Span Tech Nominated for Coolest Thing Made In Kentucky

Conveyor Safety Standards


The “Coolest Thing Made in Kentucky” contest is an annual event that celebrates innovation, creativity, and manufacturing excellence within the state of Kentucky. Organized by The Kentucky Association of Manufacurers & Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance, this contest invites manufacturers across various industries to showcase their most innovative and exciting products, highlighting the diverse manufacturing sector’s contributions to Kentucky’s economy and identity.

Where it Started

In the heart of the Bluegrass State, innovation is not just a concept; it’s a way of life. And at Span Tech, we take pride in leading the charge of ingenuity in manufacturing. There were many unknowns during the pandemic, but Span Tech helped ensure that the supply chain remained priority and that operations for many industries continued.

Outrunner Spiral Conveyor

Baby Formula Shortage

The Outrunner Spiral was pivotal during the baby formula shortage of 2022-23, ultimately helping to save countless infants’ lives across the nation.

An emergency facility was granted and approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Our participation in this project required direct communication with White House officials.

This project was rapidly produced in a 6-week timeline with 4 Outrunner Spirals made for the facility and is now operating in the first infant formula plant built in the last 25 years in the United States.

“What we do allows us to give back to the community in many ways. Working on the baby formula line during the shortage provided a great sense of accomplishment for our team as we believed we made a direct impact,” said Aaron Woosley, Span Tech CFO. “Shortly thereafter we had a fundraiser with a local charity to purchase, what else, baby formula. Full circle!”



Now, Span Tech is calling on the support of its community, customers, and supporters to help secure victory in the “Coolest Thing Made in Kentucky” contest. By casting your votes for the Outrunner Spiral, you can show your appreciation for innovation that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

Outrunner Spiral Conveyor


“Span Tech is honored to be a part of the ‘Coolest Thing Made in Kentucky’ contest and to showcase the impact of our Outrunner Spiral,” said Thomas Bratcher, Regional Applications Manager.

“It was an honor to help in such an important project.”

How Beverage Industry Trends Are Changing Beverage Conveyor Systems



Forecasts indicate that the beverage industry will continue to expand through the foreseeable future. With that growth, new beverage industry trends are emerging that will significantly affect beverage production conveyors. Conveyor manufacturers will need to adapt to these trends to stay relevant in the evolving beverage industry. Read on to learn about these trends and what they mean for beverage conveyor systems.

Underlying the beverage industry changes are several overarching trends, including the growing influence of millennials, who are emerging as the largest generational segment of the population. Their values and behaviors directly impact the beverage market. Preferences for convenience, healthier beverages and sustainable packaging are just three key millennial issues that affect the entire industry.

The Effect of SKU Proliferation on Beverage Conveyor Systems

The trends toward greater convenience, smaller bottles and healthier beverages have contributed to an explosion of SKUs. Now, instead of a set number of standard-sized bottles in a standard-sized box, beverage manufacturers must deal with various bottle and package sizes to meet market demands.

The proliferation of SKUs requires changes in conveyor technologies to accommodate the multitude of container and open-tray sizes. For instance, conveyor system manufacturers need to develop belt conveyor systems that prevent big and small boxes from colliding on the same belt.

Conveyors also need to be able to transport products at lower speeds without affecting overall throughput. Belt conveyors and driven-roller conveyors with tighter centers are two solutions that provide more accurate control of their conveying systems to improve throughput without the danger of damaging cases.

One result of the proliferation of SKUs is shorter production runs, which increase the need for more flexibility, higher production speeds and faster change-overs. Beverage conveyor systems need to be able to accommodate all these demands.

Beverage Conveyor Systems and Packaging Lightweighting

The growing requirement for eco-friendly and sustainable packaging is another beverage industry trend that affects the conveyor market. The increasing emphasis on sustainable packaging led to the lightweighting of primary packaging, like cans, and secondary packaging, like boxes. The lighter containers and cases require conveyors that move at adjustable speeds and incorporate different belt systems.

Reducing the weight of packaging often entails the use of less sturdy material. To prevent damaging more fragile packaging, beverage conveyor systems need to use belt conveyors or closer centers on driven-roller conveyors, as well as processes that slow conveying speeds.

