Agglomerate stone producer adds new plant

September 18, 2001
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
As a manufacturer of composite stone products for over 30 years, Santa Margherita of Volargne (VR), Italy has become a world leader in this sector of the industry. And it recently added to its status by establishing its newest Bretonstone plant, adding to its existing operation for producing agglomerate stone.

The company has been producing Bretonstone products since 1988, starting with 122- x 122-cm slabs and eventually manufacturing larger slabs. The new plant will focus on the production for 305- x 140-cm slabs, with a maximum thickness of 3 cm. Production in the 10,000-square-meter plant began in the fall of last year, and the facility can manufacture 1,000 square meters of material in a 9-hour shift. Over the course of the year, the company is looking to run two shifts in the new plant each day.

The new facility is divided into two sections - production of slabs and finishing of slabs - and virtually all of the production, handling and finishing equipment is from Breton. The manufacturing process for the product, which is 94% quartz and 6% polyester resin, begins by extracting the raw material from silos. The first operation is mixing the quartzite with the resin and pigment, and there are two possible mixing processes, depending on the final product. For monocolor products, the pigment is added during the initial mixing process. For bi-color products - such as a material with a dark green surface and light green accents - the two shades are mixed separately, and are then combined later in the process.

After mixing, the material is poured into a rubber mold, and a polyurethane film is placed on top. The slab then moves through a press, and then into an oven that heats the slab for 18 minutes. The protective film is then automatically removed and stacked with other film. The mold is automatically separated from the slab, and a vacuum lifter moves the slab to a cooling unit, while another line cleans and recycles the rubber mold.

Once the slabs are cooled, they are automatically unloaded from the line, and a crane delivers them to the finishing line. The rough edges of the slab (approximately 2 cm) are trimmed away, and the slabs then move to calibration. Two polishers - a 6-head Levibreton KCP and an 8-head Levibreton KCP - are used for calibrating, and polished slabs continue onto an 18-head Levibreton KFG.

After calibration and polishing, the slabs are then dried. When the agglomerate material is being made into tiles, the slabs go through a cross cutter, and then through another section of the finishing line that bevels all four edges of the tile. The tiles are then dried and automatically packed in boxes and stamped with a sticker denoting the name of the tile, the production date and the UPC code. Another machine automatically picks up the boxes and places them onto a palette.

The increased production of Bretonstone - which had stood at 7,000 square meters per day prior to the expansion - was due to increased market demand, according to the company. Santa Margherita's directors decided that its 60,000-square-meter factory was no longer able to satisfy demand for the product. The layout and machinery of the new facility was determined by working directly with representatives from Breton, which has a fully equipped research laboratory to help determine new technical and aesthetic solutions for Bretonstone products.

Varieties of agglomerate stone include Agglosimplex (made of marble chips and polyester resins); Marghestone (made of marble grits and polyester resins) and Crystal Stone (made of marble grits with colored glass inserts). Slabs are used for applications such as kitchen countertops and vanity tops - primarily for residential and hotel projects.

A total of 95% of the company's production is exported, and the European Union is the company's top export market, led by Germany. The U.S. is the second strongest export target, and Santa Margherita is currently looking to increase its presence in the American market.

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

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


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 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 to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube