NDTO Member Profile: WCCO Belting, Inc.
Posted on September 2, 2020
Belts are everywhere! As explained by Karley Serati, Marketing Manager at WCCO Belting. With so many applications, when you start looking around you will see them in machines, agricultural processes, industrial plants, distribution centers, manufacturing, and even at the checkout lines at your grocery store.
The roots of WCCO Belting, Inc. date back to the 1950s. Based in Wahpeton, ND, this family-owned business is continuing to make strides into the future. With so much activity from the announcement of several new patent-pending products, the company continues to move forward despite the recent global pandemic. “Farmers will plant, farmers will harvest, and they need belts to do it. We’ve continued operating with safety measures in place,” says Serati.
Wahpeton Canvas Company (WCCO) started in 1954 when Ed Shorma bought a shoe repair shop. The business grew and morphed into its niche for crafting high-quality, custom rubber product solutions. The company demonstrates the value of superior belting with its customers. When belts are built with a specific job in mind, the whole operation is more efficient. Serati explains, “Our belt for sawmill applications, for example, has seen a 70% increase in lifespan. With improved performance, there is less time spent repairing or replacing and more time driving the bottom line.”
WCCO belts are well-known in the agricultural industry, and they are reaching more and more into the industrial markets. “Innovation is key at WCCO Belting. We love to work with companies who are learning right along with us, so we can all get better at our craft together,” highlights Serati. Take their patent-pending Direct X belting solution for instance, as it was just announced with a splash at CONEXPO this spring. The Direct X, used in mobile recycling applications, is specifically designed to capture more material and increases capacity over 25% compared to the industry standard.
The company had many plans to ramp up its production with the new product lines. Much of this has still happened despite the global pandemic. “We have been very fortunate to be able to continue,” Serati said. With minimal supply chain interruptions, much of their business operated with food production, infrastructure, and other conveyor-belt-type products still in need.
WCCO has a history of working alongside Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to build their products to directly suit the OEM’s requirements. Serati says, “There is a benefit to building our products alongside the manufacturers. Coming up with agricultural OEMs, we had to be ahead of the curve and engineering new designs that could stand up to modern technology.” She goes on to say, “The belt is the heart of the conveyor system, it will improve the quality and quantity of output as well as operational efficiency.” Their customized approach has changed the way some companies feel about their belts. Oftentimes, belts are treated as if they’re just a basic component part, but WCCO is changing that perspective. Their team is dedicated to designing solutions to turn belts into successful tools right along with the equipment utilizing them.
The skilled and devoted employees at WCCO also make this company a success, with teams that constantly work on improvements to both the products and their approach to work. “When new employees join WCCO Belting, they have little to no knowledge of what we do,” explains Serati. That’s WCCO developed a robust training program with over 90 courses on job skills, as well as created a committee dedicated to improving the work environment. This cross-functional committee meets weekly to discuss employee ideas, and since its launch, WCCO has implemented over 1,600 employee suggestions which has improved processes and culture.
In 2016, WCCO won their second Presidential "E" Star Award for Export Success. The award recognizes excellence in exporting on a national level. Since this award, WCCO has been able to expand further throughout the world, adding an office in Spain and continuing to export to more than 20 countries. The company was also recently named as a recipient of the 2020 Manufacturing Leadership Award for Operational Excellence from the National Association of Manufacturers. WCCO is also regularly named as one of the areas 50 Best Places to Work by Prairie Business Magazine.
Looking toward the future, with a strong foundation, WCCO Belting is full steam ahead as they continue to produce products for both agriculture and industrial applications. For more information on WCCO Belting, visit their website https://www.wccobelt.com/