Brand Growth and Beverage Conveyor Systems

Evolving trends in the beverage industry include the growth of brands, varieties and flavors of beverages. This explosion of choices has led to a more diverse universe of packaging that must be conveyed, with taller and smaller packaging more likely to fall off conveyors. Manufacturers of beverage conveyor systems accommodate this trend by incorporating gentler inclines and declines.

Deteriorating Profit Margins in the Beverage Market

These trends in U.S. beverage manufacturing, along with ongoing supply chain issues, increasing material expenses and rising labor costs, have led to deteriorating profit margins across the beverage industry. This affects all market segments and is reflected in beer and soft drink industry trends.

In many cases, beverage manufacturers are reluctant to pass the cost increases to customers, further exacerbating the decline in profit margins. As the beverage industry looks to contain production costs, manufacturers of beverage conveyor systems can play an essential role in the process by increasing automation, improving throughput and providing conveyors that do more in less space.

In addition to beverage industry trends, manufacturers of beverage conveyor systems also must consider the larger trends affecting the overall conveyor industry. These overarching trends include the demand for quieter operation, the need for more simplicity and the use of advanced materials. Conveyor manufacturers who take these trends into account will be ahead of the game.

Trust Your Beverage Conveyor System Needs to Span Tech

Span Tech has years of experience developing and manufacturing beverage conveyor systems, and we understand the effects of emerging beverage industry trends. We can design and implement a system specific to your needs, helping you overcome your most difficult conveying challenges. Contact us today for the assistance you need.

Six Benefits of Using Food Conveyor Systems in the Food Industry


Food processing and packaging require a great deal of material handling. Raw materials and finished goods need to be transported over long distances under sanitary conditions. Food processing plants once relied solely on manual labor to perform these functions, using up large amounts of time and money. But increasing levels of automation, including the use of food handling conveyors, have revolutionized these operations. Read on to learn how food conveyor systems have made a difference in the food industry by improving quality, production efficiencies and worker safety.

History of Food Conveyor Systems

Conveyors were first used in the late 1700s to move freight onto ships at port. Originally operated with hand cranks, these early conveyors quickly morphed, and within a few years, they were powered by steam engines. Mechanically powered conveyors spread to other industries over the next 100 years and were eventually adopted by the food processing industry.

Regardless of the application, all conveyors share many of the same components:

  • A motor controller
  • A power mechanism that manages conveyor speed
  • The conveyor’s support structure
  • A belt, tray, screw or other means of conveying the material

As food production became more industrialized, manufacturers quickly realized the advantages of food conveyor systems. Operations no longer needed to wait on workers to move heavy loads to different factory locations, creating important production efficiencies. The introduction of the food conveyor belt also helped the food industry meet increasing state and federal regulations — conditions became more sanitary as food was handled less.

Manufacturers use food conveyor systems to move:

  • Raw materials from storage to the processing area
  • Finished products onto the packaging line
  • Packaged goods to the shipping area

Benefits of Food Handling Conveyors

Increased automation in the form of food conveyor systems brought benefits to the food industry that extend well beyond improved sanitation. Food manufacturers that installed conveyors realized a wide range of advantages. Some of the main benefits include:

1. Higher Production Rates

As in any industry, automation increases productivity. In the case of the food industry, food handling conveyors allowed bulk foodstuffs to be moved more quickly so the operations could process more food in less time.

2. Better Worker Safety

With the adoption of food conveyor systems, workers no longer need to move heavy loads over long distances. This removes one of the prime causes of worker injuries.

3. Lower Labor Costs

More food handling conveyors mean fewer workers needed to complete the tasks. This reduces labor costs, including not only wages and benefits but also expenditures for recruitment, training and retention.

4. Fewer Errors

Because they’re automated, food conveyor systems will always transport the right products to the right place, reducing the chance of human error.

5. Improved Compliance With Quality Standards

The use of food-grade conveyors reduces the likelihood of contamination and breakage, allowing manufacturers to more easily maintain quality standards.

6. Increased Versatility

Both the speed and direction of material flow can be changed on food conveyor systems, making conveyors a versatile addition to food processing operations. Conveyors’ modular design also means they can be reconfigured to meet changing production requirements.

