Industry Insights

Know the process of slab manufacturing

May 10, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
When I visit large-scale slab processing plants around the world, the owners and managers I meet always make sure that I see the latest materials that they are offering to the marketplace. It makes sense, because when a producer finds an exclusive on a desirable material, it can make a big difference in a very crowded marketplace. And since we want Stone World to serve as a "source book" for the industry, we are always eager to showcase these new materials.

But in addition to the materials, we always make it a priority to showcase the manufacturing process, and understanding this process can be critical for fabricators.

Whether a fabricator is importing directly or buying through their local distributors, they should understand the process that was used for creating the slabs that they will be cutting. Some terrific developments have taken place in terms of slab processing, but it is not only the level of technology in place, but also the overall process.

Here is just a sample of what I am looking for at a slab-processing plant.

  • How is the plant cutting their blocks into slabs? Are they using gangsaws? Have they upgraded to multi-wire saws? Either one is fine, but a plant with multi-wire saws might have some expanded product selections in terms of slab thickness.
  • Are the blocks being trimmed before processing?
  • In addition to applying resin products automatically, do they have a system in place for applying resin by hand for certain exotics that may require it? Are they using resin products from a proven manufacturer of these products? 
  • How much block inventory do they have? Do they have a good inventory of their "exclusive" materials?
  • What level of polishing technology is in place? What type of abrasives are they using?

For those of us not lucky enough to get to Brazil or Italy each year, these are questions that can be posed to your importer/distributor. They should know -- or at the very least, they should be able to find out. You might not need to be asking these questions for every material you buy, but it might be a good idea when working with certain materials. It is very important for me to point out here that there is not a single model that defines the "best" slab producers, because plants have different machinery and methods for different levels of materials. I can say that some of the most efficient slab producers in the world rely on gangsaws, and many plants known for "standard" materials rarely (if ever) need their resin products applied by hand. As part of our lineup of articles in Stone World, we regularly showcase as many slab producers as we can in our print and online editions, including two Brazilian companies in the "How-To" section of this ENewsletter. I know it's not the same as actually going to Brazil and enjoying a Caipirinha or two in the evening, but at least you get to see the manufacturing process.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

Recent Articles by Michael Reis

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

The Stone Fashion Show at Marmomacc in Verona

As usual, stone suppliers from Italy and around the world relied on the Marmomacc fair to showcase some of the latest stone materials to the international marketplace. The following is a look at just some of the stone materials on display in Verona.

Stone World Magazine

Stone World September 2014 cover

2014 September

In this issue of Stone World, we have a Report from Europe, which includes a series of articles about the quarries and stone processing operations that SW editor Jennifer Adams visited as part of the Marmomacc Stone Academy.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD Fall 2014 cover

2014 Fall

In this issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design, we take a look at the latest developments in TPT, with a feature article and you can read more comments from Waldrep on this subject as well as other industry professionals.

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Are you aware of the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Stone Guide

2014 Stone World Stone Guide

The directory for Stone, Equipment and Supplies - the single information resource readers turn to.

Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTubeGoogle+