Many achievements to be celebrated in 100 years of Flexco

Flexco (Flexible Steel Lacing Company) is celebrating 100 years of “connecting the world” and kicked-off its Centennial year on March 27, the anniversary of its formation. The US manufacturer of mechanical belt fasteners, belt conveyor components, maintenance tools and engineered transfer systems has grown from a small Chicago workshop to emerge as a world leader in providing effective solutions for improving belt conveyor productivity. Today, from its headquarters in Downers Grove, Illinois, near Chicago, the company serves mining customers on six continents through a global network of subsidiary offices, sales representatives and distributors.

“The occasion is a tremendous source of pride for the company, as well as each of our 450 employees based in 14 countries throughout the world. It’s a fitting time to remember and appreciate the people and innovations that have helped make us leaders in our industry,” said Richard White, Flexco’s President. “Our vision is to become the leader in maximizing belt conveyor productivity for our customers worldwide through superior service and innovation. Company values include: great people, integrity, collaboration, innovation, achievement and commitment to our customers. Our success is measured by our customers, the only reason we are in business. We will ultimately know how well we are achieving our vision based on the value our customers derive from our partnership.”
Flexco’s vision and underlying values are built on many of the same operating principles put in place by company founders George E. Purple, Albert B. Beach and Phillip S. Rinaldo when they opened their workshop 100 years ago in Chicago. On the merits of a promising, patented fastener design, the founders began with the mission to manufacture a metal-hinged joint lacing that would replace rawhide lace, which at the time was the most common method of joining transmission belts.

Throughout its 100 years in business, Flexco has experienced a remarkable record of consistent sales growth. This growth has continued through the Great Depression, numerous recessions and two World Wars.

The company moved to its present headquarters in Downers Grove in 1971. At that time, Flexco also expanded its North American sales force to reach the entire US and Canada. Flexco’s first international subsidiary was established in Manchester, England in 1984. Today the company has overseas subsidiaries in the UK, Mexico, Germany, South Africa and Australia with sales offices in China, India, Southeast Asia and South America. Currently international sales account for just under 50% of Flexco’s total revenue.

During the 1990s the company continued to expand its operations and product line, reaffirming its mission to maximize belt conveyor productivity. In 1996, Flexco acquired Clipper Belt Lacer of Grand Rapids, Michigan and, in the process, considerably expanded both its manufacturing capabilities and range of products. New products such as belt scrapers, belt positioners and trainers, pulley lagging and conveyor skirt clamps became part of Flexco’s standard product offering. Portable installation and maintenance tools, including belt cutters, skivers, clamps, lacers, rivet drivers and lifters; have also been added to reduce conveyor downtime, while accelerating and simplifying belt repairs.

Most recently, Flexco has added Controlled Flow Material Transfer Systems through its Parramatta Group in Plainfield, Illinois and Tasman Warajay in Queensland, Australia. In 2003, Flexco acquired Tasman Warajay, an engineering and construction company, specializing in the design, fabrication and installation of large, engineered transfer chutes for bulk handling conveyors. The company’s proprietary Controlled FlowT technology provides the world’s only transfer chute that truly controls the velocity of the material flow while reducing dust generation.

Today, Flexco markets a broad line of products under familiar brand names, including Alligator¬, Clipper¬, Tatch-A-Cleat¬, Rockline¬, Mineline¬ and Eliminator¬. With its expanded range of products, Flexco has adopted a systems approach and serves customers worldwide as a provider of belt conveyor productivity solutions. “Our sales representatives function as consultants. Their knowledge of conveyor belt operation goes well beyond splices,” White said.

While over the years Flexco’s product lines have expanded along with a growing number of distributors and manufacturing facilities, the company continues to base its leadership status and continuing success on the premise with which it started 100 years ago — a forward thinking approach devoted to assisting customers to work more safely and productively with conveyors.