Food Conveyor Systems for Every Need

Customizable food handling conveyors can meet any requirement of the food industry. They can merge, accumulate, incline, decline, divide, vertically convey, deposit, reject and reclaim foodstuffs as needed. Specialty systems like washdown conveyors help food manufacturers meet sanitary regulations. Wire mesh belt conveyors are ideal for use around freezers, and wedge conveyors can be used for transferring the boxes used in food packaging.

Food Handling Conveyors That Meet Your Requirements

As a leader among food conveyor manufacturers, Span Tech has the expertise, knowledge and experience to design the food and beverage conveyor systems that are right for your application, whether your operation involves fruit, meat, vegetables, convenience foods, dairy, frozen foods, baked goods or more.

As we engineer your custom food conveyors systems, we take into account a wide range of design considerations, including the available space, the kind of food being transported, the required speed of movement and the height and distance the food must cover. Specifications can include drive location, throughput, rated speed, load capacity and frame configuration.

Contact us today for an estimate on the food handling conveyors that will overcome your toughest challenges.

Conveyor Sortation Systems That Meet the Needs of E-Commerce Businesses


The e-commerce explosion has forever changed how business works. Brick-and-mortar stores no longer can rely on manual methods for picking and sorting their products. Material handling companies and distribution centers find they must operate more and more quickly. All of this has placed profound pressure on traditional conveyor sortation systems. Read on to learn about the challenges of e-commerce and the role of automatic conveyor sorter operations in leveling the playing field.


The Difference with E-Commerce Businesses

The nature of orders has profoundly changed with the amazing growth of e-commerce businesses. Where a typical retail-oriented warehouse once handled 300 orders, each containing thousands of items, today’s e-commerce-based system must process thousands of orders, each consisting of an average of 1.5 items.

The type of packaging has changed, as well. Warehouses equipped with traditional conveyor sortation systems were centered on handling full cardboard cartons, but e-commerce businesses, looking to save material and shipping costs, turned to poly bags as their packaging of choice.

The “Amazon Effect” is another consideration. Consumers began to expect sometimes unrealistic shipping times, thanks to Amazon’s one- and two-day delivery promises.

All of these changes stressed traditional conveyor sorter systems to the breaking point.

The Challenge for Material Handling Companies

The switch to handling single-item orders permanently altered the calculus for material handling companies. The increased volume of orders threatened to overwhelm many companies that were unprepared for the onslaught.

The developing reliance on poly bags brought additional challenges for those using traditional conveyor sortation systems. Roller conveyor belts, designed for transporting sturdy cartons, were no match for the new, lightweight packaging material. Poly bags frequently got snagged on different parts of the machinery and often got caught between the rollers.

The resulting slow-downs in productivity had the exact opposite effect that the increased volume of orders demanded, complicating logistics operations.

The switchover from cartons to poly bags also affected the selection process for the type of sorter used in conveyor sortation systems. Instead of just knowing the rigidity of the cartons and the range of carton sizes, poly bag users need to compute not only the size of the bag but also the rigidity and size of the bag’s contents. Other considerations include how well the contents’ size aligns with the bag’s size.

Increased order volumes, faster delivery times and the evolution of packaging combined to create serious challenges for brick-and-mortar stores and emerging e-commerce businesses.

The Promise of Flexible Conveyor Sortation Systems

A major stumbling block was the fixed nature of many traditional conveyor sortation systems. The difficulties in modifying existing conveyors to meet the new demands prevented many retailers and distribution centers from immediately capitalizing on the e-commerce boom.

Some tried to overcome the inherent drawbacks of roller conveyors by implementing a tray or tote system in which totes or trays containing the poly-bagged orders traveled along the conveyors. This often required manual sorting to send the individual orders to their next destinations.

Flexibility and adaptability were the keys to solving the puzzle. Modular belt conveyors that are adjustable allowed material handlers to quickly respond to the changing demands of e-commerce. Highly configurable conveyor sortation systems reduce the amount of downtime required to switch up operations.

For instance, say a distribution center wants to switch a conveyor sorter from an accumulation function to transportation. Modular components can be substituted to accomplish the change in a relatively short period.

