Fabricating Technology Roundup: Part Two
January 23, 2009
Just as there has been major advancement in equipment for cutting, shaping, polishing and edging stone products (as reported in the January 2009 issue of Stone World), there have also been significant developments in the tooling, accessories and other products for stone processing and countertop production.
These new introductions in this sector include tooling and accessories such as blades and polishing wheels, as well as products for handling and storage, software, digital/electronic templating, air and water treatment systems and other shop products. The following is a look at some of the latest advancements in this area.
Tooling and AccessoriesAbrasive Technology offers specialized P.B.S. stone tools for custom edge shaping. The brazed tools are developed for high-end users needing a custom tool for a special project, and Abrasive Technology reports a quick turnaround time. The P.B.S. tools are designed to rapidly remove a significant amount of material, leaving a smooth surface finish ready for polishing. The tools can be designed to fit any and all machinery.
Abrasive Technology’s Super-Edge 5-step polishing system is designed to increase production on C-frame edge-polishing machines. The first two metal-bond cup wheels have been reformulated for free cutting action, enabling faster edge shaping and honing. The third resin position has been improved with more diamond depth to increase production and last longer. The 5-step system is designed to increase production by decreasing the number of passes required to achieve a polish. To take full advantage of the increased performance, users should adjust the operating parameters of their machines, such as miter angles, traverse speed and stop settings. All the tools are snail-lock mounted for quick changeover. A thicker 8-mm, snail-lock backplate for the resin grits saves time by eliminating the need to adjust and lower the hard stop when switching from the metal cup wheels to the resin polishing discs.
Abrasive Technology offers its 5-and 6-inch metal-bond grinders, which perform all removal tasks with in-line polishing machines. The grinders prepare the surface for a high-quality polish. Used on both straight and shaped edges, this tool is made specifically to remove all the material needed and leave a fine finish ready for a polish in the first pass and eliminate any need for rework. The same geometry is used to calibrate the thickness, chamfer the corners, and shape the bullnose or any arced shape being processed. The product is available with a bolt pattern for rigid mounting.
Abrasive Technology’s 5-inch and new 6-inch Super-Edge bullnose polishing discs are designed for use on multi-head, in-line automated edge-polishing machinery. The discs use a soft bond to polish fast and eliminate the need for rework. The discs are designed for polishing marble, granite and synthetic and agglomerated stones. They are designed to be installed immediately after a metal-bond forming or shaping tool. A final buff is generally not required. These 5-inch snail-lock discs come in grit sizes from 50 to 3500.
Abrasive Technology’s Super-Rok P.B.S diamond discs are designed to be extremely rugged for use on concrete, granite, marble and limestone. The discs are suited for both installation crews and fabrication shops, and they are used for grout chasing, fitting and shaping edges, roughing, texturing and surfacing. Super-Rok offers rapid material removal, making them efficient grinding tools. The discs can be used wet or dry. The discs are available in 4- and 7-inch diameters in formed or mounted configurations. Grit sizes include 40-extra coarse and 100-medium. Other shapes and sizes are available upon request.
Abrasive Technology’s Straight-Edge 4-inch diamond discs are designed for polishing straight edges using “C-frame” automatic machinery. The discs have been engineered to eliminate workpiece end scratches and polish flat edges with a premium finish and quick, high-quality results. The system includes six steps from calibrating to final buff. It is suited for edges measuring ¾ inch or thicker and includes a buffing disc for an extra-high gloss finish on granite.
Alpha Professional Tools continues to expand its line of tooling for CNC machines, and it has designed a segmented finger bit that can be used on both CNC machines and radial arm workstations. This finger bit is available in two lengths for different thicknesses of materials. The 40-mm bit is for 1 ¼-inch slabs, while the 50-mm bit is for 1 ½-inch laminated materials. These bits come with a ½-inch gas thread that is designed for the tool holder, and they can be used on granite and engineered stone on all CNC machines. These bits offer a consistent speed, long bit life and great cost performance.
Alpha diamond hand pads are used to perform convenient, on-site polishing on materials such as glass, ceramics, marble, granite, concrete, terrazzo and quartz surfaces. This system is available in two bond types to provide the best possible finish. Pads with electroplated grits use nickel-plating technology to hold each individual diamond in place, and they are available in grits of 60, 150, 300 and 500. Pads with a resin grit have a finer diamond grit than electroplated pads. The resin bond is coated on a special backing material and is available in 1000, 2000 and 3000 grits, which are best suited for honing to polishing. The pads may be used for wet or dry applications.
Ghines CNC tooling, available from Alpha Professional Tools are created with state-of-the-art technology. Ghines has taken advantage of each diamond processing technique (sintering, vacuum-brazing, electroplating, vulcanization with abrasive strips and with resin) to obtain a set of shaped wheels where each tool represents the best possible solution pertaining to its function.
Ghines carefully controls each step of the production process, from the manufacturing of the metallic supports to the diamond application. The geometry of each tool is achieved with the necessary increments so that all the steps can be accomplished without modifying the spindle trim. Thanks to accurate manufacturing and the capability of tools to retain their shapes, replacing a single wheel is now possible without resetting all the other tools, offering savings in time and money, the company reports.
Ghines wheels are suitable for any stone material, and they fit any manual or CNC machines. Ghines rubber and sintex polishing wheels are interchangeable without modifying the settings.
The Alpha trimmer bit was designed for versatility, and it can be adapted for use in construction trades wherever non-standard shaped cutouts are needed. This bit is well suited for addressing electrical receptacles, water-valve holes, drains, shower knobs, etc. The vacuum-brazed technology is specifically designed to provide an extended life when used on granite, engineered and natural stone, porcelain and ceramic tile. It can be used wet or dry and fits on a high-speed trimmer tool.
The bit can cut curved lines as well as straight lines.
Cemar Electro, the world leader in laser line generators for more than 20 years, presents its model CL-830B laser, configured especially for bridge saw applications. With 30 mw of laser power, it has optimal power and is backed with a warranty and service. Cemar Electro reports a 48-hour turnaround and a two-year warranty on repairs.
The CL-830B features a patented “Linear Lens” and the company’s state-of-the art “Powershift” technology. It also comes complete with a bracket that is simple to mount and easy to adjust as well as a power supply that wires directly into the panel and works with both 110- and 220-watt power.
