What Is a Cleated Conveyor? The Benefits and Applications of Cleated Conveyor Belts

Cleated Conveyor


Conveyor belts are an essential component of many manufacturing processes, and they come in various shapes and sizes to meet different needs. One type of conveyor that has gained popularity in recent years is the cleated conveyor. In this article, we will discuss what a cleated conveyor belt is, including its advantages and its applications.

What Is a Cleated Conveyor Belt?

A cleated conveyor belt is a type of conveyor that has raised sections, called cleats, along the length of the belt. These conveyor cleats help to keep materials in place as they are transported up an incline or through a curve. Conveyor belts with cleats are typically made of PVC or rubber and come in various sizes, depending on the application. A cleated conveyor can be used to transport materials across horizontal planes, inclines or declines. Mini cleats provide traction to large objects, while taller cleats are often used to facilitate the transport of loose substances.

What Are the Advantages of Cleated Belt Conveyors?

Cleated belt conveyors offer several advantages over traditional flat belt conveyors. The following are some of the key benefits of using a cleated conveyor:

1. Ability to Transport Materials on Inclines or Through Curves

One of the primary advantages of cleated belt conveyors is their ability to transport materials up an incline or through a curve. The cleats allow for movement that is not possible with traditional flat belt conveyors, which can only be used to transport materials on a horizontal plane.

2. Increased Safety

Cleated belt conveyors are safer to use than traditional flat belt conveyors because the cleats prevent materials from slipping or falling off the belt. This reduces the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace, making cleated conveyors a safer option for transporting materials in manufacturing processes.

3. Customizable Design

When designing cleated conveyors, factors such as the spacing and height of the cleats, belt width and material can all be customized to meet your needs. This allows for greater flexibility and adaptability in manufacturing processes.

4. Improved Efficiency

Cleated belt conveyors can improve efficiency in manufacturing processes by reducing the amount of manual labor required to transport materials. This can save time and labor costs, leading to improved overall efficiency in the manufacturing process.

5. Durability

Durable materials, such as PVC or rubber, are used to create cleated conveyor belts. These materials can withstand the rigors of industrial use, making them a reliable option for transporting materials in manufacturing processes while reducing the risk of downtime and maintenance costs.

Cleated Conveyor

What Are the Applications of a Cleated Conveyor?

Cleated conveyors are used in a wide range of industries because of all the benefits they offer. The following are some of the common applications of cleated belt conveyors:

Food Processing

Cleated belt conveyors are commonly used in the food processing industry to transport raw materials, ingredients and finished products. The conveyor cleats help to keep the materials in place as they are transported, preventing spills and ensuring the integrity of the food products.


The ability to transport materials up an incline or through a curve makes cleated belt conveyors ideal for use in agricultural applications, where materials such as crops or seeds often need to be transported over uneven terrain.


Packaging applications often require materials to be transported to different levels or around corners, making cleated belt conveyors ideal.


Cleated belt conveyors are used in recycling applications to transport materials such as glass, paper and plastic. The cleats on the conveyor ensure that the materials are properly sorted and recycled.


Another industry that can benefit from cleated belt conveyors is the mining industry. Materials such as coal, ore and minerals need to be transported through narrow spaces and up inclines, requiring the use of conveyor belts with cleats.


The automotive industry uses cleated belt conveyors to transport parts and components between manufacturing processes. The customizable design of cleated belt conveyors allows them to be tailored to specific automotive applications.

Let Span Tech Show You How Cleated Conveyors Can Help

Span Tech understands the benefits and applications of cleated conveyors. Whether you choose our MultiSpan chain conveyor or our Closed Top chain conveyor, you can count on our cleated conveyors. If you are interested in incorporating cleated conveyor belts into your manufacturing process, contact us today to discuss your specific needs and requirements.

Guide to E-Commerce Warehouse and Distribution Center Automation and Conveyor Solutions

E-Commerce Warehouse and Distribution Center Automation and Conveyors


With the continued growth of online shopping, spurred in part by the pandemic, e-commerce automation solutions are more important than ever. In 2022, e-commerce sales in the US topped $1 trillion for the first time, a 7.7% increase from the previous year. An e-commerce conveyor is critical to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of an e-commerce warehouse.

Conveyor systems are already used widely throughout e-commerce operations, optimizing processes in order to achieve a wide range of benefits for your business as a whole, as well as the consumers you serve.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of e-commerce conveyors and other e-commerce automation solutions.

What Is an E-Commerce Conveyor?

An e-commerce conveyor is a type of conveyor system specifically designed for use in e-commerce distribution centers, warehouses, fulfillment centers and other facilities.

E-commerce conveyors are designed to handle a wide variety of products, including small packages, large boxes and irregularly shaped items. They can be used for a range of tasks, including order picking, sorting, packing and shipping.