As another part of the solution, many distribution centers looked to automation. Material handling companies found they could overcome challenges by implementing automated systems that allowed them to more easily accommodate their customers’ evolving needs.

The Promise of Flexible Conveyor Sortation Systems

Today’s conveyor sortation systems need to be nimble, ready to adapt to the realities of any situation. Automation and modular construction are the keys to brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce businesses making the transition.

The best conveyor sortation systems will offer crucial functionalities, like the ability to:

Custom-designed, automated e-commerce conveyors are leading the way with capabilities such as re-orienting and directional feeding.

Thanks to important conveyor sorter innovations, distribution centers can now easily move their material. E-commerce businesses have flourished in these new conveying environments. Forward-looking conveyor manufacturers have made all the difference in managing the ever-changing e-commerce landscape.

Conveyor Sortation Systems That Meet Your Needs

Span Tech understands the requirements of today’s e-commerce businesses. Plus, we have years of experience engineering conveyors for each customer’s specific operation. We can design automated conveyor sortation systems that accumulate, divert, discharge and sort your products in the exact fashion you require. Our wide range of equipment includes vertical conveyors and cross-belt systems for the easy transfer of bagged items.

Contact us today for the conveyor sortation system that keeps your business moving.

How to Choose the Best Food-Grade Conveyor System


As an individual who works in the food production industry, it’s likely that your facility’s manufacturing operations run off of an efficient, powerful food-grade conveyor system. This ensures that all food processing is done safely and quickly to reduce labor costs while increasing overall output. If you work with food-grade conveyor systems that lack speed or constantly require maintenance, your production will eventually slow down and this may cause costly issues which can hurt your profits.

The right conveyor for your warehouse will ultimately depend on your specific needs. However, there are many things to think about if you’re interested in choosing a conveyor system that is more optimized for your organization. Here are four factors to consider when choosing the best food-grade conveyor system.


1. Your Food-Grade Conveyor Must Be Sanitary

Although this should go without saying, any food-grade conveyor you use must be sanitized throughout the day for optimal food contamination prevention. That means the right conveyor for food processing should be easy to clean with parts that are easily accessible. We recommend food-grade conveyor systems such as wire mesh belt conveyors made from stainless steel or sanitary washdown conveyor systems.

2. Food-Grade Conveyor Systems Should Have Excellent Durability

No matter how small or large your food-grade conveyor is, it should be rugged enough to handle multiple types of food processing applications. This is especially important when production involves significant volumes of material handling. The last thing you want is for any conveyor equipment to suddenly malfunction after many years of reliable service. To avoid this, make sure you order your system from trusted food-grade conveyor belt manufacturers like Span Tech.

3. A Food-Grade Conveyor Must Meet Regulations

Not only should your food-grade conveyor belt material be sanitary to handle various types of products, it must also be compatible with regulations involving the FDA, USDA, BISSC and CE. Otherwise, you may face legal challenges which can put a halt to your production. Fortunately, Span Tech has you covered with microspan transfer conveyor systems and much more industrial equipment that satisfies the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

4. Food-Grade Conveyor Systems Should Minimize Costs

A great food-grade conveyor system is capable of moving large quantities of food products at all times. If any aspect of operations gets bogged down, this can lead to unwanted manufacturing or production downtime. Ultimately, this will cut into your profits as less volume of your products will leave the warehouse on time. This can also tarnish your reputation with vendors which can be even more catastrophic. Be sure to only use an automated conveyor system that is fully operational and optimized to your specific food processing needs.

Find Excellent Food-Grade Conveyor Systems at Span Tech

Now that you know what to look for when purchasing a food-grade conveyor upgrade, check out some of the systems that Span Tech offers. From wedge conveyor systems to spiral elevator food-grade conveyor systems, our equipment will fit various space requirements without compromising performance. Browse our selection or start your estimate today. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Conveyor Belt Cleaning & Disinfecting Methods for Food-Grade Conveyor Systems


Conveyor belt cleaning is a vital part of maintaining and operating a food manufacturing, processing or packaging machine or conveyor system. Food safety and hygiene are crucial concepts in the food industry. While food safety is more encompassing, food hygiene is one of the practices that ensures overall food safety. Poor food handling during food processing can pose a health risk to many people.