The Storm diamond blade by Diamax has been introduced as a quality turbo blade in the “ultra-economy” class. Developed and tested on 3-cm Absolute Black granite, the Storm turbo blade has been engineered to let users cut with optimal confidence, performance and safety.
Cyclone high-speed CNC wheels from Diamax have been engineered to produce a flawless, polished edge with a simple set-up. The system allows users to go from Position 1 to a flawless polish at Position 7, and it works on granite, marble, and engineered stone materials.
The polishing wheels are designed to achieve a high polish with a special continuous multi-layered resin formula. Additionally, they cut down on manual polishing and material handling costs because users will not have to finish edges by hand, Diamax reports.
Minimal deformation of metal positions leads to efficient polishing output, and there is no need to reshape metal positions.
The Hurricane dry/wet core bit by Diamax was engineered with the same spirit of performance as the Cyclone dry/wet core bit, which was tested to drill 149 holes dry and 269 wet, in the economy class.
As a manufacturer of glass tiles and the machines to cut them, Diamond Tech is offering the Diamond Laser (DL) glass blade, which has been engineered to be durable and efficient. Each blade is made of strong stainless steel selected for its resistance to corrosion and rust. DL blades are thin-coated with the finest diamond abrasive. The diamond coating allows the blade to glide through glass and stone cleanly and easily, thus minimizing grinding time. Its thin cutting edge means intricate cuts are possible with minimum chipping and cracking.
- Blade length (continuous band): 61.5 inches (1.562 m)
- Blade thickness or kerf: 0.01969 inches (0.050 mm)
- Blade depth: 0.1772 inch (4.5 mm)
- Blade life estimate: Approximately 80 to 100 hours (cutting time will vary based on material cut and operator experience)
The AC-DC Seam Master from Edgemarc Tools was designed to easily open and close large countertop seams or backsplashes. Users can simply pull, level and then walk away, the company reports. The unit is self-contained and does not require an external vacuum pump. Users can simply plug the Seam Master into an AC power outlet or use the optional battery adapter if electricity is not available.
UHS (Ultra High Speed) technology is a breakthrough in the design of modern diamond tooling from ADI and GranQuartz. UHS technology drastically improves tool feed rates and overall machine production yields.
UHS technology allows a fabricator the option to more than triple a profile tool’s speed or double its tool life. According to the company, the new UHS profile tool can perform at a rate of up to 150 inches per minute. UHS technology also makes it possible to now mill bowl holes at a feed rate of up to 24 inches per minute, according to GranQuartz, while enjoying longer tool life.
“ADI’s existing Eraser System is being supercharged with UHS technology for the ultimate blend of speed and polish quality. In fact, the biggest constraint to a fabricator’s productivity now is whether the fabricator can keep up with the speed of the UHS tools,” said Paul Taylor, Diamond Consumables Product Manager for GranQuartz. “A fabricator can achieve much greater utilization of their biggest capital investment, their CNC, with ADI Ultra High Speed tools.”
The new Pearl Abrasive Co. silent core Reactor blade with Advanced Diamond Matrix (A.D.M.TM) Technology, available from Keystone Tools, was created to achieve greater blade performance. A.D.M. Technology replaces the random clustering of diamonds with an entirely new engineered diamond matrix. Diamonds are placed in specific patterns (Patterning Technology) and concentrations to achieve real cutting enhancements and performance. Diamonds are layered (Layering Technology) with precision and uniform distribution in the matrix. The benefits of blades made with A.D.M.TM Technology are uniformity in quality and cutting efficiency. Also, since the diamonds are patterned for maximum working capacity and are application specific, blades can now be made for specific types of cutting applications, which results in faster cutting speeds. Reactor 14- and 16-inch blades have a full 18-mm segment height.
The Keystone Tools Recon turbo diamond blade is made for precision dry cutting without breaking or chipping the work surface. The special matrix is suited for cutting granite. The Recon diamond blade comes in a variety of sizes, from 4 to 7 inches.
The Backsplash Polishing Workstation by Omni Cubed is a fully adjustable and customizable workstation designed to increase polishing efficiency and reduce worker strain. The workstation utilizes Sink Hole Savers to strengthen, protect and securely hold each backsplash piece at any desired height and polishing angle, with 0 to 90 degrees of adjustment. The two-sided stand enables multiple workers to simultaneously polish up to six 9-foot backsplashes, without constant switching of pads between pieces. The capacity of the workstation can be expanded by mounting additional Sink Hole Savers.
The Backsplash Polishing Workstation includes an aluminum stand with Velcro for pads, two grinder holders, two 5-foot Sink Hole Savers (SHS) and two pairs of SHS mount brackets (enough to hold four Sink Hole Savers). All Omni Cubed products are engineered, manufactured, and assembled in the U.S. and are covered by a one-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.
U.S.-made Lam-Clamps by Omni Cubed were designed to outperform traditional C-Clamps in terms of speed, seam quality and durability. Six clamp sizes are available, ranging from 5 inches to 6 feet in length. The shorter lengths are well suited for curves, while the longer lengths are designed for speed. All clamps laminate edges ranging from 4 through 6 cm thick and feature hidden clamp threads to protect from epoxy contamination.
The Automatic Seam Setter VC2 by Omni Cubed joins seams, levels seams and stabilizes backsplashes. A powerful, compact vacuum pump maintains pressure for all cups and operates on AC power or a single 9V battery (for installations where electricity is not available). The working area is easily accessible with the units in place, so removal is not needed in order to apply epoxy or scrape the seam. The seam levelers slide in tracks for custom placement on both sides of the seam, and they feature non-spinning feet with replaceable vinyl caps to prevent scratching of surfaces. The durable tightening handles are anodized machined billet aluminum, and the large 6-inch cups handle heavy countertops with ease.
Also available is the Multi-Seam Expansion Kit, which includes two additional VC2 seam setters with storage case and an accessory coil tube adapter. The expansion kit enables installers to simultaneously join and level two seams (up to 14 feet apart with use of the coil tube and only one vacuum pump), saving time during the installation process. Installers can also “chain link” up to four seam setters together for larger seams (i.e. longer island seams).
Panther router bits from Stone Boss are used for fast clean edgework. The company reports that these router bits were designed to offer premium quality with an affordable price. They are for use on most routers, such as the Sector, Flex and Master 3000.
Stone Boss dry pads are designed for honing and polishing stone. They are well suited for on-site applications and may also be used wet - especially when working with engineered stone.
Panther cup wheels from Stone Boss boast an 8-mm diamond thickness. They were designed as a premium cup wheel used for shaping, beveling, and grinding stone edges and surfaces.
Stone Boss Panther three-step polishing pads were designed to produce a superior polish with optimal speed. They have been engineered to increase shop productivity while saving money on labor costs.
Panther XLII blades from Stone Boss feature 18-mm segments, and they were designed for use with any bridge saw. They have been engineered to provide smooth consistent cutting while maintaining an affordable price.
The new Metabo WE 14-125 VS angle grinder is available from Stone Boss, and it includes the following features: 12.2 amps; variable speed from 2,800 to 10,500 rpm; 5/8-11 spindle; maintains rpm for faster smoother cutting of stone; safety slip clutch controls tool if blade binds.
The grinder can be used for polishing as well as core drilling.
Material Handling and StorageThe Abaco KPT8340 Kitchen Processing Table is designed to allow users to work more efficiently. The tabletop tilts from being flat to stopping at various degrees so users can work more comfortably. It can easily handle slabs up to 1 ½ inches thick.
The processing table is 79 inches in length, and it adjusts from 29 to 39 inches in height. It tilts at two angles, either 45 or 76 degrees. It comes with casters that make transportation easier, and the collapsible design saves on freight costs.
- At flat position: 79 x 24 x 39 inches (2,000 x 600 x 1,000 mm)
- Tilt at 45 degrees: 79 x 24 x 46 inches (2,000 x 6000 x 1,180 mm)
- Tilt at 76 degrees: 79 x 24 x 49 inches (2,000 x 600 x 1,250mm)
The Abaco Little Giant lifter (ALG50,ALG60, ALG75) is specially designed for handling all stone material inslab form. The strong and secure lifter includes a swivel shackle and has a large grip range. With its strong lifting pin and straight lift, Abaco reports that the ALG will help solve problems where headroom is an issue. The Abaco Little Giant lifter also comes with white rubber for use on lighter-colored stone and in three sizes to meet a full range of needs.
The ALG50 has a grip range of 5/8 to 2 inches (15 to 50 mm); the ALG60 has a grip range of ¾ to 2 3/8 inches (20to 60 mm); and the ALG75 has a grip range of 1 1/8 to 3 inches (30 to 75 mm). All three have a weight limit of 2,202 pounds (1,000 kg).
The Abaco Elevating Hand Cart EHC3541 is designed for raising, loading and unloading finished pieces safely with minimal labor. It is constructed of a vertical steel channel where pieces can be raised and lowered by the use of a hand crank. The hand crank is located on the controlling unit, away from pieces being handled for safety purposes. A rubber-lined channel can accommodate pieces up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) thick. Two pneumatic and two self-locking swivel casters are positioned just outside the steel frame of the base for added stability. The Abaco Elevating Hand Cart has the ability to elevate pieces from 1 foot up to 3 ½ feet, where they can easily load onto a truck bed for transport.
The Abaco Collapsible Dumpster was designed for workshops or warehouses as a means to keep the floors clean and safe. It is constructed with heavy-gauge sheets, angle and channel steel.
- Handy lever action assures safe dumping
- Reinforced steel makes the Dumpster last longer
- Heavy-duty channel forklift pocket and safety pin add stability and safety when unloading
- Compact design with two heavy-duty swivel casters with brakes and two rigid casters allows the Dumpster to be moved around the shop floor, construction site or through narrow spaces easily.
A new, compact, high-capacity vacuum lifter for granite and other stone materials within a small footprint is being introduced by Anver Corp.
The Anver E4000M16 vacuum lifter incorporates all-welded steel construction with double-spring suspensions for equally forcing each of the 16 square vacuum pads onto the load and accommodating variations in the load surface. Featuring a 40,000-pound (18,144 kg) capacity with an 8- x 10-foot footprint, this lifter has remote controls that can be fully integrated with an overhead crane.
Equipped with a 78-CFM pump, motors, reservoir tanks and an audio-visual alarm system, the Anver E4000M16 vacuum lifter has a safety interlock switch that prevents the release of a load until the lifter has been lowered completely. Each suction pad can be individually controlled to correspond with the load configuration.
The U.S.-made Hercules Bundle Breaker from Braxton-Bragg was designed to provide a safe, sturdy platform that allows access to the inner slabs of a bundle. The strong, double-welded Sch 40 pipe measures just under 53 inches (134.62 cm) and provides the strength needed to separate slabs for processing. Another safety feature of the Hercules Bundle Breaker is its metal gratings, which are located on either side for sure-footed control while separating slabs. The vertical supports have adjustable slots to accommodate the largest of bundles, while plastic caps at the top of the vertical supports prevent material from being scratched.
With an eye on maximizing material flow within the shop, regulating the time involved in material handling and reducing dependence on labor, Breton has innovated the first Automatic Resource Management Systems (A.R.M.S.).
Breton A.R.M. Systems are customized material warehousing solutions designed to automate the order-fulfillment process - starting with the receipt of inbound material and continuing to where it exits the facility as a finished product.
Incoming slabs are robotically picked from stock A-frames, and then they are photographed, marked for defects, applied with protective film and bar-coded for storage before being transferred to the warehousing unit.
Depending on the type of material to be stored, the warehousing units are engineered to store slabs vertically in a magazine configuration, or horizontally stacked in multi-level units, or a combination of both. The control automatically records the location of the piece prior to storage, and the operator only recalls the pieces required. Or, the entire process can be automated and integrated with Breton’s Fabmaster system.
At each stage, the workpieces can be automatically placed onto A-frames or conveyors for movement into workstations or positioning onto the worktables of the machines. The cut-to-size and finished pieces are conveyed back into the warehousing unit for storage prior to installation, where they can be called and their status updated.
GranQuartz offers the Total Solutions program for material handling in the stone industry. The Total Solutions program is a comprehensive line from the brands of Gorbel, Manzelli, Aardwolf and Diarex that covers every stage of stone handling - from unloading to storing, production, transporting and installation.
