A study in organization

April 1, 2005
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When it was incorporated as a private limited company in 1992, Santoro Marmi of Custonaci, Trapani, drew on over 40 years of experience by brothers Guiseppe and Vincenzo Santoro, the owners of the company. And today, the company has a broad range of measures in place to ensure optimum quality in all phases of production.

Santoro Marmi has two quarrying units and two administrative and processing units, all located within 2.5 miles of one another. Products offered by the company include blocks, slabs, tiles and cut-to-size pieces, and the company has 75 employees, including workers and clerical staff. It also relies on 30 self-employed technicians, consultants and intermediaries.

Since its foundation, Santoro Marmi has become one of the leading producers of Custonaci Perlato Classico, Custonaci Green Wave and Custonaci Mediterranean Ivory. Custonaci Perlato Classico is characterized by its unique crystallization, color and low porosity, while Green Wave and Mediterranean Ivory have distinguished veining and shading. All of these stones are suitable for indoor and outdoor flooring and wall cladding.

To ensure production quality and efficiency is at the highest standard, the company underwent the process of being awarded ISO 9002 certification. The stages of quality control begin as soon as blocks are extracted from the quarry. The stone is assessed, and all blocks receive a code that denotes its dimensions, quality of color, veining, cracks, etc. Every item processed has five different grades in which it can be categorized, and each step of the production sequence is tracked to ensure customer satisfaction.

The blocks are processed on either blockcutters, gangsaws or bridge saws, depending on the finished product. For slab production, the company has a range of BM gangsaws, which run day and night. Slabs are also treated with resin products at Santoro's large-scale Simec resin plant, which includes two massive driers. The first drier removes all moisture to the slab prior to the resin application, thus ensuring the deepest possible penetration of the resin. After the resin is applied, slabs then move on to a second drier, which quickly cures the resin and allows for a high rate of production.

After leaving the resin plant, slabs receive their final polish on a Simec NP 2100 RX polishing line, which has 16 working heads.

For tile processing, blocks are cut into strips on a blockcutter, including new equipment from Terzago, and tile products are also treated with resin.

Of course, a key factor for achieving quality control at Santoro is the diligence of its workers, and all products -- tiles, slabs, cut-to-size pieces and blocks -- are inspected for quality prior to packaging and shipment. Virtually all of production (95%) is exported, with markets in Europe, North America, Asia and northern Africa.

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