Food processing plants, small or large, ensure food safety and hygiene by utilizing quality raw materials and high-grade machines, as well as maintaining a hygienic process. A conveyor belt is standard equipment found in many food processing plants and thus has the potential to collect disease-causing germs.

Since the food is usually in direct contact with the conveyor belt, the belt must be kept clean at all times. It is a major part of regular conveyor belt maintenance. Keep reading to learn some of the various methods for conveyor belt cleaning and how to disinfect food-grade conveyor systems.


Food-Grade Conveyors & Food Processing

Food processing conveyor belts are helpful for various functions in the food and beverage industries. They ensure the swift and accurate delivery of items for further processing or packaging. For most industries, every food item must pass through the conveyor belt. This means it is easy to contaminate an entire production batch if the conveyor is not adequately clean.

The big concern then is, how do you effectively clean this equipment? Unfortunately, it is not so easy to clean conveyor belts. For most companies, their cleaning techniques do not produce optimal results every time.

Things To Consider Regarding Conveyor Belt Cleaning & Disinfection

There are various regulations concerning food processing conveyor belts. And the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) has guidelines for food conveyor belts as well. These regulations aim to ensure total food safety and hygiene. Your conveyor belt maintenance manual should also have some helpful information.

However, there are various things to keep in mind before opting for a standard cleaning method. The following can also help determine how frequently you should clean your conveyor belt.

  • Belt Soiling. Soiling contributes to microbe growth. If the belt soil builds up fast, you will need to clean more often. Also, the longer the soil remains on the belt, the more difficult it is to clean. The contaminant will also spread to other conveyed items if left uncleaned.
  • Material Volume. The material volume of the conveyor belt also determines how much cleaning it is going to need. Of course, there is higher contamination when the food-grade conveyor belt has a large material volume. If the belt is used heavily, then the cleaning should come more frequently.
  • Processed Food. The type of food that goes on the belt is also essential. Note that sticky foods are more prone to carrybacks.
  • Company Size. While small companies can use manual cleaning methods, it might be more difficult for bigger processing plants.

Cleaning and disinfecting food-grade conveyor systems is not only about hygiene. There are other mechanical advantages as well. Some early signs or markers that will indicate the extent of your conveyor cleaning needs include the following:

  • Mistracking. One reason conveyor belts are effective is their alignment. But debris buildup on the track could cause misalignment. This can lead to the belt wearing out faster and might also affect the processing of some items as the alignment is disrupted.
  • Material Spillage. Spills are common on inclined and horizontal troughed belts. But spills have the potential to pose a safety hazard if not cleaned up as soon as possible. Excess buildup can ruin the belt and increase food spills.
  • Carrybacks. This is one of the most typical faults on conveyor belts. It happens when some materials remain stuck to the conveyor belt.
  • Slippage. Buildup on the pulley of your conveyor could also reduce its efficiency. It can make the belt slip around the drive or pulley head.

Conveyor Belt Cleaning & Disinfecting Methods for Food-Grade Conveyor Systems

Conveyor systems, like easy clean food-grade conveyors, are designed and adapted for heavy washdowns. They make it possible to achieve optimal sanitation efficiently and safely. A new technology involves the use of an autonomous tensioner and provides more efficient and cleaner tensioning.

There are various conveyor belt cleaning methods. The level of contamination and type of food conveyor often determine the method used.

Manual Cleaning Methods

You can clean your food-grade conveyor belt using some manual methods. These include:

  • Sweeping and brushing out the debris and carrybacks
  • Scrapping sticky foods and food fragments
  • Scrubbing stains along the belt
  • Rinsing
  • Wiping and vacuuming to dry and remove residue

Manual cleaning is labor-intensive and consumes a lot of time. Thus, it could delay production and reduce the company’s productivity. For these reasons, it might not be the best cleaning method. It is an affordable method, though. So, it could be effective for small food processing companies.

There is another limitation to manual cleaning, however. It might be impossible to reach some parts of the conveyor belt. In order to reach these inaccessible parts, you may need to fully dismantle the equipment, which is certainly not ideal.

Some of the tools you might require for manual cleaning include a water brush, brush cleaner, a roller and a wash box.