Gorbel workstation cranes and Manzelli vacuum lifters are a proven way to improve productivity, increase quality and provide a safer work environment. According to the company, customer case studies found that the use of a Gorbel workstation and a Manzelli Vacuum Lifter increased productivity by 25%. Through the automation of Gorbel and Manzelli, one person can move a slab efficiently and safely, GranQuartz reports, adding that Gorbel workstation cranes are easy to install and are available in steel or patented aluminum. Custom-built to the size of any shop, the freestanding overhead cranes have capacities ranging from 250 to 4,000 pounds.
Manzelli lifter models range in capacities of 1,100 to 4,400 pounds and include many standard features, including automatic safety alarms for sufficient vacuum power, adjustable vacuum plates to fit different pieces such as L-shaped tops, rubber gaskets to lift polished, honed or some rough-cut materials (may reduce load capacity), vertical/horizontal tilt from 0 to 90 degrees, an emergency backup reservoir if the primary air supply is interrupted, a vacuum line filter to trap dust and moisture, an overhead hooking eyebolt and an electro-welded and corrosion-resistant steel frame.
Designed for transporting finished countertops and slabs around jobsites with security and ease, the new Aluminum Install Cart from Groves features four 8-inch pneumatic casters (two swivel, two braking) that provide a dampening effect even over rough terrain. The cart has a high ground clearance to maneuver over stairs, thresholds and curbs. It features four easy-to-use clamps to secure the material to the cart. Slabs are held between neoprene rubber pads mounted to the base and uprights to protect against scratches. The lightweight aluminum cart has a capacity of 750 pounds.
Groves also manufactures a complete line of fabrication tables, storage racks and transport carts.
A new carry clamp for thick countertops, the “Mega-Jaw Carry Clamp” by Omni Cubed has been designed for easier and safer carrying of countertops. The lightweight (2.6-pound) clamp opens wide enough (up to 2.6 inches/66 mm) to accommodate thicker tops. The clamp features high-strength aluminum arms and non-marking, tear-resistant rubber gripping pads. To distribute the weight of very heavy countertops, two installers per clamp can be used on each side of the top (four people total). The tension in the clamp is adjustable, and the clamp “holds on” to the top when not in use (won’t fall off). Each pair of clamps has a rated capacity of 500 pounds, and the more weight lifted, the tighter the clamps grip.
The Omni Cubed Pro-Cart AT1 all-terrain installation cart, currently available exclusively through GranQuartz, provides a solution to the challenges associated with large and cumbersome countertop installation carts. The cart is constructed from aluminum tubing, so it is strong and lightweight at only 46 pounds. Important for climbing stairs, the cart stays attached to the countertop when lifted and the 8-inch casters allow resting on stair treads. Pneumatic casters dampen vibrations and enable travel across rough terrain such as gravel or lawns. The wheelbase makes the cart very stable, even with large tops, according to the company, and the cart’s high ground clearance allows “popping of wheelies” over larger curbs. In many cases, one person can push and maneuver the cart by themselves. Tops are secured by clamps located on each side of the cut-out to reduce breakage in the middle.
The optional upgrade kit enables the cart to be folded for easy storage (reduces cart width to only 9 inches).
Sink Hole Savers from Omni Cubed are designed to protect countertops from breakage during lifting, moving and installation. Omni Cubed manufactures three models of Sink Hole Savers (available in 4-, 6- and 8-foot lengths) and two accessory attachments to cover all types of installations.
The Original Sink Hole Saver TM is suited for keeping tops in one piece during installation, but the innovative edge-clamping design allows it to be used for other applications such as for lifting stone off CNC and waterjet machines; for protecting stone during transport on A-frames; and during manual fabrication to strengthen the top while cutting.
The Sink Hole Saver TM VC1 features thumb-pumped cups, and the Automatic Sink Hole Saver TM VC2 features an automatic vacuum pump that operates on a 9-volt battery. Both secure to countertop surfaces with durable 6-inch vacuum cups. These vacuum cup rails are used during installation of curved or “bump-out” countertops, and they are often combined with the Original Sink Hole SaverTM (clamp version) for added versatility during tough installations.
The SHS Angle Bracket allows protection of “L,” “bat wing,” or any other angled countertop during transport and installation. The bracket connects two Sink Hole Savers of any length, allowing rotation of 0 through 270 degrees. The product works for inside and outside corners, making it especially helpful for the installation of fragile “L-shaped” countertops.
SHS Vacuum Cup Attachments are added to an existing Original Sink Hole Saver to enable installers to “flip” between two systems. The install crew can use the mechanical clamps for countertop transport on the A-frame, and then they can “flip” the same rail to the vacuum cups side for the final installation.
Wood’s Powr-Grip offers a wide variety of below-the-hook vacuum lifters in styles and capacities for lifting stone slabs or sheet materials in the horizontal orientation. The Flex Series of flat lifters can be configured for practically every stone handling application. Standard pad frames in this series feature movable vacuum pads on a single beam to accommodate various slab dimensions. They are available with 2, 3, 4 or 5 vacuum pads, and AC, DC or compressed air power. Load capacities range from 600 to 1,500 pounds (270 to 680 kg).
With movable vacuum pads and sliding adjustable pad arms, the FL6HV11AC flat lifter offers the ultimate versatility for handling irregularly shaped slabs or for avoiding sink cut-outs, defects or surface obstructions. This vacuum lifter comes standard with an AC vacuum pump and 1,000-pound (455-kg) capacity, and it is also available with a compressed air or DC power system, as well as other capacities.
The FL12HV11AC flat lifter features a 3,000-pound (1,360-kg) capacity, making it Wood’s Powr-Grip’s highest capacity flat lifter for stone handling. Movable vacuum pads and optional pad shutoffs enable this vacuum lifter to handle a wide variety of slab sizes and shapes. It comes standard with an AC vacuum pump, and it is also available with a compressed air or DC power system, as well as other capacities.
Designed to be lightweight and rugged, multipurpose vacuum lifters from Wood’s Powr-Grip® intend to provide an efficient and economical approach to stone installation and low-volume processing. These below-the-hook vacuum lifters are available in a variety of styles to improve stone handling. The MRT4HV11DC incorporates manual rotation and tilt for quick and precise slab positioning. Movable vacuum pads and extension arms create three frame configurations for handling slabs of nearly any size. Cord-free DC power allows operation from cranes, forklifts or floor hoists. The load capacity is 600 pounds (270 kg).
