5 Manufacturing Industry Trends for 2022

Manufacturing Industry Trends

As we’ve embarked on this new year, there are many exciting challenges and advancements to look forward to — including the manufacturing industry trends for 2022. It’s essential to understand how upcoming industrial manufacturing trends can affect your business. Your company can stay ahead of your competition by paying attention to these emerging movements. Let’s look at five manufacturing trends for 2022 and how Span Tech’s innovative manufacturing conveyors can help your operation thrive.

With the surge of the COVID-19 omicron variant and the Great Resignation, manufacturing took some unexpected turns in 2021. But many of the manufacturing trends from 2021 will continue to inform manufacturing practices for the coming year, with new issues coming to bear. What trends in manufacturing can we expect for 2022?

1. Manufacturers Will Continue to Deal With Labor Shortages

The labor shortage is nothing new — the National Association of Manufacturers forecast in 2019 that there will be a gap of 2.1 million manufacturing jobs by 2030. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a loss of 219,000 manufacturing jobs just between February 2020 and December 2021. Compounding this shortage is the loss of skills and knowledge that will occur as existing workers retire. Manufacturers can get ahead of this trend by:

  • Improving the public perception of manufacturing jobs
  • Recruiting from the industries hit hardest by the pandemic
  • Reskilling existing employees
  • Boosting efforts to retain workers
  • Investing in increased automation

Our custom conveying solutions can help manufacturers cope with labor shortages by increasing system uptime and line output.

2. Smart Factory Initiatives Will Take the Lead

An increased move toward smart factories is one of the industrial manufacturing trends we foresee for 2022. The growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will allow manufacturers to take advantage of advancements like artificial intelligence and predictive analytics. Organizations that implement interconnectivity will see unprecedented growth in resilience and efficiency. With the implementation of fifth-generation technology (5G), improvements in visibility, scale and speed will follow. Digital-first manufacturing trends will only increase in the coming year.

Smart Factory Initiatives

3. Manufacturers Will Renew Efforts to Tame Their Supply Chains

Another manufacturing industry trend for 2022 will focus on corporate efforts to control supply chains. The continuing effects of COVID-19, trade wars, high demand and slow delivery times are testing manufacturers’ abilities to develop resilient supply chains. Many will look to reshore operations to better manage supply chain availability, while others will pursue opportunities in countries like Canada and Mexico. Their efforts will be complicated by continuing transportation troubles, including a shortage of freight drivers and congestion at U.S. container ports.

4. Environmental Accountability Will Gain the Forefront

No matter what your beliefs are about climate change, a further emphasis on environmental accountability will be among 2022’s trends in the manufacturing industry. Globally, governments are promising huge strides toward sustainability, and many customers are incorporating environmental responsibility into their expectations for manufacturing suppliers. As a result, developing a carbon-neutral footprint will emerge as a priority for many manufacturers, regardless of size. The growing interest in environmental accountability goes hand-in-hand with increased demands for visibility into social metrics like diversity, inclusion and equity. The manufacturing trends focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors will affect a company’s ability to attract and retain employees and customers.

5. Cybersecurity Will Emerge as A Major Threat

No discussion of current manufacturing trends would be complete without touching on cybersecurity. High-profile cyber attacks on industry and government alike have elevated cybersecurity as a significant concern for manufacturers. Operations of any size can find themselves subject to ransomware and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities. No company is immune from a potential attack. The increased reliance on 5G-connected devices only expands manufacturers’ exposure to cyber threats. The risks are real and can affect the factory floor as well as the back office. Most legacy systems and technologies weren’t built to cope with cyber attacks. Improved security isn’t the only need. Companies also must address their corporate resilience in case of an attack. Are vital data and documentation regularly backed up to provide the redundancy necessary to withstand an assault? Cybersecurity affects every facet of a manufacturer’s operations.

FAQs About Manufacturing Industry Trends in 2022

There’s a wide range of trends facing manufacturers. Read the FAQs below to learn more about manufacturing industry trends for 2022.

What Is the Future of Manufacturing?

