Fabricating Technology roundup

January 17, 2002
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Each year, the technology for fabricating natural stone continues to advance, allowing fabricators to produce more intricate stone designs with greater efficiency and lower costs.

And in addition to new machinery, manufacturers of stoneworking equipment have also upgraded existing equipment. Moreover, the producers of stoneworking accessories --particularly as diamond technology --have updated their product selections.

The following is a roundup of some of the more recent developments for stone fabricators.

Sawing

From simple cuts to the most sophisticated shapes, the M 940 CN bridge saw from Pedrini, available in North America from U.S. Granite Machinery of Barrington, IL, is able to cut stone for a broad range of applications.

The M 940 CN can operate with automated cycles (supplied as accessories) or with external pro-gramming (such as CAD/CAM), which can be transferred via floppy disk or through local network connections .

An industrial PC controls six movements --the linear and circular interpolations of each XY-XZ-YX axes couples as well as the linear interpolation of the XYZ triad.

Proper software will enable the saw to execute curved trajectories on the XYZ triad by splitting them into interpolated linear sections. Through the computer’s "Touch Screen" or with .DFX files from AutoCAD, it is possible to input the drawing of the desired shape.

The electrospindle of the Pedrini M 940 CN can also be mounted with milling cutters and profiled wheels.

ASM, a manufacturer of stone cutting and sawing equipment based in northern England,

officially launched its line of high-performance computerized profiling saws and free-standing block saws at StonExpo 2001. Products that will be offered by ASM in the U.S. include: CNC profiling saws, angling bridge saws, free-standing saws, block saws, splitting machines/guillotines and special purpose machinery built to customer specifications.

The company offers the angling bridge saw in a number of variations. Among the features available are blade sizes from 400 to 1,200 mm, push-button rise and lowering, and a turntable that rotates 360 degrees. The bridge rotates 45 degrees, allowing step cutting through a non-vertical cut without having to reposition the material. The saw comes in manual operation or fully automatic versions, the latter of which features linear straight line profiling to a template. The basic model has been designed to sit on concrete pillars, although steel supports can be specified. The saw has a lockable rack-and-pinion, hand-driven bogey on rails, ensuring that it can be re-positioned for the optimum cutting position.

The GSC-2001 bridge saw from Matrix Stone Products of Upland, CA, is constructed using high-grade components. A powerful 20-hp direct-drive Italian sawing motor ensures no horsepower loss through V-belt and pulleys. The motors feature variable speed control with fingertip adjustability for precise control of each motion and smooth reliable operation and correct feed rates.

The heavy-duty bridge construction, with a precision-ground saw bridge, allows for straight cutting without vibration interference. Precision guideways allow for rigid, smooth up and down movement. A German-laser reduces layout time and maximizes use of the entire slab. Also, an amperage meter allows for maximum cutting efficiency, resulting in faster cutting speeds and longer blade life, Matrix reports.

The heavy-duty rotary saw table features four positive position stop locks for accurate angle cutting and the "Any Angle Position Lock" for easy angle set-up. Additionally, it features a remote control pendant and electric water control valve to make operation convenient for the worker.

The saw is installed by Matrix factory personnel, and the machine features a full 12-month warranty.

Marmo Meccanica USA of Southfield, MI, has released the "new" HTO-1/O. The machine package has been modified to include many features previously available only at an extra cost. The list of standard features includes an automatic programmer, allowing for manual, semi-automatic and multiple automatic bridge movement and cutting functions. The table is now a fully automatic, electric-drive, tilting table for easy slab loading. In addition, the table can be locked electrically at any angle. The HTO-1/O is equipped with a 12.5-hp, direct-drive motor. This features the equipment of a 20-hp, belt-drive motor.

Levi Tunisi of has developed the LT 251, a continuous sawing machine for longitudinal cutting and trimming marble strips and slabs. Using the special piece-holding templates, it is possible to produce stone pieces with special shapes for liners, frets and mosaics. The rigid structure of the machine’s electro-welded steel grants stability and eliminates vibrations. The speed of the conveyor belt is adjustable by a multi-speed motor. The machine is also available in a model for cutting granite. The machines are supplied completely assembled and can be positioned and started up without the intervention of skilled personnel. They are offered in two models, with cutting widths of either 500 or 800 mm.

Gravellona Macchine Marmo (GMM) offers the Lexta 36, a versatile profiling bridge saw, available through Bergman-Blair Machine Corp. of Oyster Bay, NY. The Lexta is able to satisfy the requirements of all types of marble and granite fabricators with its range of features, according to the company. The high-production machine includes a motorized tilting head, an inverter for varying disc speeds, an automatic and motorized table, a laser and a copying device. The Lexta is a user-friendly saw with an electrical cabinet mounted beside the machine, mobile push button controls, a floppy disc drive and TFT color touch screen. It is capable of handling cuts up to 305 mm deep with blades up to 825 mm in diameter.

The Bravo line of bridge saws from WEHA includes five models to suit all fabricating requirements. The E/6.0 features a high level of standard technical features at a low price. The E/8.0 is engineered for a balance of functionality and reliability; the 8.0 CNC features four or five axes for high performance; the S/12.0 features height adjustment of 1,000 mm; and the 12.0 CNC offers the possibility of working automatically within a large working area. All machines include a granite step cutting program; an automatic sequential cutting program; automatic last cut facility; support guide bearings; stainless steel guards; and a turntable with a galvanized top. Also, all of the machines, have a cutting length of 3,600 mm.

The Cemar SG725 bridge saw, available from Pyramid Supply of Barre, VT, features a cast iron structure, with the bridge sliding on roller cages in an oil bath, supported by interchangeable temperated steel slideways. The manually revolving work table features a pneumatic bold for locking on stud bolts at 0 and 90 degrees. The spindle operates at variable speed from 0 to 18 meters per minute, and the machine also features an inclinable head and an automatic clamping unit. Users can choose between two control panels, a basic version and a more advanced panel with the Cemar-Ecovisax programmer.

The Kolb KX Blueline bridge saw with turntable, available through K.B Diamond of North Hollywood, CA, was engineered as a cost-effective machine for smaller and medium-sized fabrication shops. The machine’s cutting unit runs on 8-fold ball bearings, and the heavy-duty turntable takes loads up to 5 tons and can be locked in any desired position. The machine features a cutting length of 3,500 mm and a cutting depth of 120 mm, accommodating blade diameters of up to 400 mm.

The FPZ 500 bridge saw from Zonato is available through International Machine Corp. of Woodside, NY and San Francisco. The saw comes with standard features such as a 15-hp direct drive main motor, a 12- x 7-foot cutting table and a variable speed gantry and cross travel. The FPZ 500 also has a table that locks in any position and a digital display for bridge movements. Optional accessories include a 0- to 90-degree manual blade miter, a laser sighting system, a movable remote control panel arm, a tilting hydraulic turntable, a two speed motor for marble and granite and an automatic program system. The Zonato FPZ 500 can also be further customized according to the customer’s specifications.

Terzago has developed the Plana/SE universal electronic milling machine (bridge saw) with a rotating table. According to the company, the most important practical aspect of the machine is its versatility. The bridge saw features a single spindle which rotates from 0 degrees (horizontal) to 90 degrees (vertical), allowing both traditional cutting by blade or contouring with various routers.

The medium-sized machine is suitable for producing worked pieces, shaped pieces and can be used on blocks up to 132 mm in thickness in marble, granite and similar stones.

The main CNC functions include the following: programs for common blade usage; memory for over 20 cycles for tap/plug holes, hollowing different shapes and sizes, and shaping kitchen/bathroom tops; horizontal and vertical cutting axes of the cutting unit, bridge translation and automatic turntable; table rotation; electronic inclination for the cutting unit; programs for single stroke marble cutting/small step-cutting for granite with programmed cutting depths; cut/return speed and last cut speed with different programmable settings.