Some of the key features of e-commerce conveyors include:

  • High-speed operation
  • Modularity
  • Scalability
  • Flexibility

They can be configured to fit the specific needs of the facility, and they can be easily modified or expanded as the business grows or changes.

E-commerce conveyors play a critical role in the efficient and effective operation of e-commerce facilities, helping businesses meet the demands of their customers and stay competitive in the market.

Why Is a Conveyor System Necessary for E-Commerce?

In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, order fulfillment and delivery speed are critical factors in customer satisfaction. To keep up with the demand for faster and more efficient order processing, companies must optimize their e-commerce warehouse and distribution center operations. One essential element in achieving this goal is the use of conveyor systems.

Conveyor systems offer a highly automated and efficient means of transporting products throughout an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse. They can handle a wide range of products, from small items to large and bulky items, and can transport them quickly and safely from one area to another. With the use of conveyor systems, e-commerce companies can significantly reduce the time and labor required to move products from one location to another.

In addition, conveyor systems allow for greater control and visibility over product flow, enabling companies to track inventory and order status more accurately. This can help to reduce errors, minimize order fulfillment times and improve customer satisfaction.

What Are the Benefits of an E-Commerce Conveyor System?

A conveyor system is essential for e-commerce facilities for several reasons:

  • Improved Efficiency: An e-commerce conveyor system can significantly increase the speed and efficiency of order fulfillment processes. With a conveyor system, items can be transported quickly and accurately from one location to another, reducing the time required for order processing and shipment.
  • Increased Productivity: Automated conveyor systems can handle large volumes of products, which helps to increase productivity and throughput. E-commerce automation workers can focus on tasks such as picking and packing rather than moving products from one location to another.
  • Better Accuracy: A conveyor system can help improve order accuracy by reducing the likelihood of errors that can occur when products are manually transported. With an automated conveyor system, products are transported with precision, reducing the chances of misplaced or damaged items.
  • Flexibility: E-commerce conveyor systems can be customized to fit the specific needs of the facility. This means that the system can be adapted to handle different types of products and accommodate changes in the business’s needs.
  • Reduced Costs: By reducing the amount of manual labor required for order fulfillment, a conveyor system can help businesses save on labor costs. Additionally, by improving efficiency and throughput, businesses can fulfill more orders and generate more revenue.

eCommerce Warehouse Conveyor

What Types of Conveyors Are Most Suitable for E-Commerce?

E-commerce involves handling many different types of products. Therefore, choosing the right type of conveyor for e-commerce can be a challenging task. Here are some types of conveyors that are most suitable for an e-commerce warehouse or distribution center:

  • Belt Conveyors: Belt conveyors are commonly used in e-commerce because they are versatile and can handle a wide range of products. They are ideal for transporting packages, boxes and other items.
  • High Speed Switch Conveyors: High speed switch conveyors are essential for e-commerce facilities that demand rapid and accurate diversion of products between conveyor lines. These conveyors excel in optimizing material handling operations, facilitating seamless sorting and distribution of items.
  • Sortation Conveyors: Sortation conveyors are designed to sort products based on their size, shape and weight. They are the perfect solution for e-commerce distribution centers or warehouse that require high-speed sorting and distribution of products.
  • Vertical Conveyors: Vertical conveyors are suitable for transporting products vertically between different levels of an e-commerce distribution center or warehouse. They are the perfect conveyor for multi-level order picking and storage.
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs): AGVs are ideal for e-commerce applications that require flexible and autonomous material handling. They can transport a wide range of products, including small and large items, within an e-commerce warehouse or distribution center.

What Types of Sortation Equipment Are Best for E-Commerce Conveyors?

Sortation equipment is an essential component of conveyor systems in an e-commerce operation. Conveyor sorter systems allow for the rapid and accurate sorting of products, ensuring that orders are fulfilled quickly and efficiently.

Here are some types of sortation equipment that are best suited for e-commerce conveyors:

  • Shoe Sorters: Shoe sorters are ideal for e-commerce operations that handle a high volume of small to medium-sized products. Using a series of shoes or diverters, they sort products into different chutes or bins based on predetermined criteria such as size, shape and weight.
  • Cross Belt Sorters: Cross belt sorters work best for e-commerce operations that handle larger and heavier products. They use a series of cross belts to transport products to the appropriate destination chute or bin based on barcode scanning or other criteria.
  • Tilt Tray Sorters: Tilt tray sorters are versatile and can handle a wide range of products in various sizes. Trays tilt to direct products to the appropriate chute or bin based on predetermined criteria.
  • Pusher Sorters: Pusher sorters are suitable for e-commerce operations that handle a high volume of lightweight products. They use a series of pushers to direct products to the appropriate chute or bin based on predetermined criteria.
  • Spiral Sorters: Spiral sorters are ideal for e-commerce operations that require a compact sorting solution. Spiral conveyors transport products to different levels and chutes based on the criteria you set.