Worldwide, the outlook for manufacturing is strong. The global manufacturing market size is expected to increase from $649.8 billion in 2020 to $732.2 billion in 2027.

What Are the Latest Trends in Manufacturing?

Additional manufacturing trends include an acceleration of e-commerce, the expansion of mixed-model assembly and the growth of the connected workforce.

What Manufacturing Sectors Are Growing?

Sectors that expect to see growth include automobile engine and parts manufacturing and aircraft, engine and parts production.

Dealing With Manufacturing

Manufacturing industry trends for 2022 require vigilance, resilience and a proactive stance. While the challenges are formidable, the global manufacturing outlook for 2022 is strong. Meeting the manufacturing challenges of 2022 head-on can provide significant benefits in:

  • Employee retention
  • Customer acquisition
  • Productivity increases
  • Cost reductions

Manufacturers who address these manufacturing trends will reap the advantages for years to come. Developing partnerships with forward-thinking companies can play a critical role in their success.

Let Span Tech Help You Benefit From Current Manufacturing Trends

With an emphasis on innovation and testing, Span Tech truly understands the advantages of meeting today’s manufacturing trends. Our custom conveying solutions can help boost productivity, cut operational costs and position you for the future. Whether you need specialty conveyors or more information on manufacturing industry trends in 2022 and beyond, we’re here for you. Contact us today to learn how our conveyors can help you stay ahead of the competition and thrive.

Conveyor Belt Safety: The Eight Do’s and Don’ts of Operating Automated Conveyor Systems


If your business utilizes automated conveyor systems in any way, conveyor belt safety should always be your No. 1 priority. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 40 workplace fatalities a year are the result of conveyor accidents, along with 9,000 injuries.

No matter what type of conveyor is being used in your business, there are some conveyor belt hazards to be aware of to help reduce conveyor-related injuries. While it is impossible to prevent all accidents in your warehouse or factory, there are some helpful conveyor safety rules to keep in mind. In this article, we will look at eight of the top do’s and don’t regarding operating automated conveyor systems.

1. Do Keep Hair, Body Parts & Clothing Clear of the Conveyor

Whether it’s long hair, body parts or loose clothing, anything that is not properly restrained can get caught in a conveyor belt, potentially causing serious injuries. One of the key conveyor safety rules you should implement is that anyone working near a conveyor should make sure their hair is tied back and jewelry, like rings, necklaces, watches and bracelets, should be removed. Also, employees working near conveyors should watch their appendages and avoid wearing baggy clothing.

2. Don’t Climb or Stand on the Conveyor at Any Time

Workers should never stand, sit, climb or walk on the conveyor belt. Safety is of the utmost importance, and these actions are extremely dangerous (even if they look fun). Conveyor belts were not designed for people to walk or climb on them. There are many pinch points in any conveyor system that can catch people or clothing, risking serious injuries — even when conveyor pinch point guards have been installed. Besides the risk of injury, people riding on conveyors can cause the belts to un-track, damaging the whole system.

3. Do Keep Personnel Away From the Conveyor Before Starting

Government regulations require conveyor systems to be equipped with a warning signal that can be sounded prior to start-up. That should be just the beginning for companies that are establishing conveyor safety rules out of concern for their workers. Employees should be trained on what the warning signal means and the possible dangers that can occur if it is ignored.

4. Don’t Take Off Conveyor Guards or Move Safety Divides

Employees or contractors can remove guards for maintenance, exposing machinery, chains, gears and moving parts that can be dangerous. To keep workers safe, make sure automated conveyor systems are locked when in service and only return to operating equipment after all conveyor pinch point guards and covers have been successfully reinstalled.

5. Do Know Where the Stop/Start Controls Are and How to Use Them

Any employees who work with conveyor belts should be aware of where to find the emergency stop and start controls for the system. That way, in the event of any emergencies or other problems, employees will be prepared to handle the situation appropriately.

6. Don’t Ignore Issues

Employees who work on automated conveyor systems should know that if there are any issues, they should notify a supervisor immediately. Employees should be trained that if you see something, say something. No matter how minor the issue may seem, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

7. Do Make Conveyor Belt Safety Training a Priority

If your business involves conveyors, all employees should be well-versed in the safe use of conveyor belts before they start working. In addition, existing employees should receive regular refresher training on conveyor safety rules, and all visitors should be made aware of how to stay safe while they are in your facility.