The CNC unit also controls the angles for the automatic table, which can be programmed for continuous circular and/or orthogonal cuts. Profile cutting is achieved with linear and circular interpolation of the vertical and horizontal axes. Rough hollowing and finishing, concave and convex cycles are achieved by interpolation of x- and z-axis strokes with y-axis strokes. The machine can process CAD-designed profiles and shapes with a specific program to convert CAD/CAM ISO programs. The saw features automated operational cycles, and the presence of an operator is not required.

Suited to all marble and granite fabricating shops, the Pratika S/A-A from Terzago Macchine features a main frame bench in highly resistant cast iron for stability and reduced vibration. A motor of reduced dimensions connects directly to the disc and is quieted by a soundproofed disc guard. The head tilts from 0 to 90 degrees for marble and granite cutting, and the vertical movement of the operating head is obtained by an auto-braking motor controlled by an encoder on prismatic guide coupling. The manually rotated bench locks every 90 degrees, while the automatic rotating bench can be locked in positions from 0 to 360 degrees. The Pratika’s control panel arm has an LCD graphics monitor to view data. A semi-automatic version of this machine is also offered, and available options include CAD/CAM (ISO code) program reading, an RS 232 serial connection, an external PC with graphics interface, electronic adjustment of cutting and return limit switches for operating head and program setting, the ability to carry out CAD-drawn profiles and shapes and an electronically controlled inverter for all required speeds.

The Rapida Electronic bridge saw is another offering from Terzago. This machine, which can cut marble, granite and other stones, was designed for inexpensive installation and ease of use. The machine is constructed in cast iron for stability, low resonance and durability, and the manual rotating table has fixed locks every 90 degrees and can be locked in any position from 0 to 360 degrees. The manual tilting head can be fixed at 0 to 90 degrees to cut marble and granite, even in short passes. A mobile control panel displays the bridge translation measurements, manual commands for forward/backward movement of the bridge and up/down movement of the head.

Cutting dimensions include a blade stroke of 3,500 mm and a cutting depth of 250 mm for marble and 115 mm for granite. The machine can accommodate 725-mm blades for marble and 450-mm blades for granite.

The Bombieri & Venturi FSBV 500 M-G bridge saw is available through The Cutting Edge of Las Vegas, NV. The machine was designed to meet the needs of processing plants where the cost/performance ratio is of great importance. The manufacturing characteristics of the machine are the same as the other larger models, with a sturdy structure featuring a main beam bade of normalized electric-welded steel and support beams made of ground steel. The machine permits manually variable inclined cuts ranging from 0 to 45 degrees, and all movements are electronically controlled with the possibility of adjusting speeds and programming a single measure repeatable up to 99 times. All of the controls and the graphic control terminal are mounted on the mobile push-button board to give the machine operator maximum working freedom and versatility.

The slab support bench is furnished in a rotating version with the possibility to be locked in any position.

The Model SF 30 bridge saw from Te.Co Macchine is available from Sierra Tools and Abrasive of San Leandro, CA. The saw can be equipped with diamond blades ranging from 400 to 625 mm in diameter, and the cutting head can be inclined from 0 to 90 degrees. A computerized unit on the machine can be programmed with the cut size as well as the number of cuts to be made. The saw has a cutting length of 3,500 mm, and a bench size of 3,500 x 1,600 mm.

The B-250 bridge saw from Johnson Marble Machinery Inc. of North Hollywood, CA, offers a mix of durability and performance at a middle-of-the-road price, according to the company. The B-250 shares many of the productive features as the company’s more advanced model, the B-300. It is capable of cutting both thick and thin material easily and accurately, according to the company.

The machine features steel beam construction; a manual slide rail with manual brake; a 10-hp A.C. arbor motor; variable-speed A.C. controls on the X and Y axes; a head assembly that tilts from 0 to 90 degrees; a control panel with joystick; a turntable with pneumatic stops and heavy-duty side rails.

The L?ffler 600/800 CNC F4 line of bridge saws, available from Precision Stonecraft of Atlanta, GA, are equipped with four computer numerically controlled axes with digital AC drives. The saws feature user friendly PC controls with a built-in modem. The main motor is vertically arranged with a variable-speed drive, and the X, Y and Z axes move on low-maintenance linear ball bearings. The machine also features a motorized blade tilt from 0 to 90 degrees, and it can be equipped with an optional high-speed drilling and routing spindle.

Also available from Precision Stonecraft is the Simec FP 500 RX bridge saw, which was created for the specific requirements of smaller fabrication shops. This new machine applies the most updated features of Simec’s RX generation of machinery. The saw features optimum precision with rapid movement, and the disc can be inclined from 0 to 90 degrees.

Simec also notes that the machine was designed for simplicity of use, with a push-button control panel that rotates 180 degrees to allow the operator to work from the most convenient observation position.

The Sierra gantry diamond saw from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, features heavy-duty construction, with industrial components for maximum durability, extended saw life and superior accuracy. A unique slide bearing system creates rigidity unsurpassed in similarly priced machines, according to the company, ensuring straight, clean cuts. A 0-to-47-degree bridge meter with hard stops allows for multi-pass cutting at a mitered location, and the accurate gantry provides 10 feet of motion. The variable-speed cutting motion combines with rack-and-pinion drive to provide clean cuts and extend diamond life, and the saw features a 12-foot cutting length, which allows a full slab to be cut and reduces slab positioning time.

The 6-inch, powered, variable-speed raising and lowering of the cutting head allows for step cutting and vertical blade positioning, and a hand-held pendant control and laser light on the bridge ease operation.

Options for the Sierra include a heavy-duty turntable with preset stop locations; a hydraulic tilt turntable; a 15-hp arbor motor; and steel supports for the gantry rails.

The Elite 350 bridge saw, available from Inter Stone Supplies of North Hollywood, CA, was designed with an available cutting length of 861⁄2 x 1371⁄2 inches. The saw features monolithic construction, and the automatic movement of the bridge and is computer controlled on both axes with a digital readout. The cutting head rotates 90 degrees and tilts 45 degrees, and the turntable can be air locked at 45 and 90 degrees. The machine also has a 20-hp, 1,400-rpm motor and can accommodate blades up to 20 inches in diameter. Options include a tilting table, an automatic tracer and an electric turning table.

Inter Stone Supplies also offers a powerful Italian tile saw with a true 11⁄2-hp, 115V motor that is mounted with a 10-inch blade to cut up to 21⁄2 inches thick and lengths of 21, 26 or 36 inches (depending on the model). The saw also can bevel 45 degrees up to 11⁄2 inches. It features tubular bridge construction, adjustable depth of cut, a removable bridge and a water pump. The saw also has a side table that can be mounted on either side along with a rip guide in standard and metric units with an adjustable 0-to-90-degree angle guide.

The Ogyu Verti-1500 is a unique diamond wire saw for automatic shape cutting. The operator makes a standard paper template, and the machine’s optical sensor traces the edge of the template automatically. The movement of the optical sensor and the cutting mechanism are precisely synchornized to cut the stone as per the paper template. The machine, which is suited for artistic work such as monument fabrication, requires no programming.

Diamond Tech International (DTI) offers the DL7000 saw. Designed for the standard fabricating shop setting, this wet band saw is capable of precise, intricate cuts through marble, granite and tile up to 1 1⁄2 inches thick. The DL7000 is engineered to speed production times for working in marble and granite.

The DL7000 has a sturdy design to withstand heavy use, and easy-to-use adjustment features allow the operator to quickly begin cutting. The large two-wheel design creates a 13-inch throat depth to accommodate tiles up to 2 inches wide.