Trust Span Tech for Your E-Commerce Automation Solutions

For e-commerce systems and conveyors that will boost your e-commerce warehouse operations, look no further than Span Tech. We have experienced teams that understand the fast-paced e-commerce market better than any other conveyor manufacturer and supplier. Our experience allows us to provide the equipment you need to ensure safe, accurate and timely e-commerce fulfillment.

Contact us to discuss your e-commerce automation needs and discover how we can help your business grow.

Wedge Conveyors 101

Wedge Conveyors 101


In any warehouse or production facility, finding enough space for your conveyor systems can be a challenge. Wedge conveyors are flexible options that elevate your production flow, allowing you to reclaim valuable floor space in your facility.

In this article, we will explore wedge conveyor systems, including their benefits and possible applications.

What Is a Wedge Conveyor?

A wedge conveyor, also known as an elevator conveyor, is a specialized material handling system designed to move products between the production floor and other levels of your facility. They are most often found in distribution centers and warehouses and can be easily integrated with existing material handling systems because of their flexibility and ability to handle high-capacity projects. Wedge conveyors provide smooth, continuous transport of packages and products throughout your facility, making them an essential component in many material handling operations.

Benefits of Wedge Conveyors

Manufacturers can face many challenges, including the logistics of moving products around their facility. Vertical conveyors, including wedge conveyors, are a valuable tool in facilities where multiple elevations are used in production processes.

Wedge conveyors offer many benefits, including:

  • Easy to construct
  • Lightweight
  • Rapid transfer rate
  • Made from durable stainless steel or aluminum
  • Multiple configuration options
  • Meet strict hygiene standards for packaging lines

Wedge Conveyors

How Does a Wedge Conveyor Work?

Span Tech’s Wedge Conveyors are designed to provide vertical movement in a durable, compact and all-mechanical design. Products are fed from a horizontal conveyor belt onto the wedge conveyor with about one product length between them, allowing enough space for products to negotiate the curves. As an item reaches the wedge conveyor, two parallel conveyors use urethane gripper chains to wedge the sides of the product from either side. This action lifts or lowers it from the horizontal conveyor onto a receiving conveyor.

Our wedge conveyors with pressure relief can be operated at variable speed ranges and are available in a variety of chain types and widths to accommodate different sizes and shapes of products. There are no computers or logic/software components needed because the almost-silent vertical conveyor system is designed with all-mechanical movement, gripping products on their sides and sending them on their way. Depending on your facility’s needs, you can choose from the standard “positionable” or fully-adjustable wedge conveyor.

Applications for Wedge Conveyors

Because of their flexibility, wedge conveyors are perfect for use in a variety of applications including:

  1. Packaging
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Food & Beverage

Wedge conveyor systems are frequently used over walkways, under other conveyor lines, or to quickly change the orientation of a product or container (flip it over or face the opposing direction).

Trust Span Tech for All Your Wedge Conveyor Solutions

If you’re looking for a reliable solution to your warehouse space issues, count on Span Tech’s wedge conveyors. We have 45 years of experience helping businesses like yours find solutions to their conveyor belt problems. Our experienced team is available to help answer any questions you have and direct you toward the right solutions. Contact us today to find out more.

Guide to Metal Detection and How to Create a Metal-Free Zone

Conveyor Safety Standards


Product safety is a top priority in manufacturing, especially when it comes to food and pharmaceutical products. The right conveyor belt metal detector can give you the peace of mind that your line is safe and free from metal contamination.

In this article, we will look at the basics of metal detection on your conveyor line and how you can create a metal-free zone in your facility.

What Is Metal Contamination?

Metal contamination occurs when any pieces of metal make their way into a product during the manufacturing process. A conveyor metal detector is designed to alert you to any possible metal contaminants that make their way into your product.

There are three primary types of metallic contaminants:

  • Ferrous metals are easily detected, as they are both magnetic and conductive.
  • Non-ferrous metals are non-magnetic, but they are good conductors, so it is relatively easy to detect them.
  • Stainless steel is, for most grades, both non-magnetic and a poor conductor, making it difficult to detect.

Metal Detector Conveyors

What Is a Metal-Free Zone?

A metal-free zone is an area near the metal detector in your conveyor system where no metal is allowed. Metal detectors are constructed with high-frequency magnetic fields built into the device’s metal casing. In spite of this careful construction, it is still possible for the magnetic field to leak out of the detector’s aperture. Because of this, a metal-free zone must be created in the area surrounding the aperture.

If metal is placed too near the metal detector in the metal-free zone, the detector’s signal may spike, causing a false positive and unnecessarily disrupting your production.

How Can You Create a Metal-Free Zone in Your Facility?