8. Don’t Mistreat Controls

Only trained employees should use conveyor controls. It’s important that you regularly monitor your conveyor controls to make sure no one has misused, modified or disconnected them. Train your employees to understand that the conveyor belt controls are not to be modified without authorization and they are part of a larger system.

Choose Span Tech For Your Automated Conveyor Systems

Now that you’ve learned some important tips about safe conveyor system usage, Span Tech can help you build your conveyor belt system or keep your current system running smoothly. Whether your business is pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, food production, beverage production or a variety of other industries, Span Tech works every day to create the best conveyor belts we can. If you have questions about Span Tech’s products or proper conveyor belt safety, contact our team of experts today for assistance.

Three Considerations When Designing Conveyor Sortation Systems



Eventually, you’re going to need a new conveyor sortation system. Whether you’re expanding your product line or upgrading your existing operations, an automated conveyor and sorting machine will play an essential role in your project’s success. To achieve your goals, you need a systematic, all-encompassing approach to your conveyor system design. Throughput requirements, product specifications and layout constraints are the top three things to consider when designing conveyor sortation systems. Read on to learn how to develop the best conveyor design to meet your operation’s needs.

The Benefits of a New Conveyor Sortation System

New conveyor sortation systems can do more than accommodate an additional product line or boost your current operations. A well-planned conveyor system design can provide a wide range of ancillary benefits, such as:

  • Promoting shipping accuracy
  • Increasing shipping frequency
  • Improving productivity
  • Decreasing labor costs
  • Streamlining facility processes
  • Reducing production costs
  • Improving compliance with health and safety regulations
  • Decreasing product damage
  • Cutting waste

In the end, these all add up to increased customer satisfaction, something we all strive to achieve.

The benefits of a carefully planned conveyor sortation system are so widespread that it’s easy to see why conveyors are considered the arteries of any operation, reflecting both the importance and actual function of any conveying system. Because the benefits can be so wide-ranging, it’s useful to incorporate conveyor design early in your project’s budget and design process.

To reap the full benefits of a new conveyor sortation system, you should consider both short- and long-term goals. Choosing the wrong system can damage products, reduce efficiencies and undermine long-standing strategies.

The best conveyor design not only accounts for existing objectives but also accommodates future growth. Designing for scalability at the outset of your project ensures that it will be easier and less expensive to add features and components down the road. Set yourself up for continued success with a conveyor sortation system that’s been thought out from start to finish.

# 1: Throughput Requirements & Conveyor System Design

Consider the true throughput requirements for your conveyor sortation system to create a technical solution that will meet your needs. Decide on the trade-offs that make the most sense for your facility. For instance, faster throughputs often limit your design options while simultaneously increasing costs.

You should consider throughput requirements on a per-shift, per-hour and per-day basis. You’ll also want to factor in how many hours per day and how many days per week your operation will run, as well as expected cycle times. Frequent stops and starts need to be figured into your conveyor system design since they can require more robust motors.

The number of diverts actually required, as opposed to desired, is another crucial consideration — each divert will need to run at the determined throughput.

Designing in flexibility is essential. You need conveyors that can adapt to your entire production flow at an optimum rate of efficiency. Flow and speed control are critical elements of any good conveyor design.

#2: The Effect of Product Specifications on Conveyor Sortation Systems

Product specifications can affect your conveyor system design in a variety of ways. At the very least, you need to know the maximum, minimum and average number of products that will be processed. Other important considerations include:

  • Product dimensions
  • Product weight
  • Load distribution
  • Package orientation

You’ll also want to take into account product characteristics like fragility and sensitivity to temperature, as well as the product’s shape. Products with a hard, flat bottom, such as beer crates, have different conveying needs than softer items like bags of jelly beans.

Another factor in designing a conveyor sortation system is whether there are issues that add to the project’s complexity, like oversized or slow-running products. Could these be excluded to streamline the design?

