Skip to the content

GB Belting use Compass funding to further business success

Jeremy and Gerry Byrne
Jeremy and Gerry Byrne

“If it’s a belt, we can probably make it”

- Gerry Byrne

 

With over 30 years’ experience in conveyor belting, GB Belting have 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 two new jobs. We chatted with Gerry Byrne, the man who originally started GB Belting, and his son, Jeremy.

After gaining 11 years’ experience working for Goodyear, Gerry Byrne was encouraged by his son to start his own belt manufacturing business. He took this advice and started GB Belting, working initially from his garage. He 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. Gerry 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 their competitors. Thirty-five years later, they are now a leading manufacturer of process and conveyer belts, supplying mainly to the food industry and automotive sector. They 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. Their 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 their 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.

“We find that by employing local people they are more invested in the business with their efforts.”

- Jeremy Byrne

 

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 them to access new opportunities, as conveyer belts are getting wider in most industries.

The other piece of equipment they 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 them 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 available to them now that they have the equipment.

“Tees Valley Business Compass gave us an opportunity to source funding that was primarily aimed at local businesses. It hasn’t just been the financial aspect of it but also the support with other elements that has helped make me focus back in on the business.”

- Jeremy Byrne