To create a metal-free zone, you will need to do some calculations based on the type of metal being used and the aperture size of your conveyor belt metal detector. If the metal is non-moving, it should be at least 1.5 times the aperture height away from the opening; moving metal should be at least 2 times the height away from the opening.

What Should You Consider When Choosing Metal Detection Conveyor Products?

When you are choosing a metal detector for your conveyor system and establishing a metal-free zone, you want equipment that can do the job quickly, spot contamination in your system and provide options for product disposal. The three factors to consider are:

1. Aperture Size

Most apertures are 8 inches high by 14 inches wide, but customization is possible if necessary to meet your product specifications.

2. Sanitation

If sanitation measures are included in the conveyors, your employees will be able to quickly and easily clean the conveyor surfaces, observe products flagged as containing metal and remove them so your line can continue operating.

3. Reject Mechanisms

If metal is detected, reject mechanisms are necessary to prevent further contamination and quickly remove the product.

The three types of reject mechanisms available include:

  1. Push-on detect. When a metal detector flags a product, a pusher mechanism mounted to the side of the conveyor removes the product from the line for disposal.
  2. Air blast. A blast of air is used to remove rejected products from the line.
  3. Diverter arms. An arm swings across the conveyor belt to remove rejected products from the line.

Trust Span Tech for Your Conveyor Belt Metal Detector Needs

Now that you have learned about metal detection and creating a metal-free zone, let Span Tech help your business keep its products and employees safe. If you have questions about our conveyor belt metal detectors, please contact us today and our team will be happy to assist.

Advantages of Robotics Integration in Manufacturing

Advantages of Robotics Integration in Manufacturing


The robotics automation industry is booming across many sectors. This is especially true in manufacturing, which already surpasses the automotive industry as the largest user of industrial robots.

According to Fortune Business Insights, robotics integration in manufacturing is growing rapidly, with its strongest year ever in 2021 and more growth ahead. The global industrial robots market is forecasted to expand from $16.78 billion in 2022 to $35.68 billion by 2029.

The growth of robotics in the manufacturing industry has been spurred by two main factors: technological advancements and lower cost. Although robots have been used in high-volume manufacturing environments for some time, smaller manufacturers now have more opportunities to consider robotics as an option.

There are many applications for automated integration in manufacturing. As with any technology, it’s important for businesses to evaluate their unique applications and the pros and cons of integrating robotics into that process. This article will go over the many advantages (and a few disadvantages) of integrating robotics in manufacturing.

Advantages of Robots in Manufacturing

There are many advantages of robotics integration in the manufacturing industry. Five main advantages of robotics are:

1. Improved Quality, Productivity and Efficiency

Utilizing production robotics increases the speed of manufacturing by operating 24/7. Because robots don’t need breaks or shift changes, there is less downtime, which improves productivity and efficiency. Also, because robots can be programmed to manufacture a product the exact same way every time, manufacturers will enjoy the benefits of higher-quality products coming off their conveyor lines.

2. Increased Flexibility

It’s important for manufacturers in today’s business environment to be flexible. With constant changes in designs, materials and processes, human laborers can require regular retraining, which costs time and money. Manufacturing with robotics allows for quick changes through simple reprogramming.

3. More Consistency

Robotics integration provides more precise and reliable production at a higher level of quality. There is no worry about human error causing mistakes or issues in production.

4. Better Safety

Programming robots to perform simple, repetitive tasks reduces the risk of injury for workers. Also, production can be overseen online from a remote location.

5. Improved ROI

The increased productivity and efficiency allows businesses to see an increase in revenue and improved return on investment. Robotics in factories also frees up workers to use their skills in more challenging tasks that cannot be automated.

Advantages of Robotic Integration in Manufacturing

Disadvantages of Robots in Manufacturing

Although there are many reasons to add robotics to your factory, there are a few disadvantages to consider before you jump in.

1. High Initial Investment

Although prices have gone down, robots still require a large investment upfront. Carefully research exactly how much it will cost your business for robotics integration and analyze if the total cost is worth it.

2. Limited Expertise

Besides investing in robots, you also need skilled workers to operate, program and maintain them. That means either hiring personnel or training existing workers to handle the required tasks.

3. Technology Limitations

Although robots can handle many tasks, there are still some production processes that require more complex programming than is currently available.

Let Span Tech Help You Find a Robotics Integration Solution for Your Business

Now that you know more about the pros and cons of robots in manufacturing, you can make an informed decision on if you want to use them for your business. If you have questions or want to find out more about robotics integration, Span Tech can help. Contact us today and find out how.

5 Benefits of Conveyor Rail Guides

Conveyor Rail Guides


Whether your business is packaging, pharmaceuticals or e-commerce, you likely rely on conveyor belts to move products throughout your facility. Conveyor rail guides are an opportunity to streamline production and increase efficiency.

