Materials in Motion

Spanco Quarterly Newsletter

2014 FABTECH Trade Show

Spanco will be attending the 2014 FABTECH trade show event at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from November 11-13th. FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event, with an anticipated 27,000 attendees and 1,4000 exhibitors.

The show covers more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and provides a backdrop for visitors to find cost-effective solutions, experience live equipment demonstrations, and network with industry peers. The event also provides learning opportunities beyond the exhibits with over 100 educational sessions and expert-led presentations on the latest industry trends and technology in the metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing industries. For more information about this year’s FABTECH tradeshow in Atlanta, Georgia, please visit their website at 

Featured case study

Spanco T Series Gantry Crane Helps Build SpaceX Aircraft

NASA recently announced that SpaceX, a privately owned manufacturer of advanced rockets and spacecraft, is one of two winners in the competition to launch American crews to the International Space Station on private space taxis by 2017.

Worth nearly $7 billion combined, the contracts include at least one manned test flight to the station, along with anywhere from two to six operational flights with four-person crews. Those missions will be the first American manned space flights from the United States since 2011. Founded by Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk in 2002, SpaceX has been manufacturing and launching its rockets and aircraft into orbit for several years. When the facility began its operations, engineers installed permanent overhead material handling solutions to assist their enormous production line and assembly areas. However, in 2012, engineers at SpaceX began searching for a material handling solution that would enable them to move heavy loads throughout their facility with increased accuracy and precision.

After speaking with a local Spanco distributor, Engineers from SpaceX decided to purchase and install a two-ton T Series Gantry Crane from Spanco. The crane is not only used to lift and transport materials collected from outer space, it is also used to lift and install engine components for their rockets, which are used to propel satellites into orbit.

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Materials in motion—Featured Blog Posts

Designing An Effective Manufacturing Facility Layout

For most manufacturing operations the goal is relatively simple: develop a lean manufacturing system to streamline production and ensure a smooth flow of work, material, and information. In the world of manufacturing, the old adage is true: time really is money.

So, What Are The Requirements for An Effective Facility Layout?

Effective manufacturing operations should utilize space efficiently and minimize material handling costs. This includes:

  • Ensuring that labor is used efficiently
  • Eliminating bottlenecks
  • Providing proficient communication between workers and supervisors
  • Eliminating downtime
  • Ensuring [material/product] movement is not static
  • Considering flexibility for future workflow changes

There are several ways to ensure that facilities are meeting the above requirements to design an effective layout that streamlines production and promotes a lean manufacturing process. Depending on the operation, there are actually three basic facility layouts used in manufacturing, all with the objective of meeting the requirements listed above.

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Overhead Cranes: Daily Inspection And Maintenance Requirements

If you’re using an overhead crane for material handling, it’s important to implement a preventative maintenance program based on the crane manufacturer’s recommendations. This maintenance program should be centered on a thorough and effective safety inspection plan, which is conducted regularly. If a crane inspector detects deteriorated components or unsafe conditions during a required inspection, they must be repaired before any worker can resume use of the system.

In order to implement a proper and thorough preventative maintenance program, you must first consider a daily inspection and safety procedure checklist. Following a checklist to ensure your overhead crane is receiving proper maintenance will not only allow you to keep your system in working order for much longer, it will also preserve your warranty and prevent potential worker safety concerns from arising.

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