The MRTA8HV11DC lifter features DC power, 360-degree manual rotation and mechanically assisted 90-degree manual tilt. Movable vacuum pads and extension arms accommodate nearly any size or shape of stone. A high-flow vacuum system helps overcome leakage associated with semi-porous or contaminated stone surfaces. It has a standard capacity of 1,200 pounds (545 kg) and is also available with an AC power system.
Offering economy and versatility at the job site or in the shop, the PF Series Vacuum Lifters feature manual 180-degree rotation and 90-degree tilt. A wide variety of models lets a shop select the vacuum lifter that best meets its stone handling requirements. Different configurations of vacuum pads are available for long and tall slabs, as well as for two different groups of stone weights. PF Series vacuum lifters are available with either cord-free DC power systems or economical AC pumps.
Wood’s Powr-Grip offers a full line of below-the-hook vacuum lifters for tilting and transporting stone in production settings. Designed to use an existing compressed air supply, PT4HV11AIR and PT10HV11AIR lifters provide effortless power tilting and optimal support of heavy slabs, to prevent breakage when stone is tilted. Load capacities are 600 pounds (270 kg) and 1,500 pounds (680 kg), respectively. Closed-cell foam rings help the vacuum pads seal on rough surfaces, and individual pad shut-offs accommodate irregularly shaped slabs or countertops with sink cut-outs. AC or DC power systems are also available.
Powr-Grip’s MT Series stone lifters feature 90-degree tilt with an above-the-center pivot point so that slabs automatically hang in the upright position when lifted. The resulting narrow profile allows them to fit between tight, vertical storage racks while also protecting the remote power source. Foam pad rings and individual pad shut-offs are standard. Available power systems include AC, DC or compressed air. An optional flat lift adapter makes these lifters ideal for loading cutting tables, CNC machines or other horizontal processing machinery. Load capacities from 600 pounds (270 kg) to 1,500 pounds (680 kg) are available.
Featuring manually operated, 90-degree tilt between upright and flat positions, the MT5HV11AC is designed specifically for lifting, tilting and transferring medium-sized slabs between cutting tables, processing equipment and storage racks. While AC power is standard, this vacuum lifter is also available with a DC or compressed-air power system. Load capacity is 800 pounds (365 kg).
Wood’s Powr-Grip hand-held vacuum cups provide a quick and convenient way to handle smooth, nonporous stone, tile and cultured marble products. The company’s wide variety of standard hand cups includes models with flat vacuum pads for quick attachment to flat surfaces. It also includes models with concave vacuum pads for effective attachment to curved or irregular surfaces.
The N4300 Hand Cup combines Powr-Grip’s ABS plunger, durable metal handle and a flat vacuum pad. The result is a vacuum cup that is especially well suited for handling flat stone products. The ABS plunger does not rust in wet conditions, and the metal handle resists grit and contaminates common in stoneworking facilities. This hand cup has a diameter of 8 inches (204 mm) and a load capacity of 125 pounds (57 kg). It is also available with 9-inch (229 mm) flat and 10-inch (254 mm) concave vacuum pads.
Designed primarily for lifting in the flat position, the G609 Grifter cup allows for quick and easy handling of small tiles. All-rubber construction prevents rust in wet working conditions. It features a diameter of 3 ¼ inches (83 mm) and a load capacity of 15 pounds (7 kg).
LJ45HG, TL6HG and LP6HG Handi-Grip cups are well suited for handling floor tiles, small slabs and manufactured stone products. Different vacuum pads are available for gripping curved or flat stone surfaces. They feature diameters of 4 ½ (115 mm) or 6 inches (153 mm) and load capacities of 40 pounds (18 kg) or 70 pounds (32 kg) per vacuum cup.
Air and Water TreatmentThe Abaco Dehydrator is a dehydration system for the fast collection and trapping of the abrasive mud produced by machining and finishing marble, granite and other stones. The Abaco Dehydrator was designed to offer an economical, one-step method in separating and dewatering sludges and slurries. The Dehydrator is constructed of stainless steel and consists of four basic components: pump, mud-holding tank, clean water tray and filter bags. The Abaco Dehydrator has no moving parts, requires minimal labor and is very economical to use. Since it is constructed out of stainless steel, it requires extremely low maintenance.
Two versions are available - stainless steel and zinc sealed marine coated.
The Ghines Xeolos, available from Alpha Professional Tools, is an innovative dust collection system that combines two types of depuration systems. It functions totally dry, and the 12 cyclones guarantee pre-exhaustion of 60 to 70%. Meanwhile, the dry “F8” class filters assure total exhaustion of the dust. Strong jets of compressed air, controlled by a central master box, are run each time the machine is turned off, thus cleaning the filters automatically. Additional cleaning cycles can be manually activated at any time. It is made of tubular steel framework covered by an epoxy-wash primer, then coated with poliure and paint. The soundproof engine compartment has a sound absorbing lining. The pneumatic unit requires a minimum of 8 bar pressure.
New from Braxton-Bragg is the Novair 2000 Negative Air machine, designed as a powerful, durable and lightweight machine. The powerful 2-horsepower motor generates consistent airflow rate (2000 CFM high speed and 1000 CFM low speed) and utilizes all filter media area. The eight-point motor/cage mounting prevents the motor and cage from shifting even under the harshest conditions. It uses standard 24- x 24-inch Hepa filters that are “positive lock” to prevent filter movement for uninterrupted filtration. Custom controls and features are available upon request including general-purpose filters and audible alarms.
Also available is the Novair 1000 Negative Air Machine with a powerful 1-horsepower motor.
Filter Systems, a well known and respected water filtration machinery company, is now being represented exclusively by International Machine Corp. The equipment is available in a range of sizes and configurations to fit the needs of shops with a variety of volume and workloads.
Fraccaroli and Balzan (F&B) manufactures solids separators for the stone industry, available from Salem Stone. These units are capable of efficiently separating stone particulate from the water used in any stone-processing application - from sawing to edge profiling. The F&B units employ a combination of a low-cost flocculent (settling agent) and simple mechanical filter press to provide “clean” water that can be recycled back to the workstations. The units are available in a 17-foot overall height (model FB/2000V-WD-CS) and a 13-foot overall height (model FB/2000V-WD-CF.)