As products and materials travel along your company’s conveyor system, conveyor guide rails make sure your products are directed to their proper destination. The conveyor belt guides are placed at specific locations along your conveyor belts inside holders and supported by clamping heads. Spacers under the holders are used to extend the width of your conveyor belts and control how much support the rail guides give.

In this article, we will look at the many benefits that come when you incorporate rail guides into your conveyor belt system and how Span Tech can help.

1. Adjustable for Greater Flexibility

Instead of needing to rebuild your conveyor belt to handle different products, conveyor rail guides can be quickly and easily adjusted to allow your conveyor system to move a variety of materials around your facility.

2. Safe

Using Span Tech’s EZGUIDE™ conveyor guide rail system makes your conveyor belt safer for employees who need to work along the system. The EZGUIDE does not use any protruding mechanical parts that could cause safety hazards during adjustments.

Conveyor Rail Guides

3. Can Be Installed On Any Conveyor

Conveyor guide rails can be retro-fitted for addition to existing conveyor belts or included in your new conveyor belt designs.

4. Low Changeover Time

Adjustable conveyor belt guide rails are much faster to make changes on compared to traditional rail guides.

5. Reduced Cost

When your conveyor belt system is down for changeovers, your company is losing money. Less downtime for changing conveyor belt guides means greater productivity and more savings.

Discover How Span Tech Conveyor Rail Guides Can Help Your Business

At Span Tech, we understand how important conveyor rail guides can be for your business. Whether you’re looking for a transfer conveyor system or our EZGUIDE™ conveyor guide rail system, let us show you how we can help improve your company’s efficiency and save money.

Adjustable Conveyor Guide Rails 101

Adjustable Conveyor Guide Rails


Conveyor belts are an essential part of many warehouses and factories, moving goods from one point to another without human intervention. But needing to change your conveyor setup for different products causes downtime and inefficiencies. Adjustable conveyor guide rails allow you to handle products of various shapes and sizes without requiring a change to your conveyor system, and thus, they are critical to production efficiency.


In this article, we will take a look at adjustable conveyor guide rails, including how they work and how Span Tech can help your business be more efficient and streamline production with our custom conveyor guide rails.

What Is a Guide Rail?

As items travel along your conveyor system, conveyor guide rails make sure your products are automatically directed to their proper destination.

In recent years, adjustable conveyor guide rails have emerged as the latest technological innovation to change how conveyor systems can improve efficiency and save money. Adjustable conveyor guide rails give your business extra flexibility, as they allow you to manage different products without having to make adjustments or additions to your conveyor system. That means less downtime for your business.

  • Aluminum or Steel Rails
  • Rail Sleeves
  • Holders
  • Rail Bracket/Holders
  • Connector Plugs

Adjustable conveyor guide rails

How Does a Conveyor Guide Rail Work?

Conveyor guide rails direct your products along the conveyor operating system. The guide rails are inside holders that are placed along your conveyor belts, supported by clamping heads. Spacers placed under the holders extend the width of your conveyor belts and control how much support the guide rails give.

Types of Conveyor Guide Rail Components

There are a number of different conveyor guide rail components that work together to make a system function properly.

  • Guide rails and supports. Guide rails are usually made of aluminum or steel and can be used to extend the length of your system.
  • Rail sleeves and holders. Rail sleeves are connectors that attach the rails into the holders. Adjusting the space between rails allows you to control the support level on your conveyor belt.
  • Clamps. The clamps are adjustable and can easily take on spacers or other parts that can make your system customized for your unique needs.

Standard vs. Custom Guide Rails

Some conveyor belt systems can be built using standard conveyor guide rails. If your conveyor needs are more complex and can’t be satisfied using standard rails, you may need custom conveyor guide rails to get your products where they need to be. Span Tech offers custom conveyor systems that can be tailor-made to fit your company’s specific requirements.

Discover How Span Tech’s Adjustable Conveyor Guide Rails Can Meet Your Needs

At Span Tech, we understand how important adjustable conveyor guide rails can be for your business. Whether you’re looking for a transfer conveyor or our EZGUIDE™ conveyor guide rail system, let us show you how we can help you improve efficiency and save money.

Are Worn Out Conveyor Guide Rail Systems Slowing Down Your Production Line Efficiency?

Conveyor Guile Rail Systems


Conveyor guide rail systems are an integral part of the production line. Their job is to secure items as they move along conveyor belts.

Like the rest of your conveyor system, guide rails wear out over time. While maintenance will help prolong the life of your system, ultimately, old conveyor guide rail systems will need to be replaced to speed up production line efficiency.

In this article, we’ll talk about what causes conveyor guide rail systems to fail, what steps you can take to prevent problems and how Span Tech can help when it’s time for a new conveyor guide rail system.

What Is a Conveyor Guide Rail System?