Whether any of these conditions are random or consistent is essential to consider.

Don’t leave your conveyor system design to luck. Thorough product testing is vital to ensure you get the proper conveyor sorting system for your operation.

#3: How Layout Constraints Affect Conveyor Design

The layout of your plant has a direct impact on conveyor design. You need an accurate, well-documented floor plan of the facility that details:

  • Column locations
  • Electrical panels
  • Overhead clearances
  • Equipment aisleways
  • Pedestrian walkways
  • Dock door spans

Other layout constraints include logistics like where products are introduced into the system and where they need to be transported. For instance, a conveyor sortation system going directly to a truck trailer has different requirements than a system going to a separate staging area.

You’ll also need to consider whether the conveyor will operate indoors or outdoors. If the conveyor is outside, is the ground stable enough to support the structure?

Other factors include whether the products need to be conveyed to different levels and whether a gradual incline or vertical conveyor would work best. Your conveyor system design also needs to account for adequate drainage for products that leak and appropriate ventilation for products that emit fumes. Proper lighting is a requirement where manual operations are in use.

The environment the conveyor will run in is another consideration. Is it so cold that lubricants will thicken? So dusty that components will wear more quickly? So wet that rust will be an issue? And what if the conveyor has to maneuver through multiple environments? A bakery conveyor sortation system, for instance, may need to transport products through ovens and freezers, each area with its own requirements.

Trust Your Conveyor Sortation System Needs to Span Tech

Now that you know the top three factors to consider, it’s time to design a conveyor sortation system for your facility. Span Tech has years of conveyor system design experience, delivering unique, customizable, technical solutions for our customers. We embrace challenges and always seek to engineer conveyor sortation systems tailored specifically for your needs. Contact us today to learn more.

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.

A Quality Warehouse Starts with People


A quality warehouse — every manufacturer craves it. That’s the ability to ship products to end-users on time and with the correct, undamaged materials inside. Every distribution center favors it, too. It’s what a good company does. Suppose it were only that simple. Often, warehouse quality control is deficient or even nonexistent. There are no quality control methods in place and no employees — or the wrong employees inspecting the overall process. Is it the fault of management? The employees? The QA leader or team? The answer is often complex but easily solved by a culture shift like the one undertaken at Span Tech.

It’s about people. The answer to having a quality warehouse is to start with good people taking ownership of their work. Empower them to have the freedom to pull something back or inspect a product again to be sure it’s right before going forward to the next person. Then they take responsibility. And this keeps going until a quality control process drives the great product you make right into the end user’s hands with no mistakes. This article examines the crucial piece in the quality control puzzle and develops a warehouse quality control plan where everyone’s involved.


Why Is Quality Control Important?

Remember, the key is people. We can put perfect processes in place, but the people either make it or break it. Warehouse quality control does have steps to help guide you through the processes, but empowering the people at each stage is the key to optimal performance.

You can’t assume that the departments handling the product before you followed the same quality control procedures. Still, the buck will stop with you — the first person in the chain of command who follows QA procedures and takes responsibility for what you can control. Without empowering every employee in the chain to take charge of their jobs, you’ve already located your weak link(s).

Here’s a quality control process that can work as a checklist for a production warehouse inspection:

  • Safety Check: This should be your first and last item in warehouse quality control. Make sure the conveyor belts — or whichever part of the production chain you’re linked to — are operating correctly and that no safety hazard poses a threat to employees. Every warehouse quality control plan must include detailed safety procedures.
  • Inspect Materials When Received: Whether you’re in Receiving and inspecting the raw materials and products your company uses; in Shipping where a conveyor belt feeds boxes being sent out; or working on the production line itself, inspect, inspect, inspect.
  • Prior to Full-Production Inspections: Pull one finished product and inspect. If it passes muster, proceed with the run.
  • Inspection During Normal Production: At intervals, pull a partially finished product and inspect.
  • After Production Inspections: A predetermined quantity of product will be pulled and inspected.
  • QA Leader Inspection: The person with final authority will inspect the product before shipping. This quality control process is an ongoing and ever-evolving activity. You must evolve, too, to meet new, more significant inspection challenges.
  • Safety Check:One last item of great importance, especially if another shift will come online — the safety inspection! Ensure any hazards are removed and the all-clear is given.

While this list follows a production line, the shipping department’s efforts are also critical, as they are the last line of defense against error. And if you are a distribution center only, the conveyors full of boxes and packages act as your production line.

What Does Quality Control Mean?

While there are many correct answers to this question, the focus should always be on the people more than the process. Taking time to ask yourself, “What does quality control mean?” is a great exercise to revisit often. Of course, as a business, you need steps to follow and regular assessments of your product’s quality to remain successful. But quality control is more than a list of rigid rules. It should be more than just a list of quality control methods that work. Overall, quality control means:

  • Every employee understands their roles and job requirements and can fulfill them with competence.
  • Every employee is empowered to make decisions that can affect production or distribution to make sure the product — at their point in the production process — is correct.
  • Every employee takes responsibility that every product at their station is accurate, and if not, calls attention to it or fixes it themselves.
  • Everyone — including upper management — cares about 100% correct products leaving their company every time.

It’s this type of commitment that ensures a quality warehouse and a 100% correct product reaching the end-user.

How to Create a Quality Control Process

Now that you have your employees empowered to bring the kind of change you want, it’s time to create a quality control process. Span Tech has developed a safety-first working environment based around people. People are our heart and soul. They’re the reason our quality control is a seamless process, resulting in the highest quality products for our customers. Span Tech’s Quality Promise follows these seven principles:

  • 1. Personnel: Be sure to hire and retain top-quality employees, then put the right people in the right places. When well-placed employees are empowered, you’ll see them take ownership of their link in the production chain. And that’ll make all the difference in warehouse quality control.
  • 2. Relationships: Value the relationships you develop with your suppliers. Still, make sure they meet your rigorous standards regarding the products and raw materials you purchase. If there’s a problem, offer practical solutions to resolve it quickly.
  • 3. Technology: Span Tech is a leading innovator of conveyor solutions because of the people we count on every day using the first-class equipment and warehouse quality control procedures already in place. Be sure to give your employees state-of-the-art technology and equipment, so they can produce top-shelf products.
  • 4. Documentation: Take the time to record and ensure your quality control procedures are clearly defined for each stage of your production. Whether in-house job instructions or engineering and design projects, produce accurate, understandable, and consistent documentation across all departments. If even one employee can’t clearly understand the instructions they’re to follow, work with that person to determine if the documentation needs reworking. Always retain good people — documentation is easier to replace.
  • 5. Verification: Stay committed to making sure your products work as intended and are correct to the finest detail. Use appropriate measuring tools when testing to be confident each product is as it should be. If a product doesn’t meet high standards, your customers should never be the ones to tell you.
  • 6. Dedication: Quality control methods would be meaningless without committed and empowered employees. The power behind Span Tech is our people. Like us, you’ll need competent, empowered employees who do things the right way every time. Their dedication makes it possible for you to offer the highest quality products and services to your customers.
  • 7. Practice Prevention: Catching and solving problems before they leave your facility is critical to success. Taking appropriate actions to avoid defects starts with clearly understanding your customers’ requirements. What they expect should be your standard and the baseline of your production. Go above and beyond their requirements with unwavering quality and reap the benefits of success.

Safety is a Quality Control Process

A safe working environment is critical to any quality control process. As you put these inspection techniques in place, remember that safety must come first! We designed our conveyor systems with that in mind. Our EZGUIDE™ Conveyor Guide Rails replaces the brackets or rods that most conveyor belts have. These brackets and rods often stick out from the sides when the belt is in the “retracted” position. That poses a safety hazard in any warehouse or distribution center. With this type of safety hazard, warehouse quality control is already lost due to the dangers posed to employees by their conveyor belts.

EZGUIDE™ has no mechanical components protruding from the sides during adjustment. And EZGUIDE™ GUIDE RAILS remain adjustable through conveyor belt curves. If you believe people are your company’s heart and soul, any quality control process must start with ensuring their safety. That commitment has helped Span Tech become an industry leader as an innovative manufacturer of conveyor belts.