Semi-Automatic Cleaning Methods

Cleaning can be semi-automated. More extensive processing plants commonly undertake it. With this method, some parts of the cleaning process are automated while other operations are done manually. The automated aspects include dry vacuuming, spraying and rinsing. Brushing and scraping are manual operations in semi-automated cleaning.

Semi-automated cleaning is considerably faster than pure manual cleaning. It is, however, still laborious and time-consuming for larger processing plants. You could also need some of the materials mentioned in manual cleaning. This includes the cleaning brushes and wash box.

Fully Automatic Cleaning Methods

As you can see, there was a definite need to find a cleaning method for food processing conveyor belts — this ideal technique needed to reduce equipment downtime and be cost-effective. Automatic conveyor belt cleaning uses a mechanism called a clean-in-place (CIP) system. It is less laborious, ensures safety and reduces downtime.

Some belts use compressed air. This installation permits sustained airflow through the belt. It is an expensive method but quite effective. The return on investment (ROI) is quite reasonable as it drastically reduces spillage and ensures optimized production.

How To Clean A Belt with Dry Steam and CIP

For better results, you can combine dry steam with CIP to clean a food-grade conveyor. Dry steam has just 5% moisture content in superheated steam. This has a remarkable sanitizing effect that will rid your belt of oil, soil and other contaminants.

Using a CIP dry steam cleaner technique conserves a lot of water. Unlike the usually wet steam, dry steam saves you up to 98% water with a steam temperature of 290 °F. Therefore, there is no hiding place for microbes to go. The belt also dries almost immediately.

Upgrade Your Food-Grade Conveyor System Today with the Help of Span Tech

Food processing is a crucial subject in food safety and hygiene. Conveyor belts are central to this. It is imperative that you have the right cleaning equipment to prevent contamination of food items. Use Span Tech’s easy conveyor belt cleaning systems to keep your production line healthy and safe. Contact us today to learn more about implementing food-grade conveyor systems into your business today!


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.

What is Material Staging at Span Tech?


It’s no secret that Span Tech’s assembly team is full of amazing people. When left to focus on what they do best — building conveyors — our employees can get a tremendous amount of work done. However, every second away from the actual assembly process is valuable time lost. Luckily, our material staging process flow is the perfect solution for this. What is material staging in manufacturing and how does it help Span Tech continuously deliver premium products for the market? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and what makes our team the very best in the industry.


Defining the Material Staging Process Flow

Before we explain how Span Tech incorporates a material staging process flow, it’s important to understand what the concept is and how it works. What is staging in manufacturing? Simply put, material staging is transferring the items needed from different work centers to the assembly location. Materials are staged for production at a certain time, in a particular quantity, and at a designated staging area.

In warehouse manufacturing (WM), the flow of this process must be strategically planned and assessed for the best possible business structure. This form of production planning (PP) is a crucial part of your brand’s success and, when executed correctly, the process can help employees work more efficiently in the long run.

How Do You Do Material Staging in SAP?

Systems, applications and products (SAP) create a centralized system for manufacturers that enables the team to access and share data to create a better work environment for each employee on staff. Material staging in SAP requires gathering production items to be ready at a certain time and in a particular quantity. Using an SAP PP WM material staging system helps ensure all the required materials are in the designated production spot.

Once a production order is created, the SAP determines the necessary actions for material staging. In doing this, it examines the control cycle and determines the production storage bins in which the materials should be staged. Once this is complete, automatic material staging is activated in the SAP, and goods are transported to the correct production locations.

Integrating material staging in SAP WM helps production plants operate in an organized, effective manner that keeps business right on track.

Adopting a Material Staging Process Flow at Span Tech

Now that we’ve gone over all the essentials, we can get back to Span Tech’s experience with material staging in SAP. Before implementing this process, we realized our team often spent a great deal of time away from production to do the following:

  • Searching for parts
  • Gathering parts
  • Visiting and revisiting work centers to see if needed subassemblies are ready.

The solution was to come up with a way that allowed production to continue without losing valuable time looking for parts. As Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage.” Span Tech has taken that and put it into action with our material staging in SAP WM.

