Belt Conveyer Guarding
Belt Conveyer Guarding (BCG) designs and manufactures customized guarding systems that fit the exact needs of its customers. This one-of-a-kind service has put the company firmly at the forefront of its marketplace. Created in 1998 to fill the demand for conveyer belt guarding systems, BCG was a pioneer in the North American industry and has been on the rise for the past 15 years.
With 35 in-house employees and five traveling technicians, BCG operates out of one location in Barrie, Ontario. The company not only services Canada, but the team reaches nearly every corner of the United States.
A Competitive Edge
“A lot of our competitors have an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all solution,” says Jerry Power, marketing coordinator at BCG. “This is what makes the company a preferred turnkey guarding provider. But most of the solutions we create are customized to the exact piece of equipment that we are guarding.”
In this way, the company’s solutions not only eliminate workplace injuries, but actually improve overall productivity. By addressing ergonomic needs, BCG systems are lightweight, easy to install and remove, and streamlined.
Unfortunately, it is often that new customers seek out BCG due to a workplace accident or a noncompliance status post-inspection. In this case, systems are needed as soon as possible. Because BCG designs and manufactures in-house, the team can get parts to a deficient company promptly.
However, BCG is working to educate the company’s target market. “It is important to be proactive and have a compliant guarding system in place before experiencing a workplace injury, fines, citations or a costly shutdown,” Power explains. For this reason, BCG products are CSA, MSHA and OSHA compliant.
Many customers are found in the mining, power generation and steel industries where material is moved on conveyers that require guarding systems. “It is becoming more and more important for these companies to be compliant,” says Power, as industry regulations are on the rise. “Now, BCG is well-positioned to meet this increase in demand and to set the standard for how guarding should be.”
Filling a Need by Reaching Out
BCG stepped into the marketplace 15 years ago. The company, founded by Paul and Karen Vandergeest in the early 1990s, was initially fabricating conveyer belt equipment and doing repairs; this was an advancement of its beginning in welding maintenance. Further evolution took place when management noticed that much of the existing equipment was noncompliant and/or hazardous.
“We saw a need and stepped in to fill that hole,” explains Paul Vandergeest, president of BCG. “It was a niche that was sought out because nobody else was doing it.”
As the years have unfolded, from an engineering standpoint, BCG has been one step ahead. “We were the first in North America to introduce flat guards and basket guards,” says Vandergeest. With a broad reach, BCG often travels to western and eastern Canada, as well as to the southwest U.S.
BCG attends between 10 and 15 trade shows annually, and in doing so reaches companies that need guarding systems. A safety technician goes out to perform a guarding assessment, which includes measuring and photographing equipment, followed by cost projections.
“We prepare an assessment report outlining any deficiencies in the guarding that they have, and make suggestions for compliant solutions,” explains Scott Monkman, operations manager for BCG. “There are also many companies that do not have any guarding in place, and we are happy to help them become a safe work environment through the use of proper guarding systems.”
Innovative System Benefits
“There is always an opportunity to further our offerings and go above and beyond,” affirms Vandergeest. For BCG, being all-in for customers means establishing a long-term relationship that includes on-site product and installation training and thorough safety presentations.
A well-designed system will also extend the life of equipment for customers. When guarding is hard to take off and replace, workers will report that the guarded area is not going to be maintained unless it absolutely has to be. With lightweight, easy-to-remove guarding systems, maintenance is more willingly completed by workers. “This saves on unscheduled downtime due to equipment malfunction and breakdown,” explains Vandergeest.
One of the most impressive offerings of BCG is the wedge clamp: the ultimate guarding fastener. The wedge clamp fastening system allows guards to be installed in less than 15 seconds, and easily removed for maintenance. There are no loose parts and the clamps are either zinc-plated or stainless steel, depending on customer preference. The clamps are used by the numerous guarding systems offered by BCG, which include: modular barrier, flat, v-belt, pump, gland seal, return idler, grinding mill and coupling.
“Not only do workers and the companies they work for benefit, but BCG employees do, as well,” Monkman says. “Our engineers find it rewarding to design unique systems that satisfy our clients. It is an internal victory to identify the need and conquer the design challenge; I find the results of the team impressive and the projects continually interesting.” New opportunities for innovative solutions come up every week, such as suspended guarding, particularly in the underground mining industry.”
“At the end of the day, we want to make sure that everyone makes it home safely,” Vandergeest adds. And that is exactly what Belt Conveyer Guarding does, in addition to improving the daily operations of companies throughout North America.