Cycle DescriptionWastewater coming from the stone processing plant is collected in a pit or tank, where a float-actuated submersed pump automatically pumps the slurry into the cylindrical decant tank. Before reaching the tank, a flocculent is automatically injected into the slurry. The chemical action of the flocculent accelerates the suspended solid particles “falling” out of suspension. The treated slurry is pumped into the decant tank in a way that minimizes turbulence to further facilitate the efficient separation process. The “clean” water flows to the top of the decant tank, overflowing into a surrounding chamber while the heavier solids collect in the bottom of the decant tank. The treated water is pumped from the “clean water chamber” back to the processing machine by a centrifugal pump. The mud collected in the bottom of the decant tank is discharged into a filter press, where the water is finally filtered.
- Overall Dimensions (model CS): 7 feet, 4 inches x 17 feet high
- Overall Dimensions (model CF): 7 feet, 4 inches x 13 feet high
- Decant Tank Size: 6 feet, 6 inches x 6 feet, 6 inches
- Clean Water Reservoir Size: 1,320 gallons
- Maximum Waste Capacity (per minute): 132 gallons
- Solids Disposal (per hour): 16 – 42.24 gallons
- Power (kW): 10÷5
- Full Load Weight: 66,150 pounds
VIC International offers a new water recycling system designed for the smaller shop, generating up to 20 gallons per minute of water containing stone slurry. The new system, named the MiniCleanTM, is a completely closed loop system that can provide the shop owner with water that is treated down to any particle size that is desired. Its small “footprint” lets the unit fit into the tightest spaces. It consists of a main mud collection bag followed by a channel weir, a clarifier plate section/weir and then the final filter with two housings that allow 1 to 50 micron filter packs, depending on the requirements of the shop and equipment.
A unique and patent-pending feature of the MiniClean is its unique Turbo SprayTM nozzle system that permits the main bag to “weep” at its maximum rate.
Other water treatment systems available from VIC include the MicroClean and SlurryClean TM. The MicroClean is designed for companies that generate up to 50 gallons of water per minute, while the SlurryClean is best utilized in shops creating up to 200 or more gallons of water per minute.
VIC International is also offering a solution for providing optimal air quality in stone fabrication shops that use dry grinding. The VIC VeriDRY is a modular-designed, self-cleaning pulse unit for removing airborne silica and creating a healthier work environment for fabricators.
The VeriDRY Dust System meets OSHA standards for the removal of airborne particles when installed and used according to the manufacturer’s specifications. These dust collectors have a 99.97% efficiency rating on submicron dust particles resulting from the dry grinding of granite, limestone, quartzite, bluestone, marble and other materials.
Water Treatment Technologies’ (WTT) patented and patent pending family of products - exclusively distributed through GranQuartz - are designed specifically for the stone fabricator to achieve 100% closed loop recycling - gaining EPA compliance for zero discharge and saving water.
From the economical ClearTech to the standard EnviroSystem and up to the completely integrated systems of the Concentrator in concert with the EnviroSystem, WTT has installed configurations for fabricators doing one kitchen a week up to those fabricating 35 kitchens per shift. All of WTT’s systems guarantee 100% crystal clear recycled water, which is safe for all equipment in a fabrication facility. The company reports that it is the only manufacturer of its kind that has been endorsed and approved by all the major manufacturers in the industry.
Products are backed by a superior warranty and a solid customer service team.
Software and Electronic/Digital TemplatingETemplate Photo digital templating automatically verifies accuracy and intends to eliminate drive-backs. Its exclusive fully automated DXF/CAD drawing capability adds radii, overhang and more. No tape measure or field verification is necessary. According to the company, the program collects 500 million measurements per click of the calibrated camera. Users “deliver” the entire jobsite and all of its measurements back to the shop in the camera, and the software does the rest.
ETemplate has the exclusive ability to visually verify the final countertop design by graphically placing it on the jobsite photographs to scale for quality control and customer approval. Users can extract any additional measurements needed directly from the photos while sitting at a desk in the fabrication shop. The template is parametrically adjustable to suit a shop’s customers’ design changes.
ETemplate Photo simulates the GPS system, with the calibrated camera representing the satellites. Shooting photos from various angles creates triangulation to specific fixed points in three-dimensional space. A pictorial history and integrated quality control features provides the fabricator a thorough set of information. Everything is automatically measured a minimum of twice to ensure optimal accuracy of measurements. The visual benefits further ensure accuracy by providing a photographic memory that goes beyond the measurements.
The system does not require a tripod or any leveling, and there are no limitations of range, reach or line-of-sight limitations. The CAD/DXF can be used to cut a vinyl template, print a detailed shop drawing or go directly to any CNC machine.
ETemplate system announces its new ETemplate Render Tool, an expansion module for its award-winning templating solution. Through computer rendering technology, the tool allows the user - whether they are a fabricator or retailer - to illustrate visually the customer’s style and color selections in their kitchen.
The ETemplate Render Tool also intends to help homeowners with the challenge of selecting a color/material for remodel projects. During the templating process, the homeowner can select colors in their computer-generated kitchen from the same photographs taken by the templater for measurement. The templater leaves the appointment with accurate measurements and the color selections.
Fabricators utilizing the ETemplate Photo software can load the kitchen photo into the rendering tool, providing an in-home countertop selection service for the homeowner, which aids in the entire production process - from measure to install. Retailers can allow homeowners to instantly see their selections rendered on their photos during the design appointment prior to purchase.
This new Kitchen Render Tool by ETemplate Systems is available in both CD and online format.
The ETemplate 3D Laser templating system is a measurement system that creates three-dimensional geometry the user digitizes. The laser connects to a laptop computer and draws the template geometry in a three-dimensional CAD environment. The ETemplate 3D Laser also connects to ETemplate Photo to automatically combine three-dimensional measurement data from both systems.
The powerful software included with the ETemplate 3D Laser draws points, lines, arcs and freeform curves in two and three dimensions. According to the company, this allows users to pre-measure vertical walls, outlet locations and more easily and accurately with a laser.
Unique functions include the ability to average lines using multiple points, which minimizes wall scribe and gaps between walls and splashes. The ETemplate 3D Laser may be used together with ETemplate Photo for measuring a single job when applicable, as well as being used independently. When both systems are used together, the data from both systems can be automatically linked together to create a single digital template. This complete integration of data allows both systems to be used to their greatest potential.
