In 2017, Robar will be entering our 59th year as a manufacture of pipe products for the Canadian Waterworks & Industrial Piping Industry. In 1958, the company’s founder, Vern Barr, had a vision of producing a full line of pipe products. These included pipe Couplings, Service Saddles and the first patented ‘all stainless steel Repair Clamps’.
The beginning of Robar was humble, starting in Vern’s Vancouver garage. Soon Vern expanded to a small shop in Vancouver. There, he also invented and patented the ‘all stainless steel Repair Clamp’ and began to develop cast and fabricated Service Saddles. Vern’s long term vision for Robar included the capacity to make Ductile Iron castings.
Vern understood that the increasing use of Ductile Iron castings for products such as couplings and service saddles precluded an ‘in-house’ source, in order for Robar to meet its customer’s demands. He found that local foundries were not capable of meeting his required delivery dates. As a result, Vern made a decision for Robar to establish its own casting capability. This was a decision that would benefit Robar for three reasons, first it allowed Robar to produce its own castings and as such have much more control over delivery to the Waterworks division. The second benefit was that it enabled the company to control the quality of these castings. Finally, and just as important, it created diversity within Robar as so that the company was not so dependent on the Waterworks industry for its sole way to create revenue. The creation of the Foundry Division allowed Robar to pursue the ‘Custom Casting’ market, which to this day, plays a vital role in our daily operations and sales.
Robar began to grow and we added more production capabilities at the Surrey location so that for the first time, we made our own fasteners, our own rubber gaskets and we developed the ability to apply our own Epoxy Coating. At the same time we acquired the presses and die sets to make all the stainless steel components of our products. Manufacturing became nearly self-sufficient and our efforts turned to automating the manufacturing processes.
The Foundry improved as well, becoming the most automated in BC and we developed the capacity to pour castings in both Steel and Brass alloys. At the same time, ROBAR has developed other cast product lines, like ROLOG logging fittings. ROLOG fittings include a variety of wire rope fittings used in conventional and helicopter logging.
It was at this point in 1989, that Sheila Barr retired and sold the Company to its current owner Michele Charleston, who was a long term member of Robar’s management team. Under Michelle, Robar not only continued its growth but, she took Robar to greater heights than at any other time in the company’s history. This included a new manufacturing plant in Boucherville, Quebec that allowed Robar to better serve their customers based in eastern North America.
To facilitate marketing changes and to continue to serve our customers, Robar built warehouses at both its BC and Quebec locations. Robar has sales representatives in each area of Canada and we continue to create strategic partnerships with other manufacturers to strengthen our product line and market share. Our Waterworks products are certified under ANSI NSF-61 and we are an ISO 9001/2008 company.
In 2012 Robar began to fabricate large diameter steel couplings. This enables us to offer, through our manufacturing capabilities and our partners, large fabricated steel Couplings, Expansion Joints and Flange Coupling Adapters. With the addition of this line to ROBAR, we were able to offer special application couplings up to 216" (5.5m) in diameter and segmented products up to 408" (10.5m) in diameter along with large diameter expansion joints for Penstocks.
This eventually resulted in a need to expand our manufacturing facilities and in 2015 we moved from our Boucherville location to St. Bruno (south of Montreal, Quebec)
Robar continues to grow and expand. In 2016 we introduced a new line of 2-bolt couplings. We are continually improving our products as well as the facilities and processes we use to manufacture them. Over the last fifty years, Robar’s Foundry has expanded to become a supplier of high quality castings for many other manufacturing sectors such as logging, mining and the oil patch of Northern Alberta. We look forward to our future.