All of the company’s diamond saws come equipped with diamond blades, which are manufactured for maximum durability and efficiency. Each blade is made of strong stainless steel, selected for its resistance to corrosion and rust. The blades are then coated with the high-quality diamond abrasives.

The saw has a 3⁄4-hp, variable speed motor; a length of 38 inches (with table); a height of 48 inches; a weight of 162 pounds; a table size of 20 x 20 inches; a throat depth (depth of cut into field) of 13 inches; a blade length (continuous band) of 94.25 inches; a blade thickness (width of cut) of 0.025 inches (64 mm); a blade depth of 30 inches (7.5 mm); a minimum radius cut of 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inches; a maximum recommended material thickness of 1 1⁄2 inches in marble and granite and 3 inches in limestone; a cutting speed of 8 inches per minute in 3⁄4-inch marble; and a blade life estimate of 40 to 50 cutting hours in 3⁄4-inch marble

The DL7000 includes an instructional manual, use of a toll-free customer service line and one-year warranty.

The Nespoli AT 200 automatic cross cutter, available from the AMS Group in Italy, features a 2-hp (11⁄2-kW) hydraulic gearcase motor and a 15- to 17-hp (131⁄2- to 15-kW) power installed spindle motor. The work table area measures 500 x 3,000 mm (approximately 20 x 117 inches). The machine can handle slabs with a maximum thickness of 200 mm (approximately 8 inches) with discs with up to a 670-mm diameter (approximately 26 inches). The machine weighs 1,250 kg.

The Blue Ripper stone rail saw was unveiled at StonExpo 2001 by Granite City Tool Co. and is now available for the stone industry. This portable rail saw, which is fully manufactured in the USA, is designed for cutting stone slabs in fabrication shops or on-site locations. It has a 2-hp, 15-amp,110-volt Lesson induction motor and takes a 14-inch blade. Granite City Tool reports that this is a true industrial motor, made for continuous operation and will far outlast small skill-saws and worm-drive saws currently being used for this application. This saw uses an 8-inch stainless steel flange to hold the blade into place. The advantage of this flange is to provide blade stability, which prevents flexing when taking deep cut plunges into the stone. The 8-inch flange also reduces noise so users do not have to spend extra money on silent core blades, according to the company. Moreover, using a 14-inch blade instead of a 7- or 8-inch blade increases the speed of cut to 9 1⁄2 feet per minute on average, according to factory testing.

The Blue Ripper rail saw was designed with the operator in mind. Simple and strong, the blade cuts right next to the rail for ease of set-up, with no gauges, shims or offset measurements needed. The direction of the cut is counter-clockwise, which offers a two-fold benefit, according to the company. Since the blade moves in the direction of the cut the saw glides faster, and chipping is reduced. The saw itself weighs only 79 pounds, making it is easy for one person to lift and move. The reduced weight also minimizes the risk of cracking narrow or thin pieces of stone.

The saw is available exclusively through Granite City Tool Co. of St. Cloud, MN, and Barre, VT, Euro-Asian Blades of West Palm Beach, FL, and Omega Diamond, Inc. of Loomis, CA.

The TSH 1800 from Thibaut, available from Precision Stonecraft, is a diamond horizontal wire saw equipped with a novel system of automatic wedging devices. The machine has been trial tested and in operation as a pilot for more than a year. Operating for more than 6,000 hours, the machine displays incomparable performance and productivity gain, according to the company.

Custom Building Products of Seal Beach, CA, now offers a new SuperiorBilt line of power saws. Designed to satisfy the needs of today’s tile professional, this line of power saws can be used for cutting natural stones such as marble and granite, ceramic tile, porcelain tile and other types of materials. The line includes 10-inch wet cutting table saws, handheld masonry and tile saws and portable grinders. Premium SuperiorBilt diamond blades are standard throughout the entire line, resulting in enhanced longevity, reliability and efficiency of the saws, the company reports. SuperiorBilt diamond blades use synthetic rather than natural diamond crystals, delivering smooth workmanship and expert results.

The SuperiorBilt 10-inch wet cutting saw is powered by a 11/2-hp motor with dual capacitor for needed reliability. The saw features a folding saw stand with wheels as standard. The tile saw can rip-cut up to 20 inches and diagonally cut 14 inches without any adjustments. The saw has a re-circulating pump with directional water flow controls as well as a removable plastic water reservoir.

Bon Tool Co. of Gibsonia, PA, has added a line of tile cutters to its product offering. These tile cutters feature rugged die cast construction and carbide cutting wheels. A wide range of features is available across the line, including a protractor for angle cuts, a circle scriber and smooth ball-bearing runners. The cutters are offered in a range of sizes from 12 to 27 inches.

The Hercules GC-210 Pneumatic Anchoring Machine from Braxton Bragg of Knoxville, TN, is a durable, lightweight tool designed for making anchor slots in the back of stone --an essential tool for undermount sink installation, according to the company. The machine was designed to be extremely simple to operate, and it will make the correct angle and depth needed for easy undermount sink installation, using different-sized bolts to securely attach sinks. The Hercules works with all types of stone, and uses either a 3⁄16- x 1⁄4- or a 1⁄4- x 1⁄4-inch diamond anchor bit.

Sawing Systems, Inc. of Knoxville, TN, has introduced a new design on its gantry block saw. Constructed for durability in hostile working environments, this block saw has an 11-foot, 6-inch blade and 20 feet of gantry movement, although additional lengths can be furnished. The saw is equipped with a V-belt drive system and a 75-hp motor. Its maximum cut depth is 4 feet, 9 inches, and it can handle a block 12 inches wide. Fully programmable with an automatic cutting cycle, the saw returns to the original position and shuts off automatically when cutting is completed.

Sawing Systems also introduced an improved version of the Model 551C gantry saw at the recent StonExpo exhibition, with upgraded power gantry movement and a wireless remote control.

The Astra Bridge Saw from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA, features motorized bridge movement and a maximum cutting length of 10 feet. The manual rotating worktable measures 2,920 x 1,800 mm, and it has pneumatic stops at any angle as well as positive mechanical stops at 0, 90 and 180 degrees. A 220-volt, three-phase, 1,750 rpm, 10-hp motor is standard, along with a laser guide. The vertical movement of the cutting head is 200 mm, and it features manual rotation from 0 to 90 degrees and can be manually tilted from 0 to 90 degrees. The maximum blade diameter is 20 inches for marble, sandstone and limestone, and 16 inches for granite.

The Swarm 2000 9-hp heavy-duty bridge saw, distributed by Hard Rock Tool, features a 16-inch blade capacity and a 101⁄2- x 61⁄2-foot cutting area. The saw is constructed in steel for vibration-free cutting, and the positioning of the X and Y axes is digitally controlled for greater accuracy.

The cutting motion is controlled by rack-and-pinion, and the saw is capable of miter cuts. The manual-to-computer set speed rate --called "Smart Speed" --allows the operator to slowly sink the blade into the center cut, and a combination slide/V-groove bearing guide system creates a smooth, yet rigid head travel. The machine has a remote positioning pad with kill switch, and it can be equipped with an optional laser.

The Scorpion diamond blade conversion kit is available from W.F. Meyers Co., Inc. of Bedford, IN. This product allows fabricators to convert their diamond blade machinery to diamond belt technology. W.F. Meyers reports that this conversion allows a saw to cut deeper than with a diamond blade with greater speed and accuracy and far less noise. Moreover blade shipping costs and storage concerns are eliminated, according to the company.

Edging

Marmoelettromeccanica has intro-duced the Bristol, available from Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica USA of Virginia Beach, VA. The Bristol is a single-head edge-polishing machine with a monolithic steel structure and a 3-hp spindle motor. This machine can handle slabs up to 3,600 x 1800 mm with a thickness from 20 to 100 mm.

