In 1946, Stratford based machine shop Belgium Standard recognized a growing demand within a niche market of the material handling industry. This was the birth of Rolmaster Conveyors, a company that has managed to fill a Gap within the Canadian Manufacturing Industry for over 67 years.
Rolmaster Conveyors has survived economic volatility and an increase in indirect competition by successfully integrating new technologies and operating philosophies into an organizational structure built on a foundation of industry expertise, brand longevity, strong supply chain partnerships, and above all, outstanding, personalized customer service.
According to Shauna Proctor, Director of Marketing and Sales, Rolmaster maintains mutually beneficial working relationships with more than 2,200 supply chain partners and end users and has maintained strong working relationships with 43 per cent of their partners for more than 10 years.
The company currently employs ten office and sales support staff with combined industry experience of 144 years. 26% of Rolmaster Conveyors’ employees maintain between 15 and 27 years of service.
In 1993, shareholders of another local Canadian Manufacturing Company, Cambridge Pro Fab (Est. 1988) invested in Rolmaster as a way of expanding manufacturing product lines. This acquisition was spearheaded by George Figueiredo, owner/operator of Cambridge Pro Fab. At this time Adrian Ferreira, an investor with a background in engineering, was appointed as Rolmaster Conveyors General Manager. Ferreira and Figueiredo now jointly maintain full company ownership, with Ferreira holding the position of President and managing daily operations.
Over the years Ferreira has implemented many initiatives to assist the company in staying relevant within the material handling industry. Some of these include the implementation of new product development technologies, capital equipment investment, product line diversification, corporate acquisition and most recently the creation of a new in-house Marketing Department; all while maintaining and supporting the customer service their clients have become accustomed.
Not just a manufacturer, Rolmaster Conveyors offers innovative material handling solutions.
Although the basic design and function of conveyors has not significantly changed over 6 decades, the technological, pricing and lead time expectations of consumers, OEM’s and product integrators has increased exponentially. To successfully compete within this market, many companies have begun to rely heavily on international outsourcing and relocation of manufacturing facilities, primarily selling through a quickly expanding network of distribution companies. As a result, many manufacturers have been focusing on developing “Standard” product lines in order to meet new pricing and lead time requirements.
This focus on standards development along with technological advancements in automation has further increased a GAP within the Canadian Conveyor Manufacturing sector for companies requiring customized solutions for unique material handling processes.
A GAP that Rolmaster Conveyors fills quite well.
Rolmaster Conveyors manufactures a wide variety of “Standard” product lines within a multitude of conveyor product categories and resells some product lines through long-term trusted suppliers, but ultimately have built their reputation on the back of their ability and willingness to take on large, complicated and custom manufacturing projects.
Over the years, Rolmaster Conveyors has assisted many large organizations and manufacturing integrators with the design and production of large scale, technically challenging projects.
Since 1994 Rolmaster has jointly worked on a multitude of projects with Cambridge based company ATS (Automated Tooling Systems). This includes the development and manufacturing of custom fixture conveyors incorporated within an automated robotic cell that manufactures drill heads and connectors used within the gas industry. The conveyors designed for this project were designed so that the width of the conveyor could be adjusted to accommodate the movement of multiple sized and shaped parts.
In 2011, Rolmaster completed a project for CFB Trenton to design and manufacture conveyors that supported the transfer of cargo on and off aircraft flying in and out of Afghanistan. It was essential to develop a system that could quickly and efficiently transfer cargo while operating in sandy and volatile environmental conditions.
Rolmaster Conveyors is currently working with the Canadian Division of Outotec, an international company that develops sustainable technology solutions and life cycle services in two business areas: Minerals Processing, and Metals, Energy & Water. Rolmaster is currently manufacturing conveyors to support the handling of 2200lb Carbon Anodes.
Rolmaster engineered a system not only capable of handling extremely large weight requirements with unique loading and unloading procedures, but ones that would also operate within extreme temperatures, up to 250 degrees Celsius.
Rolmaster is committed to supporting community and continuing education. They work regularly with local educational institutions. Currently Rolmaster is working in conjunction with The University of Waterloo to develop and expand upon a system designed to teach engineering students basic and advanced manufacturing concepts.
Rolmaster manufactures in accordance with CEMA Standards, are able to offer project management and product development from start to finish. They maintain a service department comprised of highly skilled and knowledgeable staff offering competitive priced installation, preventative maintenance and 24hour emergency service.
As Rolmaster Conveyors manufactures within Canada and primarily services a Canadian clientele, they can meet or surpass most custom or standard product lead time requirements. Most standard rollers are shipped within two days and even the most specialized roller assemblies made in-house are typically delivered faster to customers than any other supplier or distributor.
On being asked about their successful growth as a business enterprise, Proctor says that Rolmaster’s strategic plan will be focused on expanding their business throughout Canada. She notes that while many companies today “focus on huge global and international markets,” it is important for Rolmaster to “stay in their own backyard” and achieve the goal of “being the most recognized and utilized conveyor company in Canada”.
For the past 67 years Rolmaster has managed to not only remain relevant in a competitive environment but also achieve impressive successes in an often turbulent economy. They have achieved this by staying true to their roots and brand, offering outstanding and customized service and by developing strong and lasting supply chain partnerships.
That being said, Rolmaster’s core advantage has always been, and will continue to be, the ability to offer the most appropriate material handling solutions at the best Canadian prices without compromising quality or functionality.