Report from Brazil: Offering a full range of Brazilian stone
June 1, 2006
Strategically located in Serra, EspÃrito Santo, only a few minutes away from VitÃ³ria, the state's capital - as well as the airport and the main mineral exportation port in Brazil - Brasigran - Brasileira de Granitos Ltda. is well positioned for international trade. Set in an area of approximately 495,000 square feet, with 245,000 square feet of constructed area, the plant is equipped with state-of-the-art Italian machinery. And according to Bruno Nardini, Commercial Director of Brasigran, the company's success comes from the sale of rare and exotic materials as well as the popular and classic stones of Brazil.
Brasigran has been operating in the granite processing business since 1997, and over the past decade, it has developed partnerships with several suppliers around Brazil, most notably its parent company, MineraÃ§Ã£o Corcovado, which is specialized in quarrying exotics and exclusive materials from its own quarries around the country and has been exporting granite blocks to Europe and Asia for the past 20 years.
Nardini noted that the company has seen tremendous growth in recent times. Whereas production stood at 25 containers per month two years ago, it is now over 100 containers per month, and growth for 2006 has been projected at 20%. The U.S. and Canadian markets are by far the strongest export targets for Brasigran, comprising 95% of total exports, and according to Nardini, the company is the largest exporter of polished slabs into Canada.
Approximately half of Brasigran's production is comprised of exotic materials, and the other half is what Nardini refers to as â€œbread and butterâ€ materials. By focusing more on exotics, Nardini said revenue grew six times in the past two years. In addition to offering higher profit margins, processing exotic materials also places the company into an arena with less competition, Nardini said, which is particularly helpful in exporting to the North American marketplace.
Stoneworking plantBrasigran refers to its 40 workers in the plant as â€œstone artisans,â€ and a great deal of emphasis is placed on efficiency and quality. Blocks are cut into raw slabs on three new gangsaws from F. Meccanica of Italy, which are 6 meters wide and represent the latest generation of machinery in the marketplace.
After blocks are cut into slabs, they are polished in two different ways, depending on the material. When working with exotic and difficult-to-process materials, slabs are polished on one of five bed polishers from Cimef. By using bed polishers instead of automatic slab polishing lines, the operator can ensure that all areas of the slab are receiving adequate polishing time. Since some sections of the slab may require more attention than others, the experience of the operator is critical in achieving a high-quality finished product.
Meanwhile, traditional materials are polished on a River G automatic slab polisher from F. Meccanica, which is equipped with 22 polishing heads. The slab polishing line also includes a state-of-the-art slab handling and transportation system, which automatically transports finished slabs from the line and carries them to a specific spot in the warehouse to be inventoried.
Slabs are also resin-treated as needed, and this process also relies on the skill of Brasigran's workers. Resin products from Tenax S.p.A. of Italy are applied by hand, so areas of the slab needing special attention are properly addressed, and the resin cures in driers from Rosh Industrial.
In addition to slab processing, Brasigran also does some cut-to-size work for the local market, and material is cut with a Tecna 36 bridge saw from GMM of Italy.
In addition to producing high-quality exotic materials, Nardini pointed out that it is also important to â€œset the right atmosphere for exotics.â€ The company's facility in Brazil has a large, contemporary slab showroom with a full range of materials on display. â€œIt matches the elegance of the stones themselves,â€ Nardini said. â€œWe don't want short-term relationships. We want long-term partnerships with reputable and reliable clients, and we offer a combination of service, price, delivery terms and quality.â€