When you think about the air filters, glues and epoxies, and threads in your life – you probably don’t think about those things being environmentally friendly or that their ingredients might include forest products. That’s because you haven’t learned about MiniFIBERS, Inc. yet.
“The company was started in 1967. And was started based on the need to create a precision cut fiber for synthetic fibers. GB Keith was able to develop a cutting machine that could give a precision cut fiber to synthetics, like polyester, or polypropylene that were needed in the industry at the time that no one else could get. And so from that, it’s grown to now or 50 plus years,” says Sales and Marketing Director Jeremy Steach.
In 1967, a machine was assembled and some fiber was cut. The quality was admittedly poor, but a sample was sent to the prominent textile vice president. He was interested: “This is close.” He ordered several lots of two different fibers. A product was born and marketing began. Machine development and sampling continued in a leased 3,000 square foot shop, which was outgrown in three months. A move was then made to a 7,000 square foot shop. In 1968, continued interest in MiniFIBERS’ precision cut fibers forced naming, incorporating, and filing for patents.
And then an amazing thing happened: one large corporation, after trying a 15,000-pound trial shipment, sent a purchase order for half a million pounds in 1970. Suddenly, it was time to move again. This time, a 130,000 square foot warehouse in Weber City, Virginia, was leased. The project was beginning to take off.
The precision cutting machine had one moving part, it cut fiber accurately with smooth, square ends, and later, after additional development, a test model was to produce 309 pounds per minute. U.S. patent 3,768,355 was issued on the original machine. Other patents followed.
“The FSC mix certification helps MiniFIBERS build a better story than we had in the past. We as a company see where our synthetic fiber business is and where it is going but also recognize where the consumer and the industry is going with a higher focus on natural, sustainable fibers. And so wanting to make sure that we are not falling behind as a company on the sustainable trend so this is one step that we have taken to show that we are moving in that direction.”
MiniFIBERS’ policy has always been to supply products that meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of its customers. They are dedicated to consistently providing the highest quality precision cut fibers, specialty yarns, and synthetic pulps available. MiniFIBERS is fully committed to the concept of continuous improvement in all of its efforts, both internally and externally.
“The FSC® certification is a small part of all that we do. We work with a lot with universities and we’re looking to help more with local conservation groups as well. It’s been a good journey, we’ve had a really good team work through it and working with American Green made it very easy. The team that we have in place has done a really good job of training everybody and the training materials were really easy to work with for us.”
It is this commitment to quality that earned MiniFIBERS its initial ISO 9001:2000 Certification in 2002. They have maintained this certification over the years, and are currently certified to the ISO 9001:2015 standard. MiniFIBERS takes this certification seriously, applying its concepts and procedures on a daily basis to bring the same level of excellence to every product MiniFIBERS manufactures and every service they provide.
“We really strive to be there to help in any aspect of commercialization and work through any of the issues. And so that’s one thing that we were very strong with and we always say we’re willing to try something once and If, as long as it’s safe for our employees, we’re willing to try different things and we’re flexible with that and fast. We’re working across the board from the small companies to the large ones and helping out where we can. We don’t say ‘no’ very often.
We do exactly what we promise the customer we will do. We believe there will always be a place in business for those who do that. Obviously, we plan to continue on this same basis, and we plan to be around supplying quality fibers to various industries for a long, long time.”