Conveyor guide rails ensure the smooth movement of products along your conveyor system. As items travel to their final destination, rails guide your products without the need for manual intervention.

Recent technological innovations have resulted in adjustable conveyor side rails, which manage various products without using multiple conveyor belts. This reduces costs and accelerates factory production runs. The adjustable guide rail system has revolutionized the standard guide rail in factories across the country.

Conveyor guide rail systems are comprised of several conveyor components:

  • Aluminum or Steel Rails
  • Rail Sleeves
  • Holders
  • Rail Bracket/Holders
  • Connector Plugs

Conditions That Cause Conveyor Guide Rail Systems to Fail

Given the amount of punishment that conveyor guide rails take, it’s no wonder they wear out over time. Some of the factors that hasten their demise include:

  • Chemicals: Over time, the cleaning agents used on your guide rail system can begin to break down the plastic in your guide rails.
  • Friction: The constant rubbing of products against guide rails can result in the deterioration of conveyor parts.
  • Foreign Particles: Damage to the guide rail can result from contact with abrasive materials like sand, sugar, grinding particles, broken glass, etc.
  • Multiple Bends: Having several vertical and horizontal plane bends in conveyor systems can accelerate wear and tear.

Conveyor Guide Rail Maintenance

You can get the maximum life out of your conveyor guide rail system by following the manufacturer’s instructions for routine maintenance. For example, you may be directed to check the chain slack, side rails and drive unit at prescribed intervals – then perform any necessary cleaning and maintenance.

Signs of Trouble With Your Conveyor Guide Rails

Conveyor guide rails are robust and adaptable, thanks to their modular system. The individual parts can be adjusted to different operational constraints. While this is a good thing from a production standpoint, one malfunctioning part can impact the whole unit. To diagnose a problem with your conveyor guide rail system, take heed of the following symptoms on your factory line:

  • Changeover Efficiency: Is it taking longer to change over rail adjustment between products?
  • Production Run Time: Have you noticed an increase in the run time for each product line?
  • Start-up Time: Are new product runs taking more time to begin?
  • Downtime: Are you making more unscheduled stops than normal?
  • Equipment Failure: Are problems with jamming and product damage becoming more frequent?

Conveyor Guide Rail Product Line Efficiency

How Problems Impact Production Line Efficiency

Guide rail systems that are not operating effectively can slow down operations, and the extended periods required to readjust between runs mean increased downtime that negatively impacts productivity. All of this results in product losses and subsequent reduction in revenue. Other areas of the conveyor system may be impacted by conveyor guide rail malfunction:

  • Reduction in the speed and capacity of the conveyor belt. You may notice an increase in belt mistracking, which can cause uneven belt wear and subsequent problems with the tension and balance of the conveyor belt system. In some instances, the belt may completely slip off the track, effectively stopping factory production while repairs are completed.
  • Product mishandling. In conveyor transfer systems, as products move from one place to the next, they may get caught in the system, creating a jam or clog that halts the operation. When this happens, products may leave a residue that builds up under the belt, resulting in rollers and pulleys that slow down or stop.
  • Other Hazards: The accumulation of certain residues may create toxic fumes or a fire hazard.

Rely on Span Tech When It’s Time for New Conveyor Guide Rail Systems

When conveyor guide rail systems have outlived their productive work life, Span Tech can step in with highly efficient, easy-adjust options for your conveyor system. We proudly serve companies from a wide range of industries, from food production and packaging to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. For over 30 years, we’ve continued to innovate conveyor systems to provide our clients with modern solutions for product handling. From sorting conveyors to specialty conveyors, Span Tech can create custom solutions for your business. Get in touch today and let us know how we can help you boost factory production!

Common Conveyor Belt Problems & How To Fix Them

Common Conveyor Belt Problems

With many conveyor systems running 24/7 in critical operations, common conveyor belt problems can cause serious trouble, leading to damaged equipment, unnecessary downtime and employee injuries.

Conveyor belt systems play a crucial role in today’s manufacturing and warehousing facilities, and it’s important to know how to keep them working properly, without the entire system breaking down.

With years of expertise across numerous industries, Span Tech has a comprehensive knowledge of conveyors. In this article, we’ll look at common conveyor problems and how to troubleshoot and prevent them.

6 Common Conveyor Belt Problems

The global conveyor market is expected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025. It’s a big business and one that touches a wide range of operations. Despite the market’s size, even small conveyor belt problems can have a domino effect, creating issues throughout a company’s system. The most common conveyor belt problems include:

  1. Conveyor Belt Tracking Problems
  2. Belt Slippage
  3. Blockages
  4. Carryback
  5. Material Spillage
  6. Seized Rollers

Here’s a closer look at each of these common conveyor belt issues.