Known for its rapid speed of performance and excellent quality of finishing, the Bristol is supported by a specialized staff that will provide technical assistance. The machine features a variable-speed spindle and automatic processing cycles from an electronic programmer. The Bristol also features pneumatic operation of upwards and downwards tool movement; an electrical self-standing console that may be positioned as desired; a command panel and hand-held keyboard with manual commands; and pneumatic clamps in three groups with constant pressure control.

The Bristol is also capable of running diamond router bits to accomplish negative radius profiles.

The Stinger M1 edge shaping and polishing system from Hard Rock Tool has been engineered to create cleaner edges on a variety of stone materials. The variable speed and automatic torque boost gives the Stinger M1 the ability to remove stock and produce a superior polish, according to the company.

The machine has variable speed from 3,000 to 10,000 rpm and an LED readout of speed. It accepts bits from all major manufacturers. The patented hydroplate with injected ball transfers allows the machine to glide on 0.015 inch of water. It also gives the stinger the capability to transition through corners up to 45 degrees without losing elevation. Each machine if hand-made and tested in the U.S., and parts and service are easily available.

The Comandulli Synthesis PNC, available through AGM of Pineville, NC, offers a documented speed of 60 feet per hour on 3-cm bullnosed material. A broad range of edge profiles (bullnose, flat, bevels etc.) can be processed at a superior quality level, the company reports. All of this can be carried out in marble and granite from 20 mm to 100 mm making the Synthesis an ideal machine for applications such as kitchen countertops, furniture, vanities and monuments.

The Synthesis has a unique design, which eliminates the need for: profiled diamonds; crescent rack and pinion; and contrast bars. It uses hydraulic spindles on the polishing bench instead of electric, greatly reducing downtime caused by water contamination, according to the company. All of this results in a machine with lower maintenance and hence has lower operating costs compared to other multiple-head machines.

The machine operation starts beveling with diamond wheels, and then a generating diamond wheel forms the profile, followed by the calibrating wheel (which gauges the slab). The conveyor belt then transports the piece to a group of eight polishing wheels. These wheels work on an oscillating bridge, and the edge is processed using gradually finer grit polishing wheels, followed by a group of four beveling wheels. At the end of the process, the machine can also cut a slot for reinforcement rods, as needed for certain applications. Having rollers under the piece allows for maximum stability and eliminates the need for a contrast bar. There is also an adjustment-supporting bar to allow processing of large pieces.

The Synthesis PNC is controlled by computer, allowing quick setup and rapid changeovers. The operator selects a stored profile, and the machine then loads all the necessary parameters to process the chosen profile. The operator only needs to set up the proper wheel configuration for the stone to be processed. Overall, the machine allows for maximum flexibility and results in greater productivity.

Marmo Meccanica USA offers the LBF-1, is a single-head machine that can produce edge details on materials ranging from 1 to 10 cm in thickness. The various edge details include flat, bevels and radius edges, including bullnose and half-bullnose. The LBF-1 can be utilized to gauge materials or to pre-clean laminated edges prior to profiling. The various shaped edges are formed utilizing a diamond cupwheel. Polish is achieved utilizing resin wheels or diamond polishing pads. The spindle movement of the LBF-1 is unique, as the system utilizes levels rather than exposed "C"-shaped guides. The reliability of the spindle movement is greatly increased by eliminating the "C" arm, which can be easily damaged by the grit and water normally found in edge polishing.

The machine utilizes an electric system for setting the end limits for spindle movement, so manual stops are not required. The LBF-1 features include two sliding and adjustable stops for alignment of pieces and a support to accommodate large pieces. A built-in programmer is utilized for automatic processing of work cycles.

The Goldenedge CTX from Breton easily perfects edge profiles, according to the company. The machine is easy to use and requires no adjustments. This numerically controlled, one-spindle machine operates using shaped diamond tools and is equipped with an automatic eight-position tool store. It can also be supplied with a diamond blade to fabricate drip boards. The Goldenedge CTX can handle material with a maximum length of 3,500 mm and a thickness between 9 and 60 mm.

The Hercules 6300 Portable Edge Profiling Machine from Braxton Bragg has been designed and built to quickly and safely mill and shape the edges of slabs of marble, granite and other stone materials in various profiles and thicknesses.

The Hercules edge profiling machine comes with a six-month warranty, a ground fauly interrupter box and a built-in "Quick-Couple" fitting to attach to the shop’s water supply.

The new Red Ripper is a floating stone router system, manufactured in the U.S. and distributred through Granite City Tool Co. of St. Cloud, MN, and Barre, VT, Euro Asia Blades of West Palm Beach, FL and Omega Diamond. of Loomis, CA. This router is available with a 110-volt or 220-volt Lesson motor. The 110-volt Lesson induction motor comes with a GFI and is 2 hp, 14 amp. The 220-volt Lesson induction motor with built-in GFI is 3 hp. These Lesson motors can handle diamond router bits for up to 3-cm-thick material, the company reports.

The Red Ripper features a floating base that hydroplanes on the stone surface for ease of use and to prevent scratching the material. The Red Ripper runs at 10,000 rpm for quick edging, using metal-bonded diamond router bits. An optional polishing conversion kit is available, which includes a belt and pulley to slow the rpm down and allow the use of resin-bonded diamond router bits to polish the edge.

Other features include an all-inclusive compact design, with no transformers or hydraulic pumps; a floating base standard; external flexible waterfeed with flow control; 7⁄8 adjustable spindle height; a super-strong, no-flex design; optional coolant flow through the spindle; and an optional polishing conversion kit.

The Sprinter 99 edging machine, available from Inter Stone Supplies of North Hollywood, CA, features a two-speed motor that runs at 3.2 hp and 2,800 rpm for grinding, and it runs at 2.0 hp and 1,400 rpm for polishing. The machine can accommodate materials ranging from 3⁄4 to 4 inches in thickness with a working length up to 124 inches. It features computerized movement of all three axes and a computerized self-centering system. The system can store 99 different programs, and working time is less than five minutes per lineal foot, according to the company.

Standard equipment includes eight air locks, front Plexiglas and rear aluminum panel splash guards, and automatic shut-off for the water valve, a 4- or 5-inch snail lock system for abrasives and computer system.

The Montresor Lola 100-S, available from Bergman-Blair Machine Corp. from polishes straight marble and granite edges up to 100 mm thick to a mirror finish using eight to ten mobile frontal units capable of compensating possible cutting defects in the workpiece. A light rocking movement allows the abrasive wheels to keep constant contract with the edge, thus exploiting their full grinding and polishing properties. The Lola 100-S also allows automatic polishing and beveling of edges, even for fan-shaped workpieces. The conveyor belt slides over a wear-resistant steel surface equipped with a square-section guideway recessed into the bed close to the pressure units. This allows for maximum stability of the workpiece to be polished. The stability is further increased by the use of inclined pressure units, which permit the operator to carry on working without the need of the frontal guide. The start-up of the motors as well as the movement of the abrasive heads is automatically repeated and controlled by a series of limit switches, which are activated by the passage of the workpiece. Each abrasive group has an independent and adjustable pneumatic working pressure.

The Thibaut T55, available from Precision Stonecraft, can polish a broad range of edges with or without automatic tool changing. The machine features automatic centralized oiling, stainless steel shields, motorized up and down movements and an optional magazine for automatic tool changing. The machine can process materials as long as 3,300 mm, radius edges in thicknesses from 10 to 60 mm and straight edges of 30 mm. It has a 1.5 kW (2-hp) motor with variable speeds from 1,500 to 2,800 rpm.

