructure and industry. Span Tech and our in-house team of experts can work with you to craft a unique conveyor system. We can help you:

Innovation for Keeping Up with Demand

If you have a material handling problem that no one has been able to solve, let us try our hand at it. We thrive on the opportunity for new innovations! Our engineers enjoy a challenge and constantly create conveyance inventions and component solutions that can help your specific situation and other businesses facing similar issues.

Conveyor Testing to Supply High Demand Products Long-Term

We design, invent, manufacture, install and maintain our conveyor systems. It only makes sense that we also thoroughly test our conveyor systems, especially when it comes to your specific high demand products. We can test all of our conveyor solutions, including:

Addressing Customer Demand in Your Industry

Our customizable technical solutions for processing applications can be adapted to your industry-specific needs in high demand markets. Span Tech has vast amounts of experience creating tailored conveyor systems for food production, packaging, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, cosmetics and much more. We will work with you to develop an industry-specific solution for warehouse demand.

Get Custom Conveyor Systems for High Demand Industries

Whatever your application or industry needs, the experts at Span Tech can develop a custom directional conveyor solution to address your unique customer and warehouse demands. Whether you’re interested in our standard conveyors or specialty conveyors, our team can help you find an optimal solution for your business among our premium conveyor products. Contact us to learn more about keeping up with demand using our conveyor solutions or speak to our troubleshooting experts for help with an existing system. See what Span Tech can do to help you keep up with industry and customer demand!


EZGuide Adjustable Guiderail at ProMatDX


ProMatDX, April 14 @ 10:30 am (CST):

Register For ProMatDX For Free
Join Us at ProMatDX Here

As with all things going on in the world today, adjustments have to be made to keep everyone moving forward. This year’s ProMat event has turned into ProMatDX, gone virtual and so have we.

Join our ProMatDX virtual showcase to see our newest Guiderail project “EZGuide” and see first-hand how this new product works.

EZGuide Demo:

Bud Layne, owner of Span Tech Conveyors will review and demonstrate the new EZ Guide adjustable conveyor guide rail system at ProMatDX. This guiderail system is a new design which has never been seen before in the marketplace and can solve many of the primary issues that many other guide rail systems have. Bud will show off these features as well as give a live demonstration of the prototype unit that has been built. You will not want to miss this as we revolutionize the complications of guiderail.