Span Tech Conveyor Belt System

1. Conveyor Belt Tracking Problems

Conveyor belt tracking issues, often referred to as conveyor belt mistracking, are some of the most common conveyor problems. Belt mistracking occurs when the belt is no longer aligned with the proper path and pulls to one side or the other.

Possible causes of conveyor belt mistracking include belt damage, a crooked splice or off-center loading. There are also other areas of concern, such as:

  • A crooked or angled conveyor frame
  • Snub rollers that are out of alignment or not tensioned properly
  • Dirt or residue on the belt or pulleys, which can force the belt off track

If left undetected, mistracking can cause further belt damage and the shut down of the entire system.

To perform conveyor belt alignment troubleshooting, you should regularly inspect these areas and check for tell-tale signs of mistracking, like frayed edges on the belt. Keep the belt clean, repair damage as it arises and make sure loads are properly centered to avoid major issues and a long shut-down period.

2. Belt Slippage

Conveyor belt slippage is another of the most common conveyor belt problems. Conveyor belts require an exact balance of tension to operate correctly. Having too little or too much tension can cause belt slippage. Besides slippage, improper tension and insufficient traction also can create a strain or stretch on the belts, along with loud squealing and grating noises.

If the belt slips entirely off the pulleys, the result can be serious damage, like a motor failure.

While a range of issues can force a belt to slip, here are the most common causes:

  • Cold temperatures, which lower the grip between the pulleys and the belt
  • Overweight loads, which strain the belt, causing it to slip
  • Pulley issues, which can include a worn head pulley or pulleys that are too smooth

Lagging is often installed on pulleys to create the proper tension, but pulley lagging itself can cause belt slippage if the lagging is improperly implemented.

If you’re wondering how to make a belt stop slipping, the best defense is a good offense. Ensure your belt’s weight range matches the weight of the products you’re moving, and regularly inspect the belt and pulleys for the common causes of belt slippage. Repair these as soon as you find them.

3. Blockages

A conveyor belt line is supposed to transport products smoothly from one location to another. But sharp edges, corners and surfaces can snag an object, causing a pile-up as items begin to gather.

An unexpected accumulation of products can damage items and force the entire system to shut down.

To prevent blockages, regularly inspect your conveyor line for anything that could interfere with product movement and correct it promptly.

4. Carryback

Material carryback is a common conveyor belt problem for material handling systems that carry loose material. Carryback occurs when extra material sticks to the transporting belt, pulleys, idlers and rollers. Humidity and condensation can exacerbate the issue. Material caught like this requires extra cleanup and can lead to overly worn components.

One way to prevent carryback is to install belt cleaners or brushes that dislodge stuck material before it becomes an issue.

5. Material Spillage

It’s not uncommon for material to slide off a conveyor belt, particularly at points where loading and transferring occur. The lost material increases equipment wear and lowers productivity. It also presents a significant safety hazard since loose material can cause employees to slip or fall.

Some spillage is inevitable, but you can prevent excess material spillage by installing impact beds or skirt clamps. Since a poorly aligned conveyor system can increase the likelihood of spillage, it’s helpful to regularly check for and correct alignment issues.

6. Seized Rollers

Another common conveyor belt problem is seized rollers, which lead to sharp edges on the rollers that can:

  • Cause the belt to mistrack
  • Create a safety hazard
  • Damage the objects being transported
  • Close down the entire system

Regular inspections can help you identify rollers that are likely to seize, allowing you to replace them before issues arise.

How to Combat Common Conveyor Belt Problems

Common conveyor belt problems cause many issues, ranging from lost production to damaged products to employee injuries and shut-down operations. They often require time-consuming maintenance and repair operations to resolve the problems.

The most comprehensive approach to reducing common conveyor problems is to institute a regular preventive maintenance program. Preventive maintenance is a cost-effective way to catch conveyor problems when they’re easier to address and before they become major issues.

Of course, it’s always important to follow all the best safety advice when working on conveyors, including proper lock-out/tag-out procedures, which ensure that the power is turned off on the equipment you’re repairing.

An Innovative Solution to Common Conveyor Problems With Span Tech

Unlike traditional conveyors, Span Tech builds its systems and Specialty Conveyors with an innovative modular plastic conveyor chain that eliminates the possibility of mistracked belts and other common conveyor problems.

Our modular solution is built with individual interconnecting rows of chain, which can be configured in a wide variety of widths and lengths. Thanks to its collapsibility, our modular chain can create curving, twisting, inclining and declining conveyors.

Trust Span Tech With Your Conveying Needs

We have years of expertise in creating solutions for the most challenging applications to help you avoid common conveyor belt problems. The wide range of custom designs we offer, along with our extensive line of add-ons, means you get the conveyor that’s best suited for your needs. Contact us today to see what Span Tech can do for you.

