Industrial Finishes and Systems got its start in the abrasive wide belt market once they saw that a change was needed in the milling industry.
According to Stuart Barr, founder of IF&S, “Their own systems experts were experiencing how different types of wood possessed different properties, therefore sanding applications were never the same in each region they were working in. Different trees, in different regions, and even different elevations have different physical properties that make up the structure of the tree. This caused a major issue when it came to sanding the wood. At times, sanding pressure could be light, while another time the pressure could be too much, resulting in a waste of the abrasive material.”
Stuart – with the help of his team of sanding experts – was not going to sit idle and see his customers unnecessarily waste money by buying more sanding belts. He was going to solve their waste problem!
At the time, Stuart identified the mills’ “sander men” as an impingement point of the entire milling operation. If they shut down their station to change out a sanding belt, the process completely halted the rest of the production line process. This particular problem was now more than just saving customers from buying more abrasive belts, it was also to keep customers’ operations moving, therefore allowing the customer to increase their overall profits.
With this new insight, Stuart was able to build and implement a system that could be administered “across the board” so-to-speak. He traveled around the Pacific Northwest and the East Coast asking mills to try out this newly developed system. In exchange (if they found that it worked) they would buy abrasive belts exclusively from Industrial Finishes and Systems. Low and behold, many mills found out that they were saving more money with Stuart’s system, which allowed IF&S to gain a major share of the wide belt abrasive market.
To remain true to his “Partners in Profit” mentality, Stuart continued to find the best solutions for his customers, even if that meant sacrificing some of his own profits. Industrial Finishes and Systems had two types of sanding belts: high grade and low grade. The company did not offer a mid-grade variety, nor did they want to sell a product that was not going to be the best option for their customers.
This level of honesty and integrity served Industrial Finishes and Systems well as it entered this market, and it continues to this day. IF&S has since become the World’s primary supplier of wide abrasive belts.