GB Belting uses Compass funding to further business success
With over 30 years’ experience in conveyor belting, GB Belting has grown into a respected national and international supplier of fabricated PVC and PU conveyor belts. We visited their factory in Thornaby-on-Tees to hear all about the company and how a grant from Tees Valley Business Compass has enabled them to purchase new equipment and create new jobs. We chatted with Gerry Byrne, who originally started GB Belting, and his son, Jeremy.
After gaining 11 years’ experience working for Goodyear, Gerry was encouraged by his son to venture into running his own belt manufacturing business. He took this advice and started GB Belting, initially from his own garage and later moving to its own factory. Gerry had worked mainly with rubber belting in his previous employment but made a conscious effort to learn all he could about lightweight belting, believing it was the future of conveyor belting. He was proved right as the company went from strength to strength, and this desire to learn and become experts in the field is what now sets GB Belting apart from its competitors. Thirty-five years later, it is now a leading manufacturer of process and conveyor belts, supplying mainly to the food industry and automotive sector. GB Belting also supply the leisure industry using state-of-the-art production methods to manufacture thousands of replacement treadmill belts and decks to suit every make and model.
Gerry ‘retired’ from the business 18 years ago but still comes into the office every day, and is a welcoming and knowledgeable figure at the factory in Thornaby-on-Tees. Operations at GB Belting are now run by Gerry’s son Jeremy, alongside a team of 11 employees. The company’s 7 factory staff and 4 office staff are all local, and, as an employee, GB Belting are proud to be a provider of opportunities to those in Thornaby and the surrounding area. From the factory they export to over 70 different countries, with their knowledge, expertise and facilities enabling them to offer unique services to a variety of industries across the globe.
GB Belting accessed a grant from Tees Valley Business Compass and used it to purchase three machines which then created two new roles within the company. Two of the three machines are variations on a theme, called a splice-press. One machine is 2.1m long and the other is 1.2m long. This added to their armoury of presses, but the addition of the 2.1m press in particular allowed access to new opportunities, as conveyor belts are getting wider in most industries.
The other piece of equipment GB Belting purchased using the grant increases the speed with which they can splice belts. This machine has an automated process that allows them to be more competitive and respond quicker to their customers’ requirements. It was initially purchased to help with the manufacturer of treadmill belts, but Jeremy has also realised that this machine is useful for making supermarket belts, a market they are hoping will become accessible to them now that they have the necessary equipment.