Belt Conveyor Guarding
Belt Conveyor Guarding has been in business since 1990, when Paul and Karen Vandergeest started out with a portable weld truck, providing repair and maintenance services for aggregate processors in the region.
Up until 2009, fabrication of industrial equipment was the main focus of the business. Later that year, the business owners restructure the company and changed focus to safety systems. In 2015, the business has established a strong niche in safety guarding for industrial equipment, serving customers throughout North America.
Paul and Karen are still heavily involved in the business, running day-to-day operations as president and vice president, respectively. To ensure operations run smoothly, the pair works alongside a strong management team, including Scott Monkman, operations manager, and Jerry Power, marketing coordinator for Belt Conveyor Guarding.
The company’s primary markets are mining, steel, power generation, pulp and paper, as well as manufacturing. The operation has recently expanded with a second division, reGuarding Solutions, which is focused on companies that use equipment not traditionally associated with conveyors. This development has allowed the business to expand into new markets, such as water and wastewater treatment to guard pumps and other rotating equipment.
For the most part, Belt Conveyor Guarding sells directly to customers and through distribution channels. Many clients are repeat business partners, though frequently, businesses will reach out to the team proactively to find safety solutions for their businesses.
“Often, a company will have an inspector come in and notice that equipment is not compliant,” Scott explains. “We can make recommendations and create specialty products to help protect their employees and machinery. We also have a number of distributors throughout North America who have their foot in the door with major corporations, for which it is tough to become a vendor. They have helped us boost our presence throughout the United States and Canada.”
The company is frequently upgrading its product line, either with new protection products or with innovations and adjustment to existing items. The new reGuarding Solutions division will greatly increase the company’s offerings through products and services that serve new markets and functionalities.
“These products focus more on rotating equipment, couplings, pumps, belts and belt drives in industries, such as power generation, wastewater municipal and other applications that don’t have conveyors, but could still use this type of product,” says Scott.
“We are still in the very early stages of growth for this line,” he elaborates. “We launched in January 2014 and our main focus has been getting our name out there through digital advertising and trade shows. We recently attended the Global Petroleum show in Calgary, which was a great opportunity to showcase our new products; it was very good for us. With a lot of the contacts we have, it is usually a year or two after we get the lead and the opportunity is finalized before we get a purchase order. That has more to do with scheduling and budgeting for downtime.”
Belt Conveyor Guarding stands out in the market as the only company solely focused on guarding equipment. “This is our core business,” Jerry explains. “Our only competition is the equipment manufacturers that have a safety division, but the main focus of those organizations is the industrial equipment they build, such as hoppers and conveyors.”
Due to the company’s history in manufacturing, the team has the experience and expertise to fit this equipment while retaining the ability to focus exclusively on safety products.
The business also runs up against in-house fabrication. When some businesses are cited for a problem, instead of hiring a third party like Belt Conveyor Guarding or reGuarding Solutions, organizations will attempt to fix an issue themselves.
“Typically these solutions are not user friendly or are not permanent,” Scott notes. “We get called in after the fact, re-measure and replace that quick fix with a guard the customer will have for a long time.”
The crew is optimistic about growth. With such a strong niche in the market, the team believes the new division will be a step in the right direction. This new venture represents the opportunity to reach out to new markets with a new set of industrial safety products. The business has several new items in development as Belt Conveyor Guarding continues to grow.