The Magma FB350, available from VIC International of Knoxville, TN, is a manual machine that utilizes diamond tooling to shape edges and sink openings in marble and granite. It has a guide roller that follows a template with a unique vacuum mount system. The template is attached directly to the stone, simplifying positioning and ensuring that the arm does not limit the size of the work piece. Service and spare parts for the Magma FB350 are available through VIC International.

Also from VIC, the Denver Quasar Tech edge polisher uses a single set of tools to shape and polish flat and convex profiled edges. The machine operates with a single head that rotates over a large circular section. Control of both movements and tool spindle speed guarantee optimum tool performance and low operating expenses, according to the company.

The base version of the machine is equipped with several functional programs, and it can accommodate a vast range of accessories to adapt the machine to specific working needs. It can also be equipped to run automatically, with the user choosing the desired program.

Polishing

The EMR-B radial arm polisher, which is distributed by International Machine Corp., is known for its economical operation, stable construction, smooth movements and high power output. The arm can be adjusted up to 900 mm and the machine’s height can be manually adjusted 130 mm. Optional equipment includes pneumatically adjustable pressure, a two-speed motor, frequency converter for stepless adjustment of the shaft speed and polishing attachments for different purposes, including marble and curved surfaces.

Fickert, a manufacturer of stone processing machinery from Bavaria, now offers its Universal Grinding Head S2h with attachments for literally all of the grinding machines on the market. "We consider it to be our task to protect our customers’ investments on a long-term basis," said Harald Seeberger, the owner of Fickert. "Anyone who buys our grinding heads can therefore not only rely on a long service life, but he can also be certain not to have to invest in new grinding techniques in the event that he wants to change our grinding head over to another machine." This unconditional compatibility will also be available for the second grinding head released by Fickert --the GS4. Specializing in surface grinding, the GS4 can also be operated with the complete extensive accessories of the S2h, and both grinding heads have extremely short set-up times, giving an advantage to smaller-sized companies that need to complete a variety of tasks quickly and cost effectively, according to Fickert.

The EcoGrinder from Alpha Professional Tools of Wyckoff, NJ, is a high-performance grinder with a built in vacuum system. It is designed for continuous production applications in fabrication shops, and it can also be used directly on the job site. The unit is engineered for grinding natural stone, concrete, or any other masonry materials with a dry grinding diamond wheel or sanding application on wood, particle board and solid surfaces with coated abrasives such as sandpaper. The Alpha EcoGrinder was designed to ensure dust-free grinding or sanding applications without an external vacuum system or expensive dust collector. The Alpha EcoGrinder is double insulated for safety and complies with CE Markings that are European Safety Directives, the company reports.

Specifications include a voltage rate of 115v – 50/60Hz 220v – 50/60Hz; output power of 710w input 1,130w output; 9,000 rpm; a weight of 12 pounds; a disc capacity of 5 inches (125 mm) diameter with 7/8-inch (22 mm) arbor.

Standard equipment includes a wrench; side handle with extrusion; flexible vacuum hose; dust bag; VelcroTM strap for dust bag. Recommended accessories include 4-inch (100 mm) Diamond Dry Grinding Wheels and 5-inch (125 mm) Alpha Sandpaper.

The Galeski Polifox Vario 1600 angle grinder with water feed is available from High-Tech Stone of Elberton, GA. The machine features robust gears, a 1,600-watt power package, ergonomic design for tireless work, and a plug-in "Quick Lock" cable connection. The speed adjustments are user friendly, and the machine operates at 800 to 3,600 rpm.

Stoneworking

The Omag Profile, available from Bergman-Blair Machine Corp. is a numerically controlled stoneworking center with three or four controlled axes. The machine has been proven to effectively fabricate continuous cycles of kitchen countertops, bathroom tops and shower tops. The high speed and the movement axes precision are regulated by a brushless motor linked with ball bearing screws. The mobile bridge makes the loading and unloading operations of the working pieces particularly simple. A simple software packet is used for programming of geometrical figures without the need for computer experience.

The tool store runs from 8 to 50 positions, and the angular head features a 300-mm cutting disc. The machine has Windows software for creating drawings and geometrical workings in two and three dimensions. Software is also provided for two-dimensional template scanning.

The fixed-bench Contourbreton 250 CNC stoneworking center from Breton S.p.A. was specifically designed for natural stone fabrication (as opposed to adapted from the glass-cutting industry). The machine features a working stroke of 3,200 x 1,500 mm and an aluminum bench with slots to enable mechanically locking suction cuts to be used.

The spindle can be tilted to create slanted surfaces, and the 4th "C" axis is continually rotating. A vertical disc is used for straight-line cuts, while a tilted convex disc is used for curved cuts. The machine features a tool storage unit with up to 22 positions, and it is equipped with a laser detector to check the tools.

The Breton CAD/CAM software for the machine features easy-to-use macros, and the machine features high-reaching software guards that protect the operator’s head.

Having already developed two levels of gantry bridge saws --the GSC-2001 and the Z-Max --as well as the Daytona Edge Profile System, Matrix Stone Products of Upland, CA, has planned the introduction of a CNC WorkCenter for 2002. This machine is capable of producing an assortment of edge profile shapes on contoured or irregularly shaped granite pieces.

"The new CNC WorkCenter is in the R&D stage now, and is planned for release soon," said Matrix Partner Joe Harari. "This piece of machinery is truly state of the art." In addition to the WorkCenter, the company is currently working on a new programmable gantry bridge saw, "The Supra," which will serve the high-volume end of the fabricating market. Both the CNC WorkCenter and the Supra are in the R&D phase of design and slated for introduction in the third quarter of 2002.

Great Lakes Machine, LLC is introducing a new CNC machine, which is made in the U.S. The All-American CNC Router can handle marble, granite, manufactured stone and Corian products. Key features of the machine include computer-to-computer problem solving via modem, a pre-programmed computer with all layouts of leading manufacturers’ sinks, vacuum-adjusted leveling, and a vacuum lifter that can lift up to 1,000 pounds. The machine has its own water recycling water system with a 100-gallon tank. The machine measures 15 x 17 feet and has a work area of 10 x 5 feet.

The Hydraulic Group is a fast and simple Ghines solution for all requirements in cutting, profiling and polishing, the company reports. Engineered to be easy to use and maneuver, it permits the finishing of kitchen counters and vanity tops of any shape and size, even without using a template.

The Hydraulic Group is composed of a Sector HC shape-milling machine, Vektor stone-cutter and an Angle Grinder. All three are powered by the hydraulic drive unit Darhta, fitted with a 3-phase 5.5-hp motor.

Made from materials such as aluminum, stainless steel and bronze, these portable machines are extremely sturdy and compact, while being light in weight and handy, according to Ghines.

The Sector HC shape-milling and polishing machine is free from any electrical components. The tool speed is adjustable from 0 to 7,500 rpm, controlled by a hydraulic potentiometer, which guarantees an optimum tool performance.

The "Aquaplaning" sliding system ensures smooth gliding, even on small surfaces or close angles.

Conceived to easily perform straight, curved and multidirectional cuts without a template, fast and simple Vektor can use straight or concave diamond discs for cuts up to 5 cm in thickness. "Stop" and "Start" movements of the disc are accurately controlled by a single lever, while a rear handle on the machine determines the depth of cut. The Vektor is supplied with guide rail and predisposed to fit an anchoring suction cup with caliper device and vacuum system (optional) which make it possible to perform straight cuts or round cuts without any limit in length, respective to the diameter.

The angle grinder is equipped with a tilting operating head, which can be locked in predetermined intervals to facilitate work on special profiles. Due to its structure, the machine can be held either to the left or to the right side, by its front part or upper part with ball grip, thus making the work easier for the operator. The "stop" and "start" of the angle grinder, which is equipped with an anti-vibration device, are controlled by a single lever on the machine handle.

