Fabricator How-to / Technology / Equipment

Evaluating machinery purchases

January 4, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+
Trans

Choosing what machine you want — and when you buy it — is a huge step for most fabrication shops. With the continuing development of new equipment and digitial technology, the choices are endless for saws, CNC routers and operator-assisted fabrication machines.

Operator-assisted machines, while less advanced than full CNC machinery, are here to stay in this industry. They are generally much lower priced than fully automatic machines, and they are very familiar to most who have any history in the stone industry. These types of machines are usually developed by individuals seeking a more efficient path to achieving an end process or product.

Operator-assisted machines range from single-use machines like the Blue Ripper and Edgemate tool lines to multi-function machines like the Fab King and the Ghines Systhema fabrication center.

CNC machinery has become the standard for both intricate work and production volume. The ability of CNC saws, waterjets and routers has really expanded the possibilities of what is possible, practical and profitable for fabricators of all sizes.

It is now possible for a small two-man shop to turn out complex stonework in a timely and profitable fashion with the use of a CNC “fabcenter.” A fabcenter is the concept of a CNC saw/router combination for a small shop or modular processing solution for a larger shop. There are many versions available from leading manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe.

It is quite standard for a large-volume shop to have multiple CNC routers and at least one CNC cutting solution (CNC saw or saw/water jet combination). There are many advantages to an automated shop. First is the sheer volume that can be produced. But production is only the tip of the iceberg. An automated CNC shop can track job information through scheduling software, and it can track production through CAD/CAM software.

There is no “perfect time” to buy new machinery; it varies for everyone. There are many things to consider in addition to the actual cost of the machine. There are logistical costs, water, electrical power and air to operate the machine. There will be a learning curve until your crew is up to feeling comfortable with the machine — and so you feel comfortable with them and your $250,000 investment. A new machine will change the dynamic of your shop and perhaps of your workforce, whether it is an operator-assisted machine or a fully integrated CNC setup.

It is certainly exciting to have a new machine in any shop. It is always the buzz of the shop until it becomes standard operating procedure. In my opinion, the best thing a new machine does is that it gets people excited about the stone business. It renews and reinvigorates the morale of a shop like nothing else can, with a positive outlook for the future.  

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

Recent Articles by Dan Riccolo

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

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.

Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

CSTD_Spring2014_Cover.jpg

2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How_To_Polish_&_Restore_Mar.gif
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

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!

  

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 stoneindustryeducation.com to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook logo Twitter  YouTube