In 1964, UNEX founder and engineer Frank Neuwirth had an idea that would transform the distribution marketplace: a conveyor that could move materials along any line, straight or curved, with a single drive motor. With only five employees and a Fairfield, NJ, garage for an office, UNEX manufactured the first cable-driven live roller conveyor in 1964. The product offered significant cost savings over traditional belt-driven conveyors and launched UNEX as an order selection system provider. From that point on, customers turned to UNEX to design solutions to improve order picking. Although the company’s product line has evolved extensively since then, UNEX remains the industry leader in innovative order picking solutions and has become known as “The Carton Flow Authority.”
Facilities and New Innovations
The manufacturing facility moved to Toms River, NJ, in 1973, to Jackson, NJ, in 1977, and finally to Lakewood in 2015. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, the company’s product line expanded to include several types of conveyors: belt, belt on wheel, and live roller conveyors, as well as a patented roller rack carton flow product. In 1981, UNEX was in the forefront, bringing pick to light technology to the marketplace. Every UNEX product was designed with one primary goal in mind: improve order picking. In 1993, UNEX introduced a product that would change carton flow forever: SpanTrack, a superior conveyor-like carton flow that doubles the capacity of carton flow systems. In the years following the overwhelming success of SpanTrack, UNEX introduced multiple new solutions for customers:
- In 2004, UNEX launched FlowCell, which allowed the company to grow outside of the distribution market. The introduction of FlowCells allowed UNEX to have a product offering that could provide line-side storage cells to manufacturing companies and introduced an entirely new market segment that needed support in order picking.
- To meet customer requests for variations of the conveyor roller, in 2004, UNEX acquired Speedways Conveyor, increasing our product offering to include steel rollers and skatewheel conveyor sections.
- In 2005, UNEX introduced SKUBE, an in-house inventory analysis slotting program that helps customers determine how and where they should store their products.
- In 2008, UNEX introduced Flow Bed, a universal carton flow bed, which allows customers to have flexibility when re-slotting products.
- In 2013, UNEX introduced light and heavy-duty options for SpanTrack. The company also repositioned UNEX to focus on providing innovative order picking solutions rather than just products.
Throughout the organization’s evolution and growth, UNEX has remained a family company that invests in its employees and products. We believe that quality should never be sacrificed for price.