Real Stone and Granite: Weathering the storm with digital technology
With 35 versatile employees and a state-of-the-art fabrication facility, Real Stone and Granite of Fort Pierce, FL has survived the recession and come out thriving.
Jose Ubilla, President of Real Stone and Granite of Fort Pierce, FL, started out in Miami in 1985, when the tile industry was booming, and natural stone was used exclusively in very high-end homes. He was immediately drawn to stone due to its natural beauty and its endless possibilities, and with a shop filled with advanced digital technology, the company was able to endure the prolonged economic downturn and has fully rebounded.
Real Stone and Granite is a custom fabricator of all type of natural stone, and it specializes in higher-end exotic materials such as quartzite, onyx, agates, etc. In addition to countertops, the company also handles three-dimensional architectural pieces such as columns, fireplaces, monolithic tubs and molding applications.
Real Stone and Granite has 35 total employees, most of whom can perform all aspects of the trade — from templating to installation. It completes projects throughout Florida and the Caribbean, as well as across Southeast U.S., New York and Central America. With a very well diversified client base, Ubilla’s company does work for architects, designers and builders.
An advanced facility
Real Stone and Granite has what it describes as to be one of the most sophisticated fabrication facilities in the state of Florida. The shop utilizes two bridge saws for “everyday” including a Yukon bridge saw from Park Industries and another from Pedrini M920 of Italy, which has full CNC capabilities for the most intricate cuts and shapes. A Flow waterjet is also an integral part of the operation due to its versatility and precision.
For edgework, the company utilizes a Pro-Edge III straight-polishing machine from Park Industries along with a Comandulli Omega 100 straight edger. More complex edgework is completed using a fully automatic Prussiani CNC stoneworking center.
“For the smaller backsplash pieces we utilize the Sasso Flying Flat,” Ubilla said. “And last but not least, the ever wonderful Wizard by Park Industries is our ‘jack of all trades.’ I call it that simply because it can be used for so many types of work, from shaping and polishing edges, to creating a brushed or honed finish on slabs or tiles. It is truly a workhorse. At GranQuartz, we obtain the best diamond tooling at very competitive prices. They always have everything just in time for our use, so we don’t have to inventory a great deal of tooling.”
Additionally, material is maneuvered around the shop with vacuum lifters from Wood’s Powr-Grip.
Real Stone and Granite hasn’t seen the need to invest much in new machinery over the last few years. “All of our existing equipment is very well maintained in-house, and it runs like brand new, said Ubilla. “It has not been necessary to add equipment mainly due to the past economic downturn, which is now gone and on the way to recovery.
“One area that we did invest in is a brand new templating system from Prodim,” Ubilla continued. “Our most recent acquisition is the Proliner three-dimensional template machine. What a beauty this technology is.”
The Proliner is very useful because, with this machine, the company can create a DXF file right there on the job. The customer can actually see their templates on the screen and sign off on the spot. Conversion from photos or other methods, which can be very time consuming and many times inaccurate, are no longer needed.
In another positive sign for the industry, Ubilla reports that he is adding more employees to increase capacity as the market rebounds. “Depending on the intricacy of the jobs, we can measure productivity in two ways: one, the amount of custom work and two, simple production,” Ubilla said.
“At full capacity, we can yield up to 12 small kitchens and vanities when it comes to production,” he continued.“But no matter what, we always treat the highly customized jobs as a separate line in the fabrication shop. You cannot rush when it comes to craftsmanship.”
To be expected, Ubilla said that the industry still has its challenges. “As a custom fabricator who pays a great deal of attention to the details of the job, we are always at the mercy of all the other trades and their schedules and level of quality”, said Ubilla. “It is always nice to work with other trades that care about the jobs and meet their schedules and deadlines, so that no one ends up with the added pressures for delays or unnecessary rushing that can always jeopardize a perfect finish.”
Real Stone and Granite
Fort Pierce, FL
Type of Work:Countertops as well as three-dimensional architectural pieces such as columns, fireplaces, monolithic tubs and molding applications
Technology:M920 CNC bridge saw from Pedrini of Italy; Yukon bridge saw from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; waterjet from Flow International of Kent, WA; Omega 100 edging machine from Comandulli of Italy; Pro-Edge III edging machine from Park Industries; CNC stoneworking center from Prussiani of Italy; Flying Flat backsplash polisher from Sasso; tooling from GranQuartz; Prodim Proliner digital templating system from Prodim USA of Fort Pierce, FL