Why Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts Are Better Than Metal

Plastic Conveyor Parts Vs. Metal Conveyor Parts

There’s no doubt that plastic has been a game-changer for countless industries since its invention in the 19th century. Case in point: adopting molded plastic conveyor belt parts has provided numerous benefits compared to their metal counterparts.

Many advancements in technology have resulted in metal conveyor belt parts being replaced by plastic – and for good reason. Read on to learn why plastic conveyor parts have become the better choice, which specific conveyor belt parts have converted to plastic, and why Span Tech is the place to go for all things related to conveyor belt systems.

Metal vs. Molded Plastic Conveyor Parts

Advancements in the development and production of plastic conveyor parts have resulted in a superior product that dramatically improves conveyor belt performance. In many cases, molded plastic conveyor belt parts are better than metal ones:

  • Lower Cost & Better Availability
  • Improved Material Characteristics
  • Improved Consistency
  • Superior Design

Lower Costs

When you can use more affordable products in your equipment, it’s a win-win for all concerned. Because molded plastic conveyor parts are more affordable to produce, everyone gets to keep a little something extra in their pocket, from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Better Availability

Because they’re less costly and easier to produce, it’s feasible to keep larger minimum quantities on hand and easier to get molded plastic conveyor belt parts when you need them.

Designed for Heavy Duty

Because there are very few limitations to designing injection molded parts, modern engineering methods allow them to be designed to optimize strength and thus are surprisingly durable. Molded plastic conveyor parts are designed to handle the most rigorous loading for the application.

More Consistency

Welded metal parts often have issues with warping, which is oftentimes unpredictable and can be hard to control. Molded plastic conveyor belt parts are more uniform than their metal counterparts.

Less QC is Required

Manufactured parts often have to go through several steps during the manufacturing process (such as sawing, milling, turning, welding, coating, etc.). When replacing parts that are coated (like an LPI chain guide), there’s less chance of losing parts due to additional steps in manufacturing, so less quality checking is required.

Improved Material Characteristics

Plastics come in a wide range of material properties. Parts can be made rigid or flexible, high-friction or low-friction. Depending on the design requirements, there’s a plastic material that’s best suited for the application.

Better Design

Molded plastic parts can be engineered with features that are much more ergonomic and safe compared to traditionally manufactured metal parts.

Types of Molded Plastic Parts on a Conveyor Belt

There are dozens of custom-molded plastic wear parts for conveyors replacing metal parts like the hinged steel belt and the sprockets. Today’s conveyor equipment contains plastic parts such as:

  • Pulleys
  • Plastic Modular Belts
  • Rollers
  • Bearings/Bushings
  • Gears/Sprockets
  • Chain Guides & Rails
  • Curves/Tracks
  • Wear Strips
  • Star Wheels
  • Augers
  • Bumpers
  • Hoppers
  • Liners
  • Bins

Frequently Asked Questions About Custom-Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts

Because they are such a departure from traditional metal and rubber components, people frequently have questions about custom-molded plastic conveyor belt parts.

What Are the Parts of a Conveyor System?

A conveyor system has three main components:

  • Belt Guides: This keeps the belt taut and moving smoothly and efficiently.
  • Pulleys/Sprockets: Conveyor systems have at least two pulleys – one that operates when the unit is powered up, the other when it’s idling. Pulleys control the conveyor belt’s movement.
  • Drive Unit: This enables the system to move efficiently, forward and backward.

What Is a Modular Conveyor System?

A modular belt conveyor contains plastic modules that link together with rods. Sprockets drive the modular belt. Unlike most fabric/plastic belts, modular belts can be made to be pulled through curves and vertical bends. Also, fabric/plastic belts require a tensioning system – modular plastic belts do not. And because they’re more rugged, plastic modular belts are especially useful for moving hot workpieces or items with sharp edges. Chain modules are permeable to air, making modular conveyor equipment the best choice for cooling lines. And due to its simpler design, a modular conveyor system has the added benefit of easy maintenance.

What Is a Plastic Modular Belt?

Modular plastic belting is an alternative to traditional fabric conveyor belt systems. It’s positive-driven, has low tension and eliminates slippage on drives. A plastic modular belt is also durable and simple to maintain, making it ideal for applications in nearly every major industry.

Shop Span Tech Systems for the Best Molded Plastic Conveyor Belt Parts

Span Tech is an industry leader renowned for our durable plastic chain conveyor parts and systems combined with innovations in material handling. Our chains and guides use engineered materials for the best combination of low friction and durability. High-strength plastics are used for items that undergo heavy loading, such as sprockets, chain links, etc. All plastic materials have been selected to be FDA-compliant and are capable of withstanding harsh chemical environments.

We serve a wide range of industries, from food and beverage production to manufacturing, distribution, packaging, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. We’re committed to building the best conveyor system to meet the needs of our clients. Discover why our molded plastic conveyor belt parts and systems are the right ones for your business. Contact us today so we can get you up and running!