High-tech expansion in New Jersey

As a fabricator of Silestone countertops, Selective Surfaces Inc. was incorporated in December of 1999 with a large-scale facility in Wyandanch, NY, that now fabricates in excess of 6,000 kitchens per year. And in addition to growth in the New York operation - which is also called “Silestone of New York” - the company expanded its reach into New Jersey, with a new plant that works with the latest generation of stoneworking technology.

The New Jersey facility - also referred to as “Silestone of New Jersey” - opened in January of 2004 and processes approximately 1,500 kitchens per year. This new plant works with major builders in the state, and kitchen sizes average 60 to 70 square feet each - larger than the typical projects fabricated in New York.

In addition to residential kitchen countertops, Selective Surfaces also fabricates some commercial work, which comprises 10 to 15% of overall business. And in another new endeavor, the company has started a program for fabricating and shipping custom vanity tops. The customer specifies the color, edge treatment and size, and Selective Surfaces fabricates the workpiece, installs the sink, crates the finished vanity and ships it to its final destination. The firm is currently working with 425 Home Depot locations, and it will begin working nationally with plumbing supply houses.

Equipping the new shop

Much of the machinery in the new plant was manufactured in Germany by Löffler Maschinenbau GmbH and imported through EuroStone Machine of Atlanta, GA. Equipment includes the Löffler TB 600 computerized saw, which runs on four axes and offers motorized blade tilt from 0 to 90 degrees. The saw has extended “roll on/off” tables, so the workpieces can be easily loaded and unloaded.

Some of the more intricate work at the New Jersey plant is done on one of two Löffler LBZ CNC machining centers. These units feature two worktables to minimize downtime, and they run on three axes. The working area is approximately 64 inches x 10 feet, 6 inches, and the lineal tool holder offers automatic tool changing with two magazines holding 22 pieces each, for a total of 44 tools.

The machinery was relatively simple to learn, explained Tom Micciantuono, president of Selective Surfaces. “The system is very simplified,” he said. “Even without CNC experience, [the learning curve] can be as little as a week. The key is keeping it simple and not overthinking it. We're not writing CNC code.” The plant has one worker in charge of the CNC unit, although many people can operate the unit. In all, there are a total of 20 workers in the plant, and the CNC runs two shifts.

Templates are made out of plywood, and their dimensions are recorded on a digitizing table. The company is also looking into digital templating technology. In addition to the computerized stoneworking machinery, the company also has a Sasso line edging machine, purchased from U.S. Granite Machinery. Water is recycled with a filtration system from ECS-Eich of Germany, purchased from EuroStone Machine.

Just about all of the company's work is done in Silestone, although the company fabricates some natural stone as requested for commercial projects. It stocks every available color of Silestone in both 2-cm and 3-cm sizes. Micciantuono explained that Selective Surfaces has an exclusive territory for Silestone distribution in New York and a co-exclusive in New Jersey. The typical turnaround time for a project is one week for builders and two weeks for kitchen and bath dealers, from templating to installation. Turnaround time for the vanity program is approximately 10 days.

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