By Eric Peterson | May 31, 2015
Founded: 1975 (acquired by San Francisco-based Cleasby in 2002)
The company also has facilities that make roofing equipment in San Francisco and Westminster, Colorado, that "operate independently but work together to supply a full line of roofing equipment" with Clearfield, says DeGraw. "We see it as a good partnership."
Made exclusively at the company's 128,000-square-foot facility in Utah, Cleasby's vehicle-mounted conveyors deliver shingles up to roofers for a more efficient operation. As DeGraw says, "The quickest, most efficient way to the roof is a conveyor."
While roofing is the primary market, about 10 percent of the sales go to other industries, largely mining and mineral extraction.
Since 1997, all of the company's conveyors have been made of non-conductive fiberglass. The industry-first material replaced metal in roofing conveyors, and is safer, more durable, and cheaper to repair.
"We're able to put out about 60 conveyors out of our facility in a month," says DeGraw. "Currently, we're putting out about 40 conveyors. We're pretty busy."
The conveyor systems usually cost $40,000 or more, not including installation on vehicles in Colorado and San Francisco. Cleasby also makes the requisite turntables and stabilizers for its systems, as well as optional add-ons in Powerlifts and Powerbeds that act as elevators for pallets of shingles. "The operator has less handling to get the shingles," says DeGraw.
The company's market -- largely North America -- was notably soft in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis, he adds, but started coming back in 2011. "We really rebounded," says DeGraw. After the company hit a sales plateau in 2013-14, "We've seen a huge increase this year. We're up 51 percent."
He says Cleasby Conveyors' shop has been able to handle production through all of the economic booms and busts with eight employees. "We've weathered good times and bad with the same people."
Innovation has underpinned the company's growth, he adds. "We're continually doing R&D for new products for the roofing market."
The most recent new product is the Hurricane Tear-off Machine, a hydraulic-powered alternative to manually de-shingling a roof. "It makes it a lot easier," says DeGraw.
"We're currently working on a new conveyor design," says DeGraw. "It'll be so [roofers] can reach higher buildings."
"One of the things were really proud of is our employees," says DeGraw, touting an average tenure of 20 years. "That's the key to our success."
Challenges: "Trying to hire new people is always a challenge for us," Degraw says, noting that he is always on the lookout for experienced welders and machinists. "Just to find qualified people is really hard."
Opportunities: To ride the current boom in the construction market. "We really try to stay with our roofing focus," says DeGraw. "We're the leader and we want it to stay that way."
Needs: "We are always integrating new equipment," says DeGraw. "We just purchased a new CNC lathe." Next up a new plasma cutter "sometime this year."