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  • by David Kranker 4 min read

    Our Abrasive Manufacturing Process: An Inside Look - Red Label Abrasives

    From the sanding belts that sculpt metal to the sanding sheets that smooth wooden surfaces, abrasives are the unsung heroes of countless industries. You may not have thought much about it up until this point, but the journey from raw materials to finished abrasive products is a fascinating and intricate process.

    In this post, we’ll peel back the curtains on our manufacturing process here at Red Label Abrasives to unravel the layers of innovation and tradition shaping the production of these indispensable materials.

    Our Six-Step Production Process

    There are two major parts to abrasive production. The first part entails producing large sanding rolls. These rolls are stored in our warehouse and are then transformed into abrasive products once an order has been placed. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll be focusing on the steps of the process that come after an order is placed. You can read more about the first half of the process in our blog post on how sandpaper is made

    The steps to transform rolls into finished products vary depending on the type of product. In total, there are between four and six steps in the production process depending on the abrasive product. We’ve outlined all six possible steps in the process below. 

    Step 1: Gathering The Materials

    The first step in the production process is pulling the required materials for an order from our shelves. Our factory is stocked with thousands of square feet of various cloth and paper rolls. Everything is meticulously organized so that we can easily locate the rolls we need to begin production. 

    Step 2: Cutting The Materials To Size

    Once we’ve gathered the correct materials, we need to cut the roll to the right size and shape.  Different machinery will be used depending on the type of abrasive. For sanding belts, we’ll create a ‘master web’ for narrow belts and single sheets for wide belts. For sanding discs, we use a sanding disc die cutting machine to cut the discs out from the rolls. From this stage, sanding belts will proceed to step three and all other abrasive products will skip to step five. 

    Step 3: Joining Sanding Belt Strip Ends

    Sanding belts require a few more steps than other abrasive products. For sanding belt orders, we'll join the ends of the strips we cut to form a belt. Red Label has our own proprietary adhesive that we use to create an ultra-strength bond that won't break. Our adhesive is our “secret sauce” for creating high-performance belts that won’t snap or break throughout the entire lifespan of the belt. 

    Step 4: Curing The Sanding Belt Joint

    The joint of the sanding belt will need time to cure after the adhesive is applied. Curing is a chemical process that allows the adhesive to crystalize and produce a stronger bond. We make sure all of our belts are given enough time to properly cure in our ‘belt sauna’, which is a high-humidity and high-temperature room.

    Step 5: Order Quality Check

    Our team will then perform a thorough quality inspection to make sure your order meets our standards. We check each and every product for imperfections or quality issues using our multi-point inspection checklist. For sanding belts, we’ll give added attention to the joints to make sure the adhesive is properly bonded. If needed, we will also ‘reslit’ any narrow belts by using a circular knife set to take the master webs down to single belts. 

    Step 6: Order Packing & Shipment

    After an order has passed inspection, we’ll package and label the products with care. We have a custom-designed packaging system that we created specifically for wide belts. Any wide belts will be packaged using this system to ensure damage-free delivery. The order will then be shipped out directly to our customer’s doors through our shipping partners. 

    Are All Products Made-To-Order? 

    To maintain faster shipping times we don’t make every product to order. We’ll produce many of our most popular products ahead of time so that they’re ready to ship as orders come in. Some products that aren’t ordered as frequently are made-to-order and aren’t produced until an order comes in. Products we keep in stock ship within one business day. Products that are made-to-order ship within two to four business days. 

    Experience The Difference Working With A Family-Owned Manufacturer Can Make

    Red Label Abrasives is a family-owned abrasive manufacturing company based out of Belding, Michigan. As such, our team pours the utmost care and attention into our abrasive products. We’re so confident you’ll feel the difference our products make that we offer a 90-day 100% money-back guarantee on all orders. 

    You can browse our wide selection of sanding belts, sanding discs, sanding rolls, and sanding sheets to find the products you need to complete your sanding tasks. We also staff full-time abrasive technicians who can provide support and answer any questions you might have. You can speak to an abrasive technician by calling 844-824-1956 or filling out an online contact form.