Darhta is the compact and powerful hydraulic drive unit which operates the Hydraulic Group. It is fitted with a thermomagnetic interrupter and oil cooler and is set on wheels for easy movement.

The Brembana Junior, available from CMS North America of Caledonia, MI, is a CNC machining center for fabricating all varieties of natural stone. The machine, which has been developed to address the needs of manufacturers with limited resources or smaller size production requirements, can be equipped with three or four axes. It offers maximum speed and a compact structure to allow for versatility in all machining functions, according to the company including sawing, drilling, milling, grinding, polishing, scooping, engraving and carving.

The smooth work surface enables the operator to arrange the workpieces on the machine with ease and safety, CMS reports. The Junior working table can handle material with a maximum size of 2,600 x 1,400 mm (102 x 55 inches). The fourth axis option allows for the use of flat and concave blades for straight or curved cutting.

The standard model Junior is supplied with an 18-hp and 15,000-rpm electrospindle. The tool station is supplied with 16 positions. When equipped with the optional tilting head, the Junior is suitable for polishing recessed kitchen countertops. Parametric software allows for effective programming of the machine.

CMS North America also offers the Speed CNC machining center. This unit features a solid base for optimum durability and stability as well as a mobile-bridge structure to offer maximum accessibility to the work area. The workpieces to be fabricated can be placed on the worktable in any order, with no pre-arrangement necessary.

The machine’s tilting head option enables the fabrication and polishing of inclined and recessed kitchen countertops, and an optional fourth axis enables the use of flat or concave blades for straight or curved cutting. A bit-tailstock option (lathe) allows the fabrication of capitals and columns.

The machine’s software was designed to be user-friendly and ready to use immediately, and the company offers extensive after-sales service.

A broad range of Pragma equipment for specialty fabrication is available from Precision Stonecraft. Included is the Seco FIL210 wire-cutting machine to produce inlaid mosaic pieces. The machine features a sturdy steel structure with a high level of protection of the mechanical parts. Moreover, carefully positioned safety controls make the machine stable and reliable. A start/stop foot control lever of the diamond wire allows the operator to keep both hands on the piece during all phases of operation. The sawing speed can be monitored on a display, and the inclinable surface allows the cutting of special solid shapes.

For cutting and chamfering border tiles, insets, triangular pieces and other unique shapes, Pragma offers a broad range of machines, including the 402/D, 501, 502 and 503, each with different specifications.

The Pragma Iungo is a semi-automatic gluing machine designed to adhere small ceramic and marble pieces onto paper or fiberglass netting. The operator pre-arranges the individual stone pieces according to the desired composition, and the unit distributes the glue and netting. The Iungo is suited for fully automated production lines, where operations from composition to packaging are taking place.

Pragma also offers two different pieces of equipment for tumbling natural stone. The Vibra cradle-shaped tumbler is used for smooth aging of ceramic and marble pieces, while the Roto is for deep aging. The tumblers have been manufactured according to strict mechanical and structural resistance criteria, and they allow for easy access to the working area. The machines can operate at a variety of speeds, allowing for a broad range of finishes.

The Burkhardt 595 five-axis CNC machine is available from High-Tech Stone of Elberton, GA. It has been designed to completely cut and finish all edges, chamfers and contours. The machine automatically finishes round workpieces and contours on monuments, countertops and other custom pieces. The entire working process takes place in one position, without reclamping of the workpiece.

The 595 offers more areas of application than the limited 4-axis machines, Burkhardt reports, and the extremely mobile tilting universal tool slide produces shapes which had previously been produced with hand labor.

The changing of 56 different tools is automatic, and the highly dynamic drive system, up to 60 m/min, keeps idle times low.

The L?ffler LBZ CNC machining center, available through Precision Stonecraft of Atlanta, GA, is designed for optimum precision and versatility. The linear tool holder has 22 stations, and tool changing is automatic. The machine’s three axes run on digital servo drives with precision ball screws, guided by linear ball bearings. The machine’s overall dimensions are 5,000 x 3,800 mm.

The Magnum four-axis CNC cutting and polishing machine from U.S. Granite Machinery of Barrington, IL, allows one man to produce 80 linear feet per day, according to the company. The unit can produce a broad range of custom edges, including ogee, triple waterfall and a flat polish.

The machine has been engineered for ease of operation. It runs on the Windows NT platform or DOS, and has hard drive storage for more than 200,000 sink and pattern shapes. The unit comes with a standard telephone modem for additional training, problem solving and software upgrades.

The standard table size is 100 x 120 inches, although custom tables are available for specific needs.

Z. Bavelloni S.p.A. is offering the Egar 250, a high-technology machine designed for high-quality, complex processing of stone. Useful in both large and small shops, it can produce unique pieces as well as process coarse material without an operator, the company reports. Making loading and unloading easier, the machine features an open top structure and mobile bridge on the Y-axis, which is built with electro-welded and normalized steel. Using 4-inch wheels, the working area and axis stroke can handle pieces up to 100 x 50 inches.

This machine is designed for drilling; milling; internal and external edging; artistic and geometrical bas-reliefs; writing with a candle tool; artistic and geometric engravings with a diamond candle tool; shaped pockets; execution of slant kitchen countertops with a polished finish of the top and edges; and execution of sinks machined from a block of marble or granite.

Equipped with ISO 40 tool store at 20 positions, an adjustable working plane from 0 to 1 degree for use with kitchen countertops is available upon request. Also, the spindle is separated from the motor

and is not an electrospindle, en-abling the operator to perform customary maintenance. Furthermore, the Egar 250 is equipped with a C axis that allows for a continuous 360-degree rotation of the tool. An optional head and disk can also process cuts and shaped blocks such as fireplaces and door frontals. The disk diameter ranges from 5 to 8 inches, and the maximum thickness a new disk will cut through is ? inches with the 5-inch disk, and 2 inches with the 8-inch disk.

The Jet Stik from Windy Ridge Corp. of Tamworth, NH, is a unique tool that features a high-velocity flame for surfacing, carving, edging, sculpting and texturing natural stone.

Originally developed to flame the edges of thin granite building panels, the Jet Stik has been used for a broad range of other uses, from restoring the non-slip surface of old stairways to sculpture and graffiti removal.

The HydraSplit QS 100 from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN has a splitting force of 125 tons, a chisel width area of 42 inches, a cut height opening of 18 inches and a throat width opening of 53 inches. The machine features the exclusive HydraSplit "dry wedge" chisel equalization system, which provides optimal chisel positioning, assuring quality splits with minimum waste and eliminating oil leakage onto the stone. The 1 1⁄2-inch-wide square shank chisels provide maximum contact with the stone surface for a cleaner arris line and minimum stone waste, and a 125-ton overhead splitting force provides ample power for many types of stone. The air clean system on the lower chisels keeps them free of dirt and dust, assuring complete chisel equalization and quality splits.

The machine offers a quick recovery, as the top mount hydraulic fluid reservoir speeds power ram refill time; a main pilot check valve is normally open to allow efficient hydraulic flow. There is also quick positioning, as the feed side design makes stone positioning easy, increasing operator productivity.

Easy to use control levers allow operator to position and split stone rapidly. Control levers are mounted on an easily adjustable swivel bracket for optimum operator comfort. A hydraulic pressure gauge lets operator monitor hydraulic system pressure during splitting and troubleshooting, and the start/stop at operator location is easily accessible.