How Span Tech’s Material Staging Process Flow Works

Our material staging process flow is carried out with attention to detail and the utmost organization. It takes place in the following steps:

  • 1. When an order is released for final assembly, a Bill of Material (BOM) is created. This list contains all parts needed for that order.
  • 2. Purchased parts on the BOM are placed in a blue tote, and the tote is placed on a cart.
  • 3. The cart is then used to gather manufactured parts from Span Tech’s work centers.
  • 4. The cart is used to transport the purchased and manufactured parts to the designated area of assembly.
  • 5. Assembly takes the cart and begins work.

This process is proving to be quite successful and extremely beneficial. Our awesome assembly team has been able to complete many jobs ahead of schedule and keep overtime to a minimum. Our goal is to eventually move this staging process to all of Span Tech’s work centers.

Get Custom Conveyor Solutions From the Experts at Span Tech

At Span Tech, we make it our mission to provide our customers with the utmost professionalism and highest quality they deserve during their experience with us. Our material staging process flow is just one of the countless ways we’re committed to delivering premium products and exceeding our clients’ expectations. Whether you’re interested in our standard conveyors, need troubleshooting assistance or are curious about our case studies, we’re here to go above and beyond. Contact us today to learn more about our services and what Span Tech can do for your manufacturing business!

A Closer Look at Goods-to-Person Order Fulfillment


In our fast-paced, high-tech world, consumers expect products to arrive quicker than ever before. As a result, fulfillment centers face a great deal of pressure to deliver goods at what feels like lightning speed. Many manufacturers and fulfillment operators are adopting goods-to-person (GTP) systems as effective solutions. What is a goods-to-person system, and how can it benefit your manufacturing process? Continue reading to discover what you need to know about goods-to-person order fulfillment and how Span Tech can help your warehouse operate more efficiently than ever.


What is Goods-to-Person Order Fulfillment?

Goods-to-person order fulfillment in a warehouse involves the automatic transportation of products directly to operators as needed. This method combines computerized storage with strategic, ergonomic item picking processes. When a new order must be fulfilled, automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) and mobile robots collect goods from their places of storage and deliver them to the appropriate workstation. Depending on the item’s size, that workstation can be a pallet or tote-based system and include horizontal or vertical carousels.

The goods-to-person system is fairly new in the manufacturing and distribution industry compared to the person-to-goods system. As a more traditional approach, person-to-goods order fulfillment consists of employees taking the most efficient paths to manually retrieve necessary items.

Before the days of eCommerce, it was more acceptable for pickers to utilize the goods-to-person system. They would spend a majority of their time traveling throughout a warehouse to locate products and the rest of their time selecting them. In modern times, however, warehouses are storing much more inventory and must meet rising demands for fast deliveries. Goods-to-person systems are proving effective in helping distribution centers address their needs.

Benefits of Goods-to-Person Systems

The goods-to-person process offers a great deal of perks to warehouses and helps give companies a competitive advantage in their industry. Adopting automated picking systems like this can provide the following advantages:

Greater Levels of Productivity

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.

Improved Accuracy

Automated picking systems help eliminate the risk of errors like selecting the wrong item or sending a product to the wrong location. You’ll avoid spending extra time and money that are required when errors are made, like having to resend products or search for inventory a second time. The fewer mistakes your distribution center makes, the more satisfied your customers will be.

Reduced Labor Needs

In the traditional person-to-goods system, warehouse workers must undergo a great deal of physical labor. From pushing heavy carts to running back and forth with retrieved items, these actions can lead to injuries and worker’s compensation claims. Automated picking systems like goods-to-person help alleviate these demands and can reduce the risk of work injuries as a result.

Increased Sanitation

In the age of social distancing and contactless delivery, a sanitized item picking process is more important than ever. Since the goods-to-person method involves minimal human contact with products, order fulfillment is as germ-free as possible.

Utilize a Goods-to-Person System with Premium Equipment from Span Tech

If you’re considering goods-to-person order fulfillment for your distribution center, Span Tech is here to assist. Since our founding in 1988, we’ve made it our mission to help your warehouse run as smoothly as possible. Through extensive innovation and testing, our team is committed to providing the best equipment on the market to help your plant run more efficiently than ever before. For top-quality conveyor solutions you can count on, start your estimate today!