Span Tech and Warehouse Quality Control

Developing a warehouse quality control program is much easier when recognizing your employees are your number one asset. Instead of identifying “things” to change or rearrange, identify people. Placing the right person in the right job will help prevent defects before your checklist even begins. Put the best people in the safest environment and give them clearly defined roles and responsibilities while empowering them to make decisions. Quality control procedures will flow organically as you make a step-by-step map of your entire production or distribution procedures. Finally, hiring or identifying the right employee for the job of making the final inspection is highly important. They’re the last person to see the product before it ships out to the end-user.

Choose Span Tech for Warehouse Quality Control Solutions

Span Tech believes in people. Our people make the highest-quality conveyor belts on the market. That’s because each one knows they’re essential to the entire quality control process exactly where they are. And so on down the line. If you’re still using a bracket and rod conveyor belt system, consider the safe, reliable and innovative EZGUIDE™ Adjustable Guide Rail. It may be the best first step on your way toward warehouse quality control. Contact us, and we’ll provide the best solutions for you 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.

Product Launch: EZGUIDE Conveyor Guide Rails


As part of Span Tech’s commitment to continuous innovation in the industry, we’ve launched the newest line of adjustable conveyor guide rails. Our EZ Guide Rail System brings a more efficient alternative to conveyor guide rails that’s never been seen before in the marketplace. With the ability to solve many of the primary issues other guide rail systems have, the EZ Guide introduces a new level of efficiency to the world of manufacturing. We’re taking a closer look at the EZ Guide Rail System and the many ways it can benefit your business.


A Closer Look at the New EZ Guide Rail System

Popular in the packaging and distribution industries, conveyor guide rails are required when accumulating products to prevent the products from walking off the conveyor. As the latest conveyor guide rail design to hit the market, Span Tech’s EZ Guide Rail System can solve many of the primary issues that traditional guide rail systems have.

Carefully designed by our team of expert engineers, it’s sure to make your manufacturing process more efficient than ever before.

Unique Product Features

Conveyor guide rails play a crucial role in keeping your product in line and secure during transport. From directing products to a certain position to transferring them from one conveyor to another, these systems have a lot of functions.

Span Tech’s new EZ Conveyor Guide Rails take these features to the next level. Our latest product has notable benefits that set it apart from other guide rails on the market.

No Protruding Conveyor Guide Rail Brackets or Shafts

Traditional conveyor guide rail systems tend to use a solid-mounted shaft to mount their guide rail. This can be a major safety hazard. Why? When the rail is adjusted to its “maximum open” position, the shafts will stick out from the conveyor’s sides. This makes it easy for people to get their clothes or body parts caught and can cause injuries on the job.

In comparison, our EZ Guide System doesn’t contain protruding brackets or shafts. You won’t find mechanical components sticking out from the sides of the conveyor during an adjustment. Instead, all the mechanics take place within the shrouded portion of the system. This keeps everything safe for anyone walking close to the conveyors.

Designed to Remain Adjustable Through Curves

While many of the traditional guide rail systems can be made to adjust their width in straight sections, few can be adjusted through a curved portion of a conveyor. Why? The radius of a section is simply too difficult for them. To adjust through a curved portion, guides must bend and their length has to increase or decrease as the radius is changed.

Our EZ Guide System is equipped to handle adjustments for both straight and curved sections. Its design has a radius that can change as the guide’s width is increased or decreased in a curve.


Product Variation Types

Our EZ Guide Rail System is currently available in the following two different configurations:

  • Fixed — This variation offers a basic, fixed-width guidance solution and is ideal for single-width products and/or safety concerns like overhead conveyor installations.
  • Manual Adjustment — As the entry-level system, this variation is adjusted by manually unlocking its guides and positioning the guide rail by hand. This setup is quite similar to almost all other guide rail systems on the market.
  • Incline & Decline Conveyors

Each of these configurations can be made for almost any type of conveyor and still provide the ability to guide through curves. Two of these types — the Fixed and Manual Adjustment — were first introduced at Pack EXPO Connects.

