Rematech president Ivan Beljo, who was inducted into the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association’s Hall of Fame in December, is the classic example of how hard work and an uncompromising commitment to quality can pay off. Beljo was born and raised behind the Iron Curtain in Croatia, part of the former Yugoslavia, crossed the border to Austria on a tourist visa at the age of 18 and found his way to Sudbury in 1968.
Five days after joining Rematech in 1976, Beljo was promoted to shift boss, and four years later he was running the business.
A to Z
“We can look after the rubber needs of a customer from A to Z,” said Rematech vice-president Ivo Beljo, Ivan’s son and partner, who learned the business from the ground up, sweeping floors, cutting rubber and going out of town on jobs as a teenager.
“We do a lot of field services, installing and maintaining conveyor systems. We supply all of the conveyor components, including belts, pulleys, idlers and scrapers. We do splicing. We rubber line chutes, agitation tanks, rotors, impellers, pipes and trunions – anything that needs abrasion resistance.”
The company also designs and manufactures a full range of molded rubber wear products for grinding mills, and supplies lifter bars, finger plates and double track liners for skips.
Another core competency lies in the design and manufacture of Alumaflex rubber ceramic liners. Made of aluminum oxide ceramic rods embedded in rubber sheets, rubber ceramic liners are ideal for applications requiring both abrasion and impact resistance.
Rubber lining jobs are done either in the field or at Rematech’s Sudbury location, depending on the size of the product being lined. Work for mining operations overseas is carried out in Sudbury and shipped to the customer.
Rematech does a lot of business in Sudbury and across Northern Ontario, but has also done work across Canada – from Newfoundland to British Colombia. Most of its contracts outside the Sudbury Basin come from engineering firms and mine contractors familiar with the quality of its work.
“We did all of the belt installation for Xstrata’s Nickel Rim South Mine in Sudbury, finishing ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Ivo. “Some of the people we worked with on that project wanted us to do a job requiring 26,000 feet of belt installation in British Colombia.
“We’ve done a lot of work with Cementation Canada. They’re a great company to work with and I guess they thought the same of us.”
Rematech’s success is based on long-term customer relationships and word-of-mouth, said Ivo.
“Everything is based on quality. If a job doesn’t pass our QA inspection, it doesn’t go out the door. It’s never worth taking a shortcut or sending something out that you wouldn’t be proud to put your name on.”
The company has also diversified into high pressure cleaning and vacuuming in order to offer its customers a complete suite of services on relining jobs.
“It eliminates waiting time and allows us to co-ordinate everything,” said Ivo. “By diversifying, we don’t have to rely on others.”
Customers experiencing problems with their mission critical material handling systems can call Rematech’s 24/7 hotline for emergency repair service.
If a belt breaks, there are eight people on standby at all times who can go on site, splice it and put everything back together before it impacts on the customer’s business.
Ivo, a Commerce graduate from Laurentian University, sees potential to grow the company’s business beyond Canada.
“It’s a global business now,” he said. “The entire mining industry is like one big city. There’s no job, no project off limits. Everything’s open. With our facility here, we can be competitive globally. We have an excellent workforce that can handle anything from the smallest to the biggest job anywhere in the world.”