Both residential and commercial templating projects can benefit from using the ETemplate 3D Laser as a standalone as well as in combination with the ETemplate Photo 3D digital measuring system.
The Prodim Proliner digital templating system all share the unique Proliner measuring-by-wire technology. Prodim reports that its 8 Series 2D and 3D models are its most advanced measuring devices.
The machine’s weight is only 18.7 pounds (8.5 kg), and the measuring head can be folded into the machine for optimal protection during travel. A socket connection, as well as the possibility to use rechargeable batteries, provides optimal flexibility. The machine has a USB port, so results can be downloaded onto a laptop or USB stick, and the digitizing processing can be started immediately.
The software platform of the Proliner 8-Series is very extensive and offers a variety of possibilities. It has extensive integrated CAD software, so users can complete the drawings on the jobsite and prepare for production.
The Proliner 8 Series can measure up to 45.9 feet (14 m). With the integrated Leapfrog software, larger surfaces can be measured. Although the model is small and compact, it has ample extra storage space. It is possible to carry two spare batteries, a digital camera and other add-ons, with space for additional other items.
The design of the Proliner 8 Series is advanced in functionality and aesthetics. It has been made to provide maximum comfort, stability and durability. The 8.4-inch touch-screen makes the Proliner 8 Series very user friendly.
The integrated speakers enable the user to adjust the beep-volume, which makes it suitable for noisy working environments. A LED light indicates the status of the battery.
With all Proliners, there is no need for leveling the unit. The Proliner 3D offers both two-dimensional and three-dimensional files, while the Proliner 2D only offers two-dimensional results.
In the Western U.S., the Prodim Proliner is available from Blick Industries.
The Prodim Proliner 6 Series 2D and 3D units also use measuring-by-wire technology. The 6 Series is positioned between the 5.7 and 8 Series. It also has a weight of 18.7 pounds (8.5 kg), with the measuring head able to be folded into the machine for optimal protection during travel. Flexibility is also provided with a socket connection as well as the possibility to use rechargeable batteries. A USB port allows users to download results onto a laptop or USB stick, so the digitizing processing can be started immediately.
The Proliner 6 series has basic integrated CAD software that allows users to complete drawing on the jobsite and prepare for production. A 6-inch touch-screen facilitates ease of use, while the integrated speakers enable the user to adjust the beep-volume - making the unit suitable for noisy working environments. A LED light indicates the status of the battery.
With all Proliners there is no need for leveling the unit. The 3D model offers both two-dimensional and three-dimensional files, while the Proliner 2D only offers two-dimensional results.
In the Western U.S., the Prodim Proliner is available from Blick Industries.
Especially for use in the countertop industry, Prodim International BV developed Proliner® CounterTop software. This software gives users the opportunity to measure and finish countertops with optimal speed, accuracy and simplicity, the company reports.
Users can plan, measure, design and calculate countertops, and they can also visualize countertops, backsplashes, edges and cut-outs in the correct material directly on-site.
There are only six steps to measure a countertop:
- Define a reference plane for the projection by simply measuring three points
- Measure the external contour of the countertop
- If any, measure the internal contour (the one against the wall)
- If needed, digitize other shapes (holes, marks, etc)
- Users can then finish the drawing and transfer it to the USB-stick
- Open the results with the user CAD or CAM software
Prodim points out that using the Proliner in combination with a CNC cutting machine or CNC bridge saw allows a shop to get the most out of its investment. Before sending the digital drawing to a CNC machine, a shop can use the Procutter Plotter to make exact templates. The process allows users to transfer a digital drawing directly to the Procutter Plotter with the help of an USB-stick, and the fabrication process can begin immediately.
The Procutter Plotter cuts out a vinyl template in minutes. A shop can then place the vinyl on the slab for vein matching as well as showing the customer what a kitchen will look like on a specific material.
Management/Production SoftwareBreton FabCAM is a turnkey software suite designed for Breton’s multifunction machine, the FabCenter, a CNC router/saw combination allowing the user to perform four-axis saw cutting, routing and polishing operations starting from the slab. The process eliminates the need for the user to remove the cut pieces from the work environment, therefore saving time and effort.
First, the slab is photographed, marked for defects and referenced. The FabCAM software is employed for auto tool-pathing and artistic nesting, and then the saw-cutting operations begin. The sawing operations are performed using a combination of the saw blade, core bit and fingerbit to achieve cut-to-size pieces with rod slots, including radius work. The cut pieces are then shifted for final routing and polishing, and complete slab layouts are machined with very minimal user intervention, increased accuracy and maximized efficiency.
The key features of Breton FabCAM are its one click tool-pathing process, a live interactive three-dimensional view of countertop project design - complete with backsplash and a three-dimensional live rendering and collision detection system. The software can be fully integrated with the “Imagemaster” inventory control system to optimize layouts across the entire inventory of slabs, thus potentially incorporating remnant pieces and the most suitable material for the project, which saves material, eliminates wrong cut piece errors and saves time.
The entire photographic system, the machine and the software are supplied and supported by Breton. The FabCAM software may be seen by contacting a local Breton representative or by searching “Breton FabCAM” at www.YouTube.com to view the product in action.
Designed to be intuitive and user friendly, QuickQuote from Crystalline Enterprises is a visual pricing solution for members of the countertop industry. Automatically generating a shop-quality drawing as a job is priced, QuickQuote requires no CAD experience to use, and existing CAD drawings and digital templates can also be directly priced using QuickQuote’s XPX .DXF pricing system.
With a wide range of pricing methods, QuickQuote can virtually price any material, and it allows different materials to utilize different pricing methods. Splashes, edging and premium items are automatically tabulated and separated out to provide maximum pricing flexibility. QuickQuote can also calculate slab counts for job costing and material layout.
Designed to seamlessly integrate with a shop’s existing systems, QuickQuote exports to QuickBooks, .DXF/.DWG and a host of other file formats. QuickQuote’s professional printouts put the quote and drawing together on a single page, and quotes in multiple colors and price levels side by side. Printouts can be further customized to include company logo, work orders, legal disclaimers and more.
Purchase of QuickQuote includes installation of a company’s entire product catalog, complete with pricing - including colors, edge options and sinks, along with all updates for one year.
