Capitalizing on specialty stones
May 1, 2010
Founded by Orazio Conterno more than 40 years ago, and still operated by the Conterno family today, Marmi Graniti Favorita of Vicenza, Italy, initially quarried and processed marble - typical of the stoneworking operations of its time. Over the years, it expanded into the production of finished and semi-finished products in granite and other stones. Today, the company specialty is processing one-of-a-kind materials. It works with a range of unique materials from around the world, including a broad variety of onyx slabs as well as unique materials in granite and sought-after white marbles such as Calacatta.
Currently, 70% of Marmi Graniti Favorita’s production is granite, and 30% is onyx and marble.
During the slab-production process, stone blocks are processed on one of four Italian-made gangsaws, including three from Barsanti and one from Simec. The company is also planning to invest in a multi-wire system for cutting blocks into slabs.
Raw slabs are then calibrated on an 18-head honing line from Simec, and once calibrated, they are delivered to the resin-treatment line as needed. This line includes large-scale units from Simec that allow for treatment of many slabs at once. The calibrated slabs first enter a drying unit, and then resin products from Tenax of Italy are applied either automatically or by hand, depending on the material being processed. The resin-treated slabs are then placed in an automated curing unit that can accommodate 40 slabs at once, and after the curing process is complete, the slabs receive their final polish on one of two Simec polishing lines.
Among the resin products in use at the plant, Marmi Graniti Favorita utilizes an anti-bacterial epoxy resin coating from Tenax. The treatment provides an optimal level of resistance to bacteria, which is particularly important for residential kitchen applications.
Additionally, the plant uses a new Tenax resin technology, Glaxs, which protects the material from yellowing when exposed to UV rays. Tenax has also developed a special formulation of Glaxs for softer stone materials.
In all, approximately 40% of the slab material processed at Marmi Graniti Favorita is treated with resin.
The use of new technology is consistent with the company’s goal to continually improve its production methods. “Updated development strategies give us new opportunities of research and investigation of materials and processing techniques,” stated Marmi Graniti Favorita. “Efficient procurement of raw materials and organization of the production system have been reached thanks to important alliances with leading [stone technology] companies.”
In addition to producing slabs, Marmi Graniti Favorita also processes stone tiles. In this operation, blocks are first processed on one of several Simec blockcutters, which cut the blocks into workable strips. The strips are then processed into tiles on a complete Simec tile line and packaged for shipment.
In terms of marketing, Marmi Graniti Favorita is targeting growth in Italy and beyond. “The company is strongly engaged, now more than ever, in a policy of commercial expansion on the national and foreign markets,” stated Marmi Graniti Favorita. As evidence of the company’s commitment to the international marketplace, 100% of exotic production is exported, and markets include nations in Europe as well as the U.S.