A broad range of pneumatic-powered stoneworking tools are available from Global Pneumatics of Las Vegas, NV. These include the Defcon 4 high-speed router; the Eradictor 211 grinder-sander-polisher; the Demasculator 216 heavy-duty grinder; the Kamikaze 215 5-inch, high-speed grinder; the Orgasmatron 218 polishing tool; the Orgasmatron Gpw-7 polishing tool; the "Easy 88" Belt Sander; and the Stimulator 824t Corner Polisher.

All models feature a center shaft total-disbursement waterfeed. According to Global Pneumatics, the use of wet pneumatic equipment eliminates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) problems on silica discharge into the environment, as well as OSHA issues concerning particulate inhalation. Additionally, the use of pneumatics helps fabricators avoid OSHA violations for ungrounded electrical cords.

All new for 2002, the Rock Tumbler from Mix Right of Orem, UT allows for a one-man operation from start to finish. The tumbler can be ordered with a loading chute and waste grate and waste conveyor to simplify the tumbling process. The average time for tumbling harder materials is 40 to 45 minutes, while softer materials take 20 to 25 minutes. The tumbler has a very low breakage rate of only 2% to 5%, according to the company, and it was designed for maximum efficiency -- using 1.5 gallons of gas in a 6-hour run time. The tumbler is mobile and will tumble marble tiles as well as any size dimensional stone.

Cam Tech Industries, Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, offers the Laser Master, which produces a high-quality digitally engraved image. To use this machine, a photograph or graphic is scanned into the design computer, and the picture can then be modified and the file sent to the machine for cutting into granite. Available table sizes are 41 inches x 41 inches, 52 inches x 52 inches and 52 inches x 102 inches, and custom sizes can also be ordered. Recently, some customers have also hand painted the etchings in a variety of colors.

The F/X Series of laser cutting tables from Vytek of Littleton, MA, offers true laser cutting and engraving performance in a compact format. These unique, almost maintenance-free systems are designed for years of rigorous use. The F/X Systems use sealed CO2 Laser technology with available power ranges from 25 through 250 watts.

The industry-standard interface accepts most off-the-shelf software applications, and optional photo-realistic software allows scanned and bit-mapped images to be directly engraved to many materials with photo-like quality. The machine is operates with an easy-to-use, menu-driven control panel.

Options and accessories

New and improved contour blades from Alpha Professional Tools of Wyckoff, NJ, are specifically designed for cutting sinkholes and other curve cutting applications on granite and harder types of natural stone. Alpha’s new design incorporates diamonds on both sides of the steel core for better performance. The contour blades fit on most common electric angle frinders and provide convenience, safety and quick operation, according to the company.

Also from Alpha, the Duo-Trak blade is a re-engineered blade designed to perform both dry flush cutting and grinding applications. The blade, which was recently improved, is available in a 4-inch size for a maximum rpm of 13,300 and a 5-inch size for a maximum rpm of 9,000.

The Ceramica EX polishing discs from Alpha feature 4-inch discs that can polish a majority of materials found in the building industry, including marble (including black and green marbles that are difficult to polish), travertine and granite as well as terrazzo, porcelain ceramic tile and engineered stone surfaces.

The discs are VelcroTM backed and will work on most hand-held wet polishing equipment. The grit sequence is 200, 500, 1,000 and 3,000. A 60 vitrified or metal bond grit may be needed at the beginning to transition from grinding to polishing, and a final polish disc may be needed for granite, depending on the quality of finish requirement. All other materials will have a high-quality luster after the 3,000 grit, according to the company. This grit sequence is one grit less than most polishing systems, Alpha reports, allowing for cost and time savings.

The Crack Chaser from Pearl Abrasive Co. of Commerce, CA, uses the company’s Direct Sintering Technology and is manufactured so that the diamond matrix is molecularly bonded directly to the core. The unique product is designed for more efficient cleaning, routing and repairing of cracks in most materials. The 100% General Electric diamonds are suspended in a cobalt bond for extended life and increased speed of cut.

The product was engineered to quickly sink into cracks and cervices, and it is specially designed to produce a 1⁄2-inch-wide, 70-degree, V-shaped groove, which the company reports has proven to be the most effective configuration for re-caulking and re-filling. the product comes in 4 inches with four different arbor sizes.

Also from Pearl Abrasive, the Bronze line of diamond blades are designed with a high-tolerance cobalt bonded matrix for improved cutting life over cheaper bronze-bonded blades. The product, which features 100% General Electric abrasives, can be used wet or dry, and it is available in turbo or continuous rim configurations.

Cutting granite, other hard stone materials and hard porcelain is now made easier with the introduction of Pearl Abrasive Co.’s HP Series Tile Blade for extra hard materials, according to the company. Smooth, thin kerfs allow for chip-free cutting, and a high-strength core eliminate blade wobble and warping. The product uses 100% GE diamond for all models, including blade sizes of 6, 7, 8 and 10 inches.

The Dominator series of professional granite turbo blades is available from Hard Rock Tool. These blades offer a higher diamond rim (8 mm) and increased diamond concentration, allowing for longer life. The cooling holes disperse heat and remove swarf, keeping the need for cooling intervals to a minimum while also increasing cutting speed.

A strong and durable steel core prevents blade wobble and improves life and durability, while 100% GE diamonds increase cutting speed and blade life for consistent cutting. Also, the narrow slot turbo rim provides a cleaner cut.

SuperiorBilt diamond products from Custom Building Products are designed for ultimate performance and economy, and they were engineered specifically for the needs of the stone industry. Included are the Segmented Diamond Marble Blade, which can also be used for quarry tile, cantera and flagstone, and the Segmented Diamond Granite Blade, which can also be used for slate and limestone. Additionally, the product line includes profile wheels for marble and for granite and diamond core bits for marble and ceramic tile, which can be used wet or dry.

Ogee polishing sets from Consolidated Diamond of Wayne, NJ, can shape and polish granite in only five steps. The standard ogee is 20 mm, but can also be used on 30- and 40-mm-thick stone. The Amerogee is a special "blended ogee," which does not penetrate as deeply in the stone as a standard ogee. This means they are faster grinding, yet provide an edge detail that is attractive and easier to polish, Consolidated reports. The Amerogee can be raised up and used on 20-mm stone as well as 30- and 40-mm stone.

The ogee router bits have the proper infeed built into them, so operators should not have to adjust their machine after each position. Operators only have to take off one bit and place the next bit on without adjustment, which also protects the bits because they can be easily damaged if the infeed is too great, according to Consolidated.

Brushes for giving an antique look to natural stone are available through VIC International of Knoxville, TN. The brushes come in a broad range of configurations and can be used in Frankfurt style as well as a snail lock attachment. They are suited for use of marble, granite, limestone and agglomerate as well as other materials. The brushes can be used on radial arm polishers and automatic line machines, and they may also be used on floor machines in some cases. In addition to providing a sought-after finish, the brushes increase slip resistance on floors.

Dimas has combined the latest technology with its own exclusive bond and matrix formulas and high-quality synthetic diamonds to produce cost-effective, quality blades. The company reports that each diamond segment is individually brazed or laser welded onto high-quality steel or silent-steel blanks with state-of-the-art, computer assisted machines to ensure accuracy in positioning and consistency in mounting. Each blade is then either roller- or hand-tensioned to the recommended rpm. The results, according to Dimas, are blades that cut with greater consistency, life and smoothness.

For blades under 6 feet in diameter, Dimas allows the customer to use a single bond in a wider application window to cut a greater variety of materials. For block saw blades larger than 6 feet, the company’s exclusive segment bond and manufacturing method produces blades that cut cleaner, with greater accuracy and consistency. Additionally, Dimas technicians can work with a customer to custom design a blade this suits a particular application.

Blades in standard or silent cores have been developed specifically for the unique needs of granite, marble or limestone in a wide variety of segment diameters, from 12 to 72 inches.

