Establishing a stone division
November 18, 2006
Owned by Leonard Nagel, Leonard's Carpet Service, Inc. of Southern California recently developed a stone division and began fabricating countertops after solely focusing on flooring installations for four decades. Today, the company's stone division fabricates an average of 5,550 square feet of material out of its facility in Perris, CA.
â€œWe began as a carpet installation company in the 60s, and through the 70s and 80s we began to add other products such as sheet vinyl, hardwood flooring and ceramic tile,â€ explained Jonathan Segaar, the company's countertop division manager. â€œWe have always focused on residential new construction installations and during the late 90s many of our customers began to ask us to do countertop installations.â€ In 2000, to meet customer demand, the company hired subcontractors to template, fabricate and install granite countertops. â€œWe soon realized the demand for granite countertops was growing. In 2002, we began doing some of our own granite countertop installations, and in 2003, we opened a fabrication facility here in Perris [CA].â€
The 31,000-square-foot facility houses a broad range of equipment from AGM of Pineville, NC, including two Intermac CNC machines - an OT 1500 and a Pro Series - a Comandulli Omega 100 edging machine, a Mastercut 2400 CNC saw and a Camma bridge saw. Other machinery includes a manual bridge saw from TE.CO. Macchine of Italy, a Flow waterjet from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA, a Marmo Meccanica LCV 711 M backsplash processing machine from Marmo Machinery USA, two Torit dust collection units, and an overhead crane from Demag Cranes and Components of Cleveland, OH.
According to Segaar, two significant pieces of machinery enabled the company to increase its production rate. â€œWhen we added our Comandulli Omega 100 edge machine, distributed by AGM, we saw our production jump,â€ he said. â€œThe quality of the edge detail this machine produces is excellent, and the capacity of the machine exceeded my expectations. We run our Omega 100 for about 20 hours each day. This machine performs very well. We've had very little down time on this machine due to repairs.â€
The second machine that helped boost the company's production was the new Mastercut 2400 CNC, which was manufactured in the U.S. by AIM and is distributed by AGM. â€œThis saw can easily do the work of two or more manual saws,â€ said Segaar. â€œWhen we added this saw to our shop, our production jumped. During one nine-hour shift, we can process a minimum of 20 slabs on this machine. We are so happy with the results this machine produced that we just purchased a second Mastercut 2400.â€
Leonard's Carpet Service recently switched its stone shop over to digital templating, and it operates four LT-55 precision laser templators from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL. â€œDigital templating seems to complement the CNC saws and CNC routers very well,â€ the fabricator explained. â€œOur template makers are able to get templates in about half the time, and the images they capture are generally more accurate than the stick templates. The fabrication shop is able to process jobs much faster when using digital templates. The CAD files are already created in the field, so it saves our CNC programmers a lot of time.
â€œWhen we first began using a CNC machine in our shop, we had problems with our laminated countertops,â€ Segaar went on to say. â€œWhen a laminated top was placed on the CNC machine, and the machine began to run its program, our lamination would break loose and fall off. We quickly learned that by purchasing a more expensive machine-grade glue, we could eliminate these issues.â€
Employee operationsToday, the stone division consists of two nine-hour shifts with 20 employees on each shift. According to Segaar, employees are generally trained to do one specific job, starting in either the lamination area or the polish area, and then they work their way into other positions. Most of the company's employees are hired by word of mouth, and on-the-job training has provided successful results.
â€œIn the last two years, we've probably trained close to 20 CNC programmers and operators,â€ Segaar said, adding that the biggest obstacle he has faced during training are the trainees themselves. â€œThe CNC machines seem complicated when you first look at them. Most people become very intimidated when they first begin training. By week three, the trainees are able to perform most functions on their own. When learning to program and operate for CNC machines, mind set is very important. It is impossible to learn all CNC skills in one day, but if you break down the training into manageable pieces and learn a few pieces each day, in a few weeks, you'll be a pro.â€
Over the past year, the company has been focusing on employee safety, as Segaar feels that the issue is a great challenge due to the many hazards in a fabrication shop. â€œWe have an active hearing protection program, and our employees are required to wear hearing protection at all times in our shop,â€ he explained, adding that employees are given a hearing test on an annual basis to make sure the program is working. â€œEye protection and respiratory protection is also a big part of our safety program. Our forklifts and our crane equipment are inspected on a daily basis to ensure they are in working order. I feel that one of a shop's greatest assets is its employees. It is very important to me that we protect this asset.â€ Leonard's Carpet Service's stone division now fabricates both 2 cm and 3 cm material, including granite, marble, limestone - which the company purchases from local distributors - as well as Silestone quartz surfacing, which is imported directly from Spain.
The company has seen tremendous growth over the past two years. In 2004, the shop averaged 1,663 square feet of production per week, and it now averages 5,500 square feet per week. â€œWe could not have grown this quickly without careful planning and a lot of teamwork,â€ said Segaar. â€œEmployees play a huge role in the overall success of a company. We've been very lucky to have employees that really want to see our company succeed. As a team, we've tried to make good decisions today so that we can ensure a bright future for our company tomorrow.â€
Leonard's Carpet Service, Inc.
Type of work: residential work, including flooring, countertops and vanity tops
Machinery: a Camma bridge saw from AGM of Pineville, NC; a manual bridge saw from TE.CO. Macchine of Italy; a Flow waterjet from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA; two Intermac CNC machines - an OT 1500 and a ProModel - from AGM; a Marmo Meccanica LCV 711 M backsplash processing machine from Marmo Machinery USA; a Comandulli Omega 100 edging machine from AGM and an AIM Mastercut 2400 CNC machine from AGM (with a second one on its way); two Torit dust collection units; four LT-55 precision laser templators from Laser Products Industries; an overhead crane from Demag Cranes and Components of Cleveland, OH
Number of Employees: 20 employees per two nine-hour shifts
Production Rate: 5,550 square feet a week