A Closer Look at the Impact of COVID-19 on Manufacturing Industries


COVID-19 caused many industries to change the way they operate, and the world of manufacturing is no exception. In spite of the problems in the manufacturing industry due to COVID-19, warehouses rallied to adapt and persevere. What was the pandemic’s impact on manufacturing industry processes? To answer this, we’re examining the effect of COVID-19 on production to see how businesses can respond. Continue reading to learn more about the pandemic’s impact on the manufacturing industry.


Effect of COVID-19 on Production & Consumer Behavior

COVID-19 introduced a great deal of change to the economy and affected businesses throughout the world. Along with this, consumer behavior has been influenced in the following ways:

  • Spike in online shopping. With the general public social distancing and many stores closing during lockdown, consumers have flocked to online storefronts.
  • Increased demand for essential goods. From toilet paper to personal protective equipment (PPE), consumers sheltering in place have stocked up on a variety of necessary items to have on hand.
  • Desire for new products and services. With many people experiencing more free time on their hands, consumers are trying new products and subscriptions.
  • Seeking out large brands. During uncertain times like a pandemic, consumers are finding comfort in brands they know and trust.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Manufacturing Sectors

Among every industry affected by COVID-19, the manufacturing world was among those hit the hardest. The virus originated in China, which is also the location of many factories that supply important materials to manufacturing units worldwide. When lockdown ensued, the pandemic’s impact on the manufacturing industry took a great toll. The following global manufacturing sectors have been most affected:


Typically, the USA and many other nations source materials for pharmaceuticals directly and indirectly from China. When the virus began to spread, however, it limited operational capacity in China and caused supply shortages.

Additionally, the pandemic outbreak made the need for items like sanitizer and PPE more important than ever. As a result, pharma manufacturers have had to invest a great deal of time and resources into increasing production levels of these products.

Food & Beverage

When COVID-19 first began to spread, so did the general public’s panic. As consumers went to grocery stores to stock up on food, it caused various supply chain issues. With scarce shelves, stores have experienced significantly increased consumption, and companies have needed to boost production to keep up with demand.


As a result of offline stores closing worldwide, the cosmetics industry has experienced a decrease in sales. Additionally, when many countries were under complete lockdown, it was challenging to find markets where these goods could be exported. Labor shortage and reduced demand have caused manufacturers to shut down their production units.

Responding to the Pandemic’s Impact on the Manufacturing Industry

Problems in the manufacturing industry due to COVID-19 have led to reduced demand and disrupted supply chains. But they’ve also presented opportunities for growth, innovation and competitive advantage in the industry. To bounce back from the impact of COVID-19 on manufacturing industries, we recommend your facility does the following:

Implement Increased Sanitation & Safety Procedures

Taking proactive measures can help keep your team safe and prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria. From banning visitors on factory floors to increasing the amount of distance between your staff, there are numerous procedures you can implement. Doing this will give your team peace of mind and help create a more hygienic workplace.

Find Back-Up Suppliers

When countries went into lockdown, many manufacturers experienced a lack of access to suppliers. This pandemic impact on the manufacturing industry caused many production processes to cease. To avoid this happening in the future, revisit your factory’s sourcing strategies. Consider where you get the supplies to create your company’s products. If another disaster were to strike, would you still have access to them? Even if the answer is “yes,” it’s a good idea to seek alternative suppliers and have back-up options, just in case. This could ultimately help you avoid having to pause production and/or shut down in the future.

Examine Your Supply Chain for Areas of Improvement

With or without problems in the manufacturing industry due to COVID-19, it’s always smart to look for ways to improve your production process. Spend some time evaluating your supply chain’s agility and determine opportunities to make it more resilient. Focus on the automation of repetitive tasks and predictive maintenance to help your production process run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Adapt to the Impact of COVID-19 on Manufacturing Industries with Span Tech

At Span Tech, we’ve got high hopes for the future and a successful manufacturing outlook. COVID-19 may have introduced some unforeseen challenges to the industry, but we’re here to help your business bounce back and be stronger than ever before. Manufacturing industries haven’t taken the effects of COVID-19 on production lightly, and neither have we. Since our founding in 1988, Span Tech has been committed to extensive innovation and testing to help facilities like yours work as efficiently as possible. For premium conveyor solutions you can count on, start your estimate today!