Weldco-Beales celebrates 75 years of building Canada

From its beginnings on 2nd Avenue in Vancouver, Weldco-Beales has grown to supply attachments to customers around the world

In 1945, Gordon Reelie opened a welding shop in post-war Vancouver at a prime downtown location on 2nd Avenue.

Combining the words ‘welding’ and ‘company,’ Reelie named his humble welding shop Weldco. Today, the company has grown to become Weldco-Beales Manufacturing — a company that designs and manufactures specialized heavy equipment attachments for OEMs and their dealers. 

From its beginnings in Vancouver, Weldco-Beales now supplies attachments to customers across North and South America, Europe and Asia. 

This year, the company is celebrating 75 years since Reelie opened his welding shop in downtown Vancouver. 

“In Western Canada, you would be hard pressed not to find at least one of our attachments working on a major infrastructure project,” said Darren Lunt, president of Weldco Companies. “Since we’ve been around for 75 years, it’s exciting to think of all the major accomplishments that our products have been a part of, from the Alaska pipeline to the Trans-Canada Highway, and more recently the Site C Dam in British Columbia.

The creation of Weldco-Beales 

Weldco made its first expansion to Edmonton in the early 1970s. The following decade, Weldco would merge with Beales Steel Products creating Weldco-Beales, and Edmonton became the company’s head office.

The Vancouver operation eventually moved to Langley, B.C. in 1991. Weldco-Beales would open its third manufacturing facility in Barrie, Ontario in 2006. “Canada-wide, the Weldco Group of Companies currently employs just over 300 people, ranging from a variety of trades professionals, engineers, illustrators, technicians, account managers and administrative staff,” Lunt said. 

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Although the company’s roots were set in British Columbia’s forestry sector, Weldco-Beales branched out into specialized attachments for construction, mining, scrap recycling and road maintenance.

“Weldco’s success with forestry created a natural demand from equipment dealers looking for similar high quality and well-designed attachment solutions specific to other industries and geographic regions,” Lunt said. 

Weldco-Beales Manufacturing’s wedge style excavator coupler system has become one of its flagship products. 

“The wedge style excavator coupler system, or quick couplers, allows operators to quickly change between attachments in the same machine class,” Lunt said. “The wedge coupler and wedge lugged attachments quickly became the industry standard for dealers and their end users, especially in Western Canada.”

Alongside attachments, Weldco-Beales is the only Canadian manufacturer of truck-mounted cranes, competing with some of the largest crane manufacturers in the world.

Engineering and design

A high level of engineering and design goes into Weldco-Beales’ product mix. Tolerances have become significantly tighter, as the equipment their attachments work with has evolved over the years. 

Investments in smart technology, manufacturing processes, raw material sourcing, engineering and new product development has allowed Weldco-Beales to stay competitive in a demanding industry.

The company notes it has been fortunate to work with “amazing suppliers and service providers,” as they play an integral role in the daily operations of all the company’s branches. 

Alongside the long-term benefits of investing in partnerships with key suppliers, Weldco-Beales attributes much of its continued success to maintaining the relationships.

“Approximately 50 per cent of our input is plate steel, so we collaborate very closely with our key steel suppliers and consider them close partners in our business,” he said. “They need to understand our demand requirements and work with us when price and availability become challenges. Fairness and trust are two elements that we hold all our suppliers to.”

ISO certification

In 2018, Weldco-Beales achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification for its Edmonton facility.

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization, which is a team of experts that develop various standards to ensure the safety, reliability and quality of products and services. 

ISO 9001:2015 is the most recent standard that refers to quality management. The certification signifies that Weldco-Beales’s quality management system meets the specified requirements with effective processes in order to continuously meet and enhance customer satisfaction.

Going forward, Weldco-Beales plans to certify its other branches, while maintaining certification at the Edmonton branch.

In the community

Alongside strengthening its manufacturing process, Weldco-Beales also looks to strengthen the communities in which its attachments are at work.

The company supports numerous organizations, including the United Way, NAIT, the Canadian Centre for Welding & Joining, YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Cystic Fibrosis Canada, CURE Foundation, Prostate Cancer Canada, Children’s Aid Society, local food banks, and The Terry Fox Foundation.

Weldco is also a member of the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC). The organization represents the Inuvialuit of the North West Arctic and is a 100 per cent Inuvialuit-owned for-profit holding company. 

IDC has cultivated a diversified, growth-oriented portfolio as the business arm of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). Weldco is committed to giving the Inuvialuit beneficiaries access to employment opportunities.

“IRC and their business development subsidiary IDC have allowed Weldco to focus on growing the business responsibly, while making a meaningful effort to give back to the people of the north, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of Weldco’s success,” Lunt said. “Being aboriginally owned makes Weldco unique in the industry with a mandate to provide opportunities of the betterment of the Inuvialuit.”

Looking ahead

Weldco-Beales recently partnered with Maher & Co. Metals as an additional provider of premium steel product and steel processing services. As well, the company’s repair and refurbishment facility in northern Alberta expanded its efforts to include welding field services with the addition of several service vehicles to the fleet.  

“Looking ahead, we continue to look for new business opportunities, particularly in the U.S. market,” Lunt said.

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