Setting a high standard
Walking through Artelye Marble & Granite's main facility in Beltsville, MD, overhead signs within the shop boldly display three words: â€œService,â€ â€œQualityâ€ and â€œCraftsmanship.â€ And upon closer examination of the operation, it is clear that these signs are not merely decoration, as the company places a great deal of priority on quality and efficiency - even as it continues to grow at a rapid pace.
The company's principals learned fabrication from the ground up, and they developed an understanding of the nuances involved in the process. Over the course of the workday, it is not at all uncommon to see one of the owners helping a crew maneuver a slab or position a workpiece in the shop. Yoltay explained that when the company was first established in 2001, it had only nine workers, with Yoltay supervising the production and Akin in charge of installation. â€œWe know where we came from,â€ Yoltay said. â€œWe don't think anyone is below us.â€
When an installation team is assigned a project, it typically remains on site for the entire day. Artelye has nine teams working in the field, and they are broken down in to â€œBlueâ€ and â€œRedâ€ divisions, with one roving supervisor for each division to travel from job to job. Installation crew members all wear clothing with the company logo as well as photo identification with their name and title to make interaction with the homeowner as smooth as possible.
Artelye Marble & Granite has both commercial and residential departments, and commercial sales, which are supervised by Cindy Russell, comprise 65% of overall business. In the commercial sector, the company works with large-scale homebuilders such as Pulte Homes as well as high-rise developers. Clients have included high-profile entities such as the Smithsonian Institute, the FBI Headquarters, Richmond University, the University of Rochester as well as a range of government work.
Artelye's clients do not, however, include Big Box retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes. This fits into the company's philosophy not to let any one client account for more than 15% of overall sales. â€œWe want to provide equal service to everyone,â€ Yoltay said. â€œThat's what we hope sets us apart.â€
With a high volume of material being processed, Artelye directly imports containers of stone from overseas, and it brings in material from countries such as China, Spain, Taiwan, Italy, Brazil and India. In all, the company keeps an inventory of 100 natural stone varieties in stock, including exotic materials such as onyx, and it also fabricates several quartz stone varieties. Customers come to the company's slab showroom to hand select all of the slabs to be used for a job, and the space was carefully set up with ample lighting and an open layout so clients could effectively peruse the inventory.
Requests for quotes received before 4 p.m. are answered the same day, and the plant has a typical turnaround time of one week.
The fabricating plantIn the Beltsville location, the primary piece of machinery is a Northwood 138 CNC stoneworking center, which is used for all varieties of profiled edges. The unit works over the course of two shifts, making it the only piece of machinery that runs more than one shift.
The Northwood machine features the company's StoneVision software, which automatically optimizes toolpaths to minimize the number of tool changes needed, and the StoneLaser pod/part location system. It also has a 32-tool position automatic tool changer, which can handle four complete sets of profiles with additional space for finger bits, drills and other pieces.
Other equipment in use at the Beltsville shop includes a GMM Eura bridge saw from Salem Stone, which is an automatic, programmable bridge saw that can accommodate blades up to 625 mm in diameter. Sawing is also completed with two Marmo Meccanica bridge saws from Marmo Machinery USA. These include the HTO-1B, a heavy-duty, 20-hp programmable saw, and the HTO-1/0, which is also programmable and has a 12.5-hp motor. Backsplashes are processed on a Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M edging machine, and Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable routers from Regent Stone Products are also used for edgework.
The plant supervisor's office is located in an area where he can supervise all stages of production, and scheduling is planned up to four weeks in advance using a computer program that was written in house. In all, the Beltsville location fabricates around 55 custom kitchens per week, in addition to commercial work. The production and installation schedules of the Manassas and Richmond locations are linked on the same computer system, and there are also camera links between the facilities.
Artelye Marble & GraniteArtelye Marble & Granite
Type of work: custom kitchen countertops and commercial projects
Machinery: Northwood 138 CNC stoneworking center from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. of Louisville, KY, equipped with tooling from Tyrolit Vincent of Italy and Stone Boss of Woodside, NY, as well as pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA; GMM Eura bridge saw from Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC; Marmo Meccanica HTO-1B and the HTO-1/0 bridge saws from Marmo Machinery USA of Southfield, MI; Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M edging machine from Marmo Machinery USA; Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable routers from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA; two ASD 30 compressors from Kaeser Compressors Inc. of Fredericksburg, VA
Number of Employees: 74 in Beltsville, with an additional eight in Manassas and eight in Richmond
Production Rate: 750 square feet per day in Beltsville, with an additional 400 square feet in Richmond and 250 square feet in Manassas