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Walter Exchange

Walter’s history

With its 60 years in business, Walter Surface Technologies has proven itself as a leader in surface treatment technologies. Serving the professional user in industrial markets, the company provides the metal working industry with high-performance solutions such as abrasives, power tools, tooling, chemical tools, and innovative environmental solutions.

Located in the Montreal suburb of Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada, and founded in 1952, Walter is an important provider of abrasives in Canada as well as the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Austria and Switzerland. Walter Surface Technologies is proud to have its research, development and distribution quality system certified under the International Standard ISO 9001: 2008.

There are four key periods in Walter’s history. The 1950s and ‘60s were the founding years, when Walter J. Somers established the company’s direction. With a focus on “Total Performance”, he brought the best high-performance tools to the Canadian market, first as an importer, then as a manufacturer of its own products within a few years.

During the 1970s and ‘80s, Walter Surface Technologies added another dimension to its company philosophy: worker safety for both its own employees and customers. New products were developed with a renewed purpose: not just to help improve work processes, but to improve health and safety in the workplace as well.

The 1990s and 2000s saw an ambitious international expansion that started when Pierre Somers took over the business from his father in 1989. Walter Surface Technologies reached into the South American and European markets, significantly increasing its sales and profitability. This period also saw the launch of the company’s first environmentally-friendly products, long before the phrase ‘sustainability’ entered the public domain.

In 2010, Walter’s corporate values remain unchanged. Walter’s future technical innovations will evolve from the desire to increase efficiency, lower costs and improve processes for workers. During the last ten years the company has made sustainability more than a priority, it’s a core business value, and future research and development will be conducted within this new environmental paradigm.

Business milestones YEAR
Company established in Germany by the Somers family end of 19th century
Walter Somers emigrates to Canada 1939
J. Walter Company is formed in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, as an importer of high-quality European power tools and abrasives
for metalworking applications in such industries as automobile, oil and gas
Start-up of U.S. operations 1989
Start-up of Brazilian operations 1996
ISO 9001 certification of Canadian operations 1999
Start-up of Mexican operations 2000
Launch of Bio-Circle Parts washing system using bio-remediation Launch of WalterShare knowledge management
initiative to build collaborative relationships throughout the company.
Celebration of 50thAnniversary.Start-up ofSwiss operations.Bio-Circle certified by Environment Canada’s
Environmental Choice Program – Eco-Logo
Technology Innovation Award by the Wall Street Journal 2006
Launch of TWN (The Walter Network) web-TV network to enable customers to share their successes on-line through video testimonials and reports 2007
ISO 14 001 certification of Brazilian operations Bio-Circle L approved for the NSF Non-food Compounds
Registration Program & EPA approval process started
Start-up of Austrian operations.Launch of building project for New International Headquarters in Pointe-Claire, Quebec Canada 2009
Official opening of the new International Headquarters built along LEED guidelines. 2010

Walter today

The products central to Walter Surface Technologies since its inception are high productivity mechanical solutions for the metal working industry, such as abrasives, MRO (Maintenance Repair and Overhaul) solutions, power tools, and tooling.

One such important product is the new ZIPCUT wheel (ZIP WHEEL in the US). This next-generation ultra‐thin cutting wheel has the lowest cost per cut in the industry, and performs up to 40% more cuts than standard cutting wheels, and 20% more compared to the original ZIPCUT.

The Enduro-Flex Turbo is another example of design for practical applications. The blending wheel has the fastest removal rate on the market as well as a fine finish, and is suitable for steel, stainless steel or aluminum.

Other top of their league products include Coolcut XX which removes more material in less time and Combo Zip for fast and safe cutting and deburring in just one step. All tthese products comfortably support an eco-efficient business model: doing more with less.

Since the early 1990s Walter has been active in the research and development of green technology; today, environmental initiatives represent a core part of the business: the Bio-Circle Environmental Solutions division which falls under the moniker Making Green Work. The creation of this division set the company on a new course to explore new business practices and processes that reduce global warming and pollution. Affordable green technology is in high demand and represents a high-growth market, but Walter’s ultimate goal is to develop environmentally-friendly tools and systems that help manufacturers protect their workers and use resources more efficiently.

One example of a new green technology is the Bio-Circle solvent-free parts washing system and its integrated CARE Service. By using a process known as bioremediation, parts and tools can be cleaned with micro-organisms that digest contaminants and convert them to water and small amounts of carbon dioxide. This process both reduces the worker’s exposure to toxins and prevents those toxins from being released into the environment.

Another innovation is the Air-Force / AF Weld / AF Clean product line. These product applications use refillable compressed air cans greatly reducing the number of aerosol cans that typically get thrown away. Finally, VOC-free products and water-soluble degreasers also protect users from toxic compounds that were traditionally used. These industrial, yet environmentally-friendly solutions merely represent the beginning of Walter’s green initiatives.