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Company Profile
4B Components Limited

4B Components Ltd. • 309-698-5611


Reprinted from GRAIN JOURNAL January/February 2012 Issue

The acronym “4B” (which stands for Better Buckets, Belts, and Bolts) describes only part of the story for 4B Components Ltd., an engineering company dedicated to the bulk material handling industry. 4B is a worldwide manufacturer of a wide variety of high-quality, technologically-advanced material handling components, as well as electronic components.

Beginnings in 1888

The company’s roots date back over 120 years to 1888 when Thomas Fletcher (“T.F.”) Braime founded Braime Pressings in the United Kingdom (UK), now called The Braime Group. The small company began fabricating steel oil cans, which met with success as demand grew from around the world.

By 1909, James Henry (J.H.) Braime had joined his brother in business and the company introduced the first pressed, seamless steel elevator bucket.

In 1971, the company founded a new subsidiary called 4B Braime Elevator Components, Ltd. to serve the material handling needs of the elevator and conveyor markets.

In 1984, 4B expanded its product line into electronic sensors and controls. That same year, the company’s first international subsidiary, called 4B Components Ltd. was established in East Peoria, IL (309-698-5611). To open the subsidiary, a small crew of European engineers moved from the UK to the United States to help start the business. Those engineers included family member Nicholas Braime who now serves as chairman of The Braime Group’s board of directors.

Today, 4B has a total of six international subsidiaries in North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, in addition to its head office in Leeds, UK, and a worldwide network of local and regional distributors. The most recent subsidiary was opened in Australia in 2010.

4B serves a wide range of industries, including grain handling and processing, bulk material handling, quarries and mining, coal, cement and aggregates, brewing and distilling, and the food industry.

Move to Morton

As of January 2012, 4B’s East Peoria operation was relocated five miles away to a 53,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art facility in Morton, IL. This brings the company’s total worldwide manufacturing and distribution capacity to over 400,000 square foot.

“This move will enable us to further improve our operating efficiencies and continue to provide the highest level of customer support that we are known for,” says Johnny Wheat, senior vice president and head of the U.S. office. Originally from the UK, Wheat joined the company in 1991 and moved to the United States that same year.

“The company had been at the East Peoria site for more than 25 years, and we had outgrown the facility a few years ago. To keep up with demand the last few years, we had been operating with a c number of satellite sites. It will be more efficient to bring everything back under one roof, and, if needed, we have room at the Morton site to expand up to another 30,000 square feet in the future.”

The building in Morton was built by another company in 2005 to serve as a distribution warehouse. 4B renovated the facility to serve its needs, which included creating office space.

“The company has 120 employees worldwide, and we have 22 employees in the United States, some who ave been with us for more than 25 years,” says Wheat.

4B’s Worldwide Supply

“As the market has become more global in recent years, we work quite closely with our other subsidiaries to source and supply products,” says Wheat, who has been with 4B since 1991. “Each subsidiary has local engineers, but we do work together on developing products including at our extensive research facility in the UK 4B can provide practical solutions for any application, no matter the location.

According to Wheat, “In a time when many companies continue to reduce inventory levels, 4B maintains one of the largest inventories of material handling products, all stocked strategically around the world. This allows us to provide customers with same-day shipping on most items.”

Two Main Divisions

4B Components Ltd. has two main product divisions: material handling components and electronic sensors and controls. “The two areas each make up approximately 50% of our business, and both are growing,” says Wheat.

“Not only have we seen a real increase in demand for elevator buckets, bolts, belting and clamps, but in recent years, there has been a huge interest in making plants safer and more efficient,” he says. “Although we deal with many industries we are primarily in feed and grain, which makes up approximately 75% of our business.”

Material Handling: “We continue to come up with products that help move materials more efficiently and cost effectively,” says Wheat. “We have the world’s largest range of elevator components and lead the field in elevator bucket design and the manufacture of the highest-quality forged chain and elevator belting. We are always providing solutions to customers’ problems by innovating new, competitively-priced products that advance the industry.

“If you look at the range of products that we provide, they tend to have added features and benefits over our competitors’ products. We try to keep ahead by continually innovating, and we try to protect our designs and innovations with patents.”

Electronics: “Our electronics division specializes in level controls, intelligent sensors and safety control systems that prevent costly downtime and minimize risks in hazardous areas,” continues Wheat. “We started developing controls in the early 1980s, and by 1984 we had a full range of hazard monitors, speed switches, and level indicators.

“Our hazard monitoring equipment can monitor many different aspects of machinery such as belt speed and alignment, bearing temperatures, and plug chutes to provide alarms and/or shutdown of machinery when dangerous conditions are detected.”

Certifications and Associations

“Because we supply electronic products internationally, we have many U.S. as well as international certifications,” says Wheat. “This is quite important for us and sets us apart from other c companies in the United States. We can provide products to all parts of the world.”

The list of certifications held by 4B includes ISO 9001, CSA (U.S. and Canada), ATEX (Europe), IECEx (Australia and elsewhere), and CE (Europe).

The company is a member of many associations, including the National Fire Protection Association, National Grain and Feed Association, GEAPS, and the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) to name a few. A few years ago, Wheat chaired the AFIA’s Equipment Manufacturer Committee, and several employees are longstanding members of the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS).

24-Hour Technical Support

“We believe that our engineering services are as valuable and important as our products themselves,” says Wheat. “We offer free worldwide technical support from a team of experienced engineers who specialize in the design of elevators and conveyors.

“Not only do we have engineers and technical people during regular hours who work with customers over the phone or at the customer’s plant on issues and applications, we also provide a 24-hour technical hotline. When you call the hotline, you speak to an actual person who can either help you or will get help for you.”

“Our hope is that when customers talk about us they say: ‘Call 4B – they are a quality outfit with quality people, and they will get the job done!’”

Website Includes Drawings

4B’s company website at provides detailed information on the company’s products and services. The website also includes comprehensive engineering data including AutoCAD drawings and product videos that can be downloaded for viewing

About 4B Components Ltd.

Morton, IL

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