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What is the Difference Between “Fibre” and “Fiber”?

Non-metallic WashersAt New Process Fibre, one of the questions we hear most often has nothing to do with the products we manufacture or the processes we use to do so. Rather, it has to do with a word — what is the difference between “fibre” and “fiber,” such as in “fibre washers” and “fiber washers“?

The answer, in short, is that there is none.

“Fiber” and “fibre” are alternate spellings of the same word, referring to a thread of filament from which a textile is formed. The word is derived from the Latin word fibra, via the French word fibre, both of the same meaning.

A Brief Background

Both “fiber” and “fibre” have been used in the English language since the late 1300s, though at that time they were primarily used to describe entrails (literally “thread-like structures in animal bodies”). Over time, the definition changed and, by the early 1800s, “fibre” and “fiber” were commonly used to mean “textile material.” The first known recorded instance of this usage was in 1827. During this time period, “fiber” was more commonly used than “fibre.”

Around the same time, a movement began among educators and linguists, particularly those in England. They argued that an English word adopted from another language should remain in the form it appears in its original language. By their logic, “fibre” was more accurate than “fiber.” (At the time, there was no true standardization of modern English.)

As the traditional French-based “–re” spelling gained popularity in England and its colonies, the more phonetically representative “fiber” remained in use in the United States. It was still not universally accepted here, however, and “fibre” remained the more popular spelling well into the first quarter of the 20th century, at which point “fiber” started to become more popular. Finally, in the 1900s, “fiber” became the official standardized American English spelling. Today, Great Britain and other former colonies still use the “–re” spelling.

Our Place in History

new-process-fibre-logoF. Carl Porter founded New Process Fibre in 1927, a time when the “fibre” spelling was still in use — though with declining frequency — in America. New Process Fibre originally worked with cotton paper, converting it into vulcanized fibre.

Times change. Preferences for word spellings shift, and companies evolve; though “fibre” is in our name, we now work with a wide variety of materials. Two things have remained the same in the 90 years since our founding, however: our name and the industry-leading level of service and quality it has come to represent.

Regardless of how you spell it, if you’re looking for “fibre washers” or “fiber washers,” we have the products and services to meet any of your material needs.

Customer Highlight: How NPF Improved Yield

Since 1927, New Process Fibre has been committed to producing high performance, cost-effective products. By performing every step of our manufacturing process in-house rather than outsourcing, we maintain oversight of the entire project to eliminate discrepancies, ensure timely delivery, and provide customers with high quality finished products.

One of our customers, recently utilized our in-house non-metallic stamping services to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process.

Customer Highlight

Woman jogging down an outdoor trail at sunsetBased in MI, our customer manufactures medical foot orthotics for global distribution by healthcare professionals; the inserts are vital for people with medical problems related to the foot, ankle, knee, and back. One of our customer’s most popular products is specifically designed for athletes who need balance support when participating in physical activities.

To expedite and improve production of these athletic inserts, our customer needed a manufacturer who had experience working with sheets of acetal copolymer, the key material in their product. The New Process Fibre team was ready to assist.

Improving the Process

The athletic inserts required 24” sheets of acetal copolymer, but our extruders were designed to produce 38” sheets. To achieve the necessary size, we started the job by trimming the material twice: first from 38” to 36” sheets, and again from 36” to 24” pieces.

White orthopedic insole gel isolated on black backgroundWhite orthopedic insole gel isolated on black backgroundAfter producing a set of 24” acetal copolymer sheets using this method, our team discovered a more efficient technique beneficial to both companies; by updating the product design to use larger sheet dimensions, we could extrude the original 38” sheets and make just one cut to reduce them down to 36”. Because only one cut was required, this solution improved efficiency, yield, and cost-effectiveness for both companies. Even better, our customer now saves money on production costs and passes those savings directly to their customer through lower product pricing.

By constantly seeking opportunities to improve manufacturing processes for our customers, we were able to identify a cost-effective solution for our customer, while also avoiding excess material waste.

New Process Fibre: Ready to Help with Your Next Project

We are continuously updating and enhancing our in-house manufacturing capabilities to make it possible to save our customers time and money. Just as we did with this particular customer, we aim to help all of our customers become more efficient, increase yield, and eliminate unnecessary costs.

npf-brochureWith an extensive inventory of equipment for use on virtually any job, our facility is  well equipped to meet any company standard. Our quality management system is extensively documented with ISO registration.

To learn more about NPF, our capabilities, and our drive to go above and beyond on every project to better serve our customers, download our Company Overview.

New Process Fibre Launches Brand New Website

At New Process Fibre, we are constantly evaluating all of our procedures, processes, and business practices in an effort to offer the best services to our customers. Since our founding back in 1927, we have been driven toward constant improvement, instilling this motivation throughout all our policies and practices.


Our aspiration for excellence is now reflected in our brand new website. The relaunched New Process Fibre site has been redesigned from the top down and from the inside out to provide our customers with the high quality and level of satisfaction they have come to expect from us.

New Developments at New Process Fibre

The new website is fully responsive. This means that every page you visit on our site can be automatically resized to fit the screen of any computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or mobile device. You can now browse all our non-metallic stamped solutions such as custom discs, end laminations, spacers, gaskets, tags, and washers.

Our website also highlights all our capabilities, including in-house extrusion, tooling, and non-metallic stamping. Customers across a range of industries can now easily browse our solutions to see how we can match the unique requirements of all projects, regardless of complexity.

A Range of Benefits

The new site also makes it easier than ever before to visit our resource library. This is a collection of a variety of references and resources that you can quickly download and even print out and have on hand as a handy guide. You can now take full advantage of our eBooks, ISO certifications, and more resources that reflect our expertise of over 85 years across industries.

Our site also features the attention and dedication to ensuring the highest quality standards across all our procedures. This is reflected in each of our products. Visit our site today to see how New Process Fibre can bring our unparalleled quality to the unique needs of your next project.



Download Material Selection Guide:Nylon and TeflonTM PTFE

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Download Material Selection Guide

Additional Resources

Your Guide to Non-Metallics Download
Acetal Components Explained Download>