Moraware JobTracker Enterprise Edition is award-winning scheduling and job management software for fabricators, installers and other subcontractors. JobTracker Enterprise Edition seamlessly integrates scheduling, estimating, inventory, purchasing, job management and reporting to revolutionize how fabricators manage their business.
JobTracker Enterprise Edition offers a powerful calendar with a spreadsheet of the same job information without retyping anything and instant access to the details of any job. As a multi-user system, changes made by one person are immediately accessible to everyone in the office, shop and in the field using mobile devices. Because it is an integrated solution, account information automatically shows up on jobs and quotes. Also, changes to the jobs show up on the calendar instantly, and there is no need to duplicate data.
With everything from a powerful calendar and quoting system, through sophisticated business reporting, Moraware JobTracker allows users to save time and get organized.
Moraware JobTracker Standard Edition eliminates the time fabricators and installers waste on scheduling and paperwork. JobTracker Standard Edition is scheduling and job management software that uses a simple Web browser-based interface. It can be configured to manage the variety of jobs done by stone fabricators and other specialty contractors.
JobTracker Standard Edition is a multi-user system, where changes made by one person are immediately accessible to everyone in the office, shop and in the field using mobile devices. Dealers, builders and other customers may also log into JobTracker to see dates and other information about their jobs.
Moraware JobTracker Standard Edition users who want to integrate their quoting, purchasing and inventory can upgrade to JobTracker Enterprise Edition.
Moraware JobTracker Basic Edition is affordable and easy-to-use scheduling and job management software designed for businesses that want to eliminate the time they waste scheduling and looking for paperwork.
As a subscription service, JobTracker Basic Edition lets customers get started without installing any software, and no upfront purchase is required. There are no long-term contracts, and Moraware offers an unconditional 90-day refund policy.
Park Industries offers Synergy Inventory software as a database that allows fabricators to maximize material inventory and yield by having an easy-to-use inventory management database. Among many benefits, it aims to help fabricators solve problems such as remnant pieces cluttering their stone yard.
The Synergy Inventory software tracks each slab of material from the time is it photographed at the Pathfinder Digital Photo station until is has been processed. The remnants are barcoded and filed in the inventory database. This software gives fabricators the ability to easily store and manage remnant pieces digitally without retaking a photo.
Users just have to print a new barcode tag and place on the remnant. The barcode stores remnant information, including the slab bundle, slab block, size of the remnant, color and thickness, among other details.
Another feature of the Synergy Inventory software lies in its reporting capabilities. Users can create user-defined inventory reports, which can be easily exported into an Excel file. The Synergy Inventory software allows fabricators to sort inventory through a variety - or a combination of - 12 different filters.
Diversified Shop/Field ProductAkemi’s new color-matched polyester adhesive kit provides the stone professional/installation professional with 15 pre-mixed Mixbond adhesives that are used in combination with each other to match virtually any color of natural and engineered stone, the company reports. With a solid pre-mixed base color, the professional is able to easily adjust for shades without having to use coloring tints. Refills are also available.
Akemi reports that its countertop repair kit contains everything a professional needs to repair scratches, small holes, chips and damaged edges on all natural and engineered stone surfaces, regardless of the finish. Specially formulated adhesives cure in minutes using a special UV light, included in the kit. Also included are special structure crystals that can be mixed into the adhesive to mimic the structure of the stone to be repaired. Repairs can be made in minutes, according to the company, and they are invisible.
Bellinzoni Special Preparation Paste Wax is a high-grade wax for marble, granite, travertine and other stone surfaces. The company reports that Special Preparation is a quick-drying formula that penetrates the stone, giving the stone a superb, long-lasting sheen while deepening the color. The product is not to be used on floors.
StonEpoxy from Bellinzoni is a highly resistant, fast-setting, two-component epoxy resin adhesive used for setting and bonding marble, granite or ceramic on floors and walls. Ston Epoxy can also be used for the repair, reinforcement or bonding of concrete, mortar, natural stone, screed and bricks. When mixed, the adhesive becomes a smooth, easy-to-use paste, which can be applied to a thickness of 0.39 inches (1 cm).
According to Bellinzoni, StonEpoxy hardens in about three hours, will not shrink and can be used in temperatures between 41 and 75 degrees F.
The E-Z Bracket from Braxton-Bragg was designed by a veteran home builder with 30 years of experience, including hundreds of kitchen installations. The E-Z Bracket eliminates the many problems associated with anchoring dishwashers. The company points out that current anchors used by countertop installers require the dishwasher to be present. Attaching the dishwasher to the sides of the cabinet alone can potentially damage the cabinet over time.
E-Z Bracket attaches to the cabinet with wood screws as well as to the countertop with impact-absorbing adhesive caulk or silicone. It is made to accommodate virtually any dishwasher on the market, and it may be installed prior to or after countertop installation. There is no need for the dishwasher to be on site, due to the multiple attachment locations. Countertop installers need only install the bracket across the top of the dishwasher bay, flush tabs to face of cabinet and install the screws provided with the bracket at each end.
GranQuartz has released the first edition of a catalog exclusively covering safety products for the stone industry. This eight-page catalog, entitled the “GranQuartz Complete Protection & Safety Equipment Catalog,” covers GranQuartz’s product offering in each of eight key stone shop safety categories:
- Engineered dust control systems
- Material handling
- First aid
- General shop safety
- Personal protective equipment, including, hand, respiratory, eye, head, hearing and foot protection
“This catalog is the culmination of a tremendous effort by GranQuartz to compile a comprehensive, best-in-class safety program,” said Dave Flanagan, Product Manager for GranQuartz. “GranQuartz built this program around key suppliers that we partnered with because of the leadership within their respective product categories, the innovation of their product lines and the commitment to safety evident in the engineering, production and quality control of their industry-leading, high quality safety solutions.”
New for the owners of Omni Cubed Sink Hole Savers (SHS), the SHS Backsplash Mount Bracket is now available for easier manual polishing of backsplash pieces. The mount brackets attach to any length of Sink Hole Saver rail - lengths of 4, 6 or 8 feet - to create a versatile backsplash polishing stand which can be easily mounted to workbenches, truck tailgates or walls. The unit securely holds pieces at the desired height and at any polishing angle, with 0 to 90 degrees of adjustment. There are no worries of backsplash breakage, Omni Cubed reports, as the Sink Hole Saver provides protection of the piece during polishing. One set includes two mount brackets for use with one Sink Hole Saver.