Get Innovative Conveyor Guide Rail Solutions from Span Tech

As a company that thrives on innovation and testing, Span Tech recognizes the importance of utilizing the latest technology in manufacturing. That’s why we’re proud to bring you products like our EZ Guide Rail System. When it comes to providing speciality conveyor solutions like conveyor guide rails, we’re committed to going the extra mile every time. To order our conveyor guide rails for your facility, contact us today!

6 Things to Consider in the Site Selection Process for a Warehouse

Setting up a warehouse distribution center

It’s an exciting time, and your company is ready to take the next step. Setting up a warehouse distribution center can be a monumental experience for any organization. Maybe you’re fairly new on the market and shopping around for your very first site. Or, perhaps your successful company is seeing growth, and it’s time to expand. Whatever the reason, the site selection process for a warehouse is critical for your continued prosperity.

As you get ready to select a new site, consider these six factors to help you make the right decision and ultimately avoid building your plant in an unfit location.

1. The Role Of Your Warehouse

Before you do anything, it’s crucial to take a good, long look at your business plan. Examine and evaluate where you’ve been as a company and where you’re going. Determine if setting up a warehouse or distribution center is the best decision for your business at this time. If it is, think about the site’s purpose. Ask yourself: How much traffic will be within your plant? What capacity of people will need to be there at any given time?

Overall, you want to make sure you’ve covered the basics and fully understand how a new facility must meet your needs. This may sound like common sense, but it’s easy to overlook and can have serious consequences for your business.

2. The Building’s Layout

The design of your warehouse can be vital to productivity and the overall efficiency of product flow. Think about where you need the dock doors to be located to make the most of your new space. Should they be on one side? Opposite sides? How many dock doors will you need and what will you use them for? How will the building’s setup affect packaging?

If you’re focusing on e-commerce, your goal is to find something that will take your product from the picking process to the shipping process. Additionally, you want to consider any possible restrictions to the free flow of product, like interior walls or obstructions.

3. The Distance

During the site selection process for a warehouse, try to minimize the mileage between customers, materials and your plant. Keep in mind, the whole point of finding a new distribution center is to make life easier — not present more challenges.

Think about where your customers are located in comparison to the site you’re considering. If your organization uses raw materials in its manufacturing, where are they located and how far will you have to go to get them? Your warehouse location is important and should play a major role in your decision process.

4. The Overall Environment

As you visit potential distribution areas, examine the nearby industrial sites. Really think about their effect on the surrounding environment. Do they emit dust? Is there air pollution? Are there any odors or toxic elements left behind?

You never want to work at a site that’s contaminated or near other contaminated plants. This is really important in the food production industry, as well as beverage production. It’s also a significant factor for industries like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, so as to avoid cross-contamination.

5. Your Location Criteria

Depending on your warehouse’s purpose, you may find that you require certain elements to get the most use out of its location. For example, you might need additional land due to factors like drainage, topography and governmental regulations. Along with that, consider accessibility and transportation. Will your plant’s operations require that you have railway access? How important is it to be near the interstate? These are questions you want to answer when setting up a warehouse distribution center.

6. Utility & Water Costs

Your expanding distribution center is already an investment. Spiking water and electric bills are the last things you want. You can try to avoid this by determining the square footage you’ll require. Consulting a utility matrix should help with this process. In doing this, you can determine whether or not an adequate energy supply source is readily available. Be sure to review water and wastewater requirements, as consumption costs are often influenced by pre-treatment costs or additional wastewater sub-charges.

Let Span Tech Help with the Site Selection Process For Your Warehouse

At Span Tech, our goal has always been to “build the very best conveyor systems we are capable of,” and we’re dedicated to helping you with your expanding distribution center.

Our flexible and completely customizable distribution center conveyor systems take the stress out of choosing a new warehouse location. They can also improve the overall production efficiency of your facility and help you prepare for future success. We’re more than happy to assist you in setting up a warehouse distribution center through the use of our flexible and customizable conveyor solutions.

If you have questions or would like additional information about how our systems can improve your new warehouse or distribution center, don’t hesitate to contact Span Tech. We want to set you up for success!