A continual focus on product expansion
June 1, 2010
With a state-of-the-art factory in Serra, Espírito Santo, Brazil, Zucchi Granite was established by Jonas Zucchi in 1994, and it has become a major player among Brazilian stone exporters. Over the years, the company has continually invested in technology, research and development and marketing, and it is emphasizing the production of exotic materials for a worldwide client base.
Zucchi strives to offer new product releases on a regular basis, and it makes daily product selections of premium blocks at over 60 quarries. For the past few years, Zucchi Granite has expanded its quarry research, discovering stones not before seen in the marketplace. In addition to processing these materials for export to the U.S., Zucchi Granite has also expanded sales worldwide.
Advanced slab processingSlab production at Zucchi Granite begins with blocks, which are processed on one of six jumbo gangsaws from Gaspari Menotti of Italy. When working with exotics, the blocks are first squared on one of two wire saws from Bidesimpianti of Italy. Additionally, some of the exotic blocks are “wrapped” with a unique resin reinforcement system from Tenax of Italy. During this process, a layer of resin product is applied to the exterior of the block, followed by reinforcement netting. A second application of resin is then applied, and the blocks cure before being processed on the gangsaws.
Once raw slabs are produced, they are thoroughly washed before further production. After this step, the raw slabs are honed/calibrated on a Levibreton honing line before moving onto the automated vacuum resin line.
During the resin-application process, slabs are first placed in a large-scale oven/drier to remove all moisture and humidity from the slab. Then resin products from Tenax are applied and slabs are conveyed to a vacuum chamber to make the resin penetrate deeply into all the pores and depressions. Experienced workers at Zucchi often apply finishing resin by hand as needed so they can concentrate on areas of an exotic slab that may require more application. Once all of the resin is applied, the slabs are placed in a second large-scale drier to optimize the curing process.
After the resin-application process is completed, slabs receive their final polish on one of two Levibreton KG 2000 slab-polishing lines from Breton of Italy.
In addition to traditional polishing equipment, Zucchi Granite has machinery in place that has made the company a specialist in book-matched slab material, including a unit that automatically “flips” the slabs over in the proper sequence to allow for perfect book-matching. These book-matched slab products have been popular for a range of applications, including residential kitchens and large center islands.
All slabs are automatically loaded and unloaded from the processing lines, and they are carefully inspected as they come off the polishing lines. All inventory is carefully tracked and classified, and finished slabs receive a barcode sticker with all relevant information.
Green initiativesSince its foundation, Zucchi Granite has worked to respect the environment and grow in a sustainable manner. The company’s headquarters are established on a property of 740 acres, of which 20% is preserved native forest. The remaining area has been restored and prepared to receive 200,000 eucalyptus trees, which are used in the fabrication of the wooden bundles used to ship slabs overseas.
In terms of water recycling, Zucchi Granite has implemented several projects over the years with the goal of optimizing the use of water at all the levels of the industrial process. All gangsaws are run with reclaimed water. A closed-loop system has allowed the company to increase production capacity, while treating and reusing 100% of the water captured.
Another environmental initiative addresses waste management, specifically the mud generated by the block-cutting process. Zucchi Granite has designed part of its property to safely store this waste, and it has been granted a license to manage the waste of its stone processing from the state institute for the environment (IEMA).
Currently, Zucchi Granite is producing 325,000 square feet of slabs per month, although its capacity would allow for a higher production rate if needed. A total of 650,000 square feet of slabs are maintained as regular inventory for prompt delivery. More than half of the company’s exports are shipped to the U.S., particularly the exotic materials.
In total, Zucchi Granite has 150 workers, including the office and sales.