Fabricator Case Studies

Focused on the high-end market

September 1, 2011
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In 1987, Tom Kilfoyle built upon his experience as a tile installer and founded United Marble Fabricators. Today, the company operates a technologically advanced shop and upscale showroom in Watertown, MA, and it has developed a reputation as a leading high-end stone and tile supplier in the region.

“When I first started fabricating, we were doing mostly marble, which is why we’re named United Marble,” explained Tom Kilfoyle. “We actually worked in 2-cm material at the time, but moved into 3-cm.”

Today, the company specializes in supplying stone and tile for upscale projects in the area, and it also has a sister company in Watertown named United Tile America. “We have the ability to be high capacity, but we found as we go along, that a more high-end market is a better fit for us,” he said.

The company has been in its current location for 12 years, and equipment includes a Northwood CNC stoneworking center. The machine is equipped with ADI UHS (Ultra High Speed) CNC tooling from GranQuartz and vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA.

A radial arm polisher from SSC of Italy is used for honing the surface of materials as requested, and it features a large bed to allow for finishing larger pieces. Meanwhile, edges are processed as needed on a Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M from Italy.

Although the company has made a number of investments in technology over the years, it still cuts material using the original Terzago saw that it purchased when it was first established. “That machine is a workhorse,” Tom Kilfoyle said. “There is nothing on it to break down.”

All of the equipment operates wet, and water is recycled using an EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies. Meanwhile, air is provided to the shop using a unit from Kaeser Compressors of Fredericksburg, VA.

Material is moved around the shop using jib cranes with vacuum lifters, and storage racks from Groves and Weha are also in place. United Marble emphasizes maintaining a safe work environment, and it has taken part in volunteer safety inspections by OSHA.

Templating is completed using assembled Luan strips, which are then scanned on a digitizing board from Template Technologies, Inc. To follow each job being processed in the company’s facilities, United Marble uses the JobTracker system from Moraware of Reno, NV.

The shop has a total of six employees, including Tom Kilfoyle’s son, John, along with three installation crews of two people each and three staffers in the company’s showroom.

Residential work comprises 90% of the company’s business. “We do a lot of contractor work, and a lot of it comes through word of mouth,” Tom Kilfoyle explained.

Production for United Marble stands at approximately five kitchens per week, plus tub decks, vanities and other stonework. “A lot of the residential jobs that we do are the whole package,” John Kilfoyle said. ‘That would be the kitchen, the vanities, the tilework, thresholds, tub decks. People like a one-stop place where they can finish the kitchen and multiple bathrooms. We are also seeing more outdoor firepits and barbecues, which are really complete kitchens themselves.”

The showroom is located in downtown Watertown, and it features an open layout that allows United Marble to showcase full-sized slabs as well as a range of completed vignettes using stone in tile, slab, mosaic and other formats. The shop, which also showcases a range of ceramic tile products, is staffed by Tom Kilfoyle’s daughter Kristen, among other design consultants.

In terms of materials, the company typically works with high-end materials, including exotics, white marble and soapstone. “We are also fabricating slate from Vermont Structural Slate,” John Kilfoyle said. “We treat it like we’re working with white marble; like a Calacatta. We are doing one or two slate projects each month, and we’ve had a nice relationship with them.”                

United Marble

Watertown, MA

Type of work: slab processing and tile work for residential applications

Technology: Northwood CNC stoneworking center, which is equipped with ADI UHS (Ultra High Speed) CNC tooling from GranQuartz and vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA; radial arm polisher from SSC of Italy; Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M edge processor from Italy; bridge saw from Terzago of Italy; EnviroSystem from Water Treatment Technologies; air compressor from Kaesar Compressors of Fredericksburg, VA; storage racks from Groves and Weha; digitizing board from Template Technologies, Inc.; JobTracker system from Moraware of Reno, NV

Number of Employees: Six

Production Rate: approximately five kitchens per week, plus tub decks, vanities and other stonework as well as tile work

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