Cyclone DryFlex polishing discs from Diamax Industries Inc. of Norcross, GA, give users the option of polishing an edge or even the surface of a stone without water. The flexibility of the discs allows for ogee edges and undermount sink polishing. Additionally, the company suggests using the 5,000-grit disc with a little bit of water instead of a resin final buff on hard-to-polish surfaces such as Ubatuba or Black Galaxy granite. Diamax also offers the DryFlex II polishing discs, which provide the same flexibility degree of polish in an economy package.

Cyclone Turbo blades from Diamax were introduced to the stone industry to offer fabricators top-end Japanese technology at a mid-range cost. Cyclone turbo blades are manufactured using Japanese techniques, machinery, and know-how to provide American fabricators the best quality available in terms of cutting speed, sharpness and consistent reliability. Diamax reports that sales for this blade have been steadily growing, due to quality-sensitive fabricators who are interested in reducing their overhead, but still want to maintain the high integrity of the tools they use for production.

Also from Diamax, Cyclone Core Drill Bits have been engineered for optimum speed and balance. The segment’s diamond matrix has been adjusted to core through the hardest 3-cm granite in under a minute by hand. The short tube design makes the bit much more responsive and easier to control by hand, Diamax reports. Each core drill bit is tested at 11,000 rpm for balance. Only perfect vibration-free Cyclone bits are shipped to retailers. As long as a central water feed is used, these segments are designed to core up to 11,000 rpm without the diamonds closing up, providing the fastest results.

Tyrolit Vincent recently introduced the MR2 diamond saw blade for cutting marble and limestone, available through Hard Rock Tool. The blade can be used on multi-head cutting machines and bridge mills, according to its manufacturer. The segments in the saw blade are produced by laser cutting, starting from a continuous rim blade. The combination of laser cuts and a sintered core has resulted in superior alignment of the diamond segments, giving the benefit of extreme precision, according to the company. This type of cut helps to lubricate and cool the segments. The hook ends of the teeth considerably reduce the noise level and are at an angle that minimizes the stress created on the edge of the teeth. MR2 has a 9-mm diamond segment. It is available in two versions --300 diameter with 23 segments and 350 diameter with 27 segments. Both versions have a standard sintered core.

A Teflon silent milling wheel has been developed by Italdiamant. The wheel, which has been engineered for optimum noise control, is lightweight and can be used for flat bed saws or for grooving. The product measures 14 inches in diameter, with available widths of 1, 11⁄2 and 2 inches.

The Terminator 5-step polishing system was developed for the Park Pro-Edge. The system, which has been approved by Park Industries, represents a new innovation in Ogee wheels that is 30% faster than previous systems. With the new system in place, the spindle height does not have to be adjusted, and most granites can be polished in five steps (a sixth position is optional). The system is exclusively sold by GranQuartz of Tucker, GA, on the East Coast, and by StoneTek Consultants on the West Coast.

Tenax S.p.A. has developed a com-plete line of diamond polishing tools for marble, granite and engineered stone.

Advanced technology has allowed the company to formulate highly precise products that are able to maximize the machinery on which they are used.

The company’s Evolution abrasives (metal-bonded diamond tools) are available from POS 1 to POS 8 (with different metal-bonding strength for every position) and are used to grind and smooth the surface. Meanwhile, Tenax’s fine grain resin-bonded diamond tools are used for the pre-polishing and the polishing processes. The fine grain abrasives start from the 80 grit, and progress all the way to the 1,200 grit, and they are conveniently identified by different colors.

Tenax reports that the use of a complete set of diamond tools offers immediate effects on the working process, including the following: a 15-20% productivity increase (due to reduced downtime of the machinery and increased belt speed); a 5 to 6% increase in the "point of polish" (gloss meter reading); reduced power consumption; reduced amount of slurry in the water; reduced cost of tools transportation charges; reduced costs of water treatment and slurry discharge; reduced cost per square foot.

Because of their structural composition, the fine grain abrasives have the added effect of reducing the number of scratches when polishing black granites, thus avoiding a second or third re-pass for some problematic materials.

For single-head line polishers in the monumental business, the use of a combination of fine grain and Evolution abrasives allows users to eliminate one or two steps in the abrasives sequence, Tenax reports. At the same time, it is possible to polish a full bed of slabs with a single set of abrasives without worrying about the tool life and tool changing.

The patented method of producing the fine grain tools allows Tenax to produce a wide variety of shapes to fit different machinery, such as CNC, straight edge and bullnose edge polishers.

One of Diamond Production Canada’s most popular diamond resin polishing pads is now available in a 4-inch size. Rosex diamond resin discs, manufactured with high segments for long life, are now offered in 3-inch and 4-inch diameters. These discs also feature uniquely designed waterways for swarf removal and are designed to glide over lippage of all heights as well as grind and polish stone to a factory finish. Rosex diamond resin discs come in 30, 50, 120, 220, 400, 600, 800, 1800, 3500 and 8500 grits.

Dia-Plus has developed a new 20-mm diamond ogee polishing system. These new ogee bits are made out of solid resin diamond that is 1⁄8 inch thick and encompasses the entire surface of the ogee shape (as opposed to glued-on diamond strips). These new diamond ogee bits can be used on virtually any router system with the appropriate adapter. The polishing grits required for granites and hard stone is: #100, 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 3000. For marble and soft stones, up to 800 grit is sufficient to achieve a final polish. A coarse and fine grit metal-bond diamond router bit is needed to first shape the edge and is also available from Dia-Plus. These bits were developed in Korea and have been thoroughly tested.

Currently, Dia-Plus only offers the 20mm ogee bit, but will make more styles available for edge designs that are difficult to polish by hand. This system is offered exclusively through Granite City Tool Co. of St. Cloud, MN, and Barre,VT, as well as Euro-Asia Blades of West Palm Beach, FL.

The Bi-Power bit system from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, uses three bits instead of four, increasing production while reducing labor costs, according to the company. The system includes a third bit in metal alloy that removes the toucher line, eliminating the need for hand pads. Also, the system requires only two or three passes to prepare the edge for polishing, and it prevents the chattering of the edge.

The Diasaw Storm series of cupwheels is available from Bonanza Trade and Supply of North Hollywood, CA. The product features a unique twin-bonding design that promotes even diamond wear, increasing tool life. A diamond and graphite bond provides efficient cooling and efficient stock removals, and water cooling lines allow for even water distribution and reduced wear.

The product is intended for automatic edging machines with 4-inch snail lock attachments, and it is available in coarse or fine grits.

Abrasive Technology has introduced the new Super-Edge™ 5-Step Polishing System to increase production on C-frame edge polishing machines. The system is comprised of two new metal bond cupwheels (coarse and fine), as well as three newly formulated Super-Edge™ polishing discs for the third, fourth and fifth steps. All the tools are snail-lock mounted for quick changeover.

With this new system, the machine will perform 37% faster on an edge compared to conventional systems, the company reports, adding that it currently takes approximately 500 machine passes from beginning to end to shape and polish a bullnosed edge. The new 5-step system performs the same work in 312 passes --a reduction of nearly 200 passes. The new system also features a 27% savings in diamond costs --$0.23 per linear foot compared to $0.31, according to Abrasive Technology.

To take full advantage of the increased performance, users must readjust the operating parameters of their machines.

Abrasive Technology also offers a new thicker 11⁄32-inch snail-lock backplate. The new backplate is designed to save time by eliminating the need to lower the hard stop when switching from metal cupwheels to resin polishing discs.

Hard Rock Tool has introduced the Dust Hive dust containment system. With a 2,000-cubic-foot-per-minute volume, the system continually recycles dusty air. Designed to control dust from grinding, the filter features three distinct layers of polyester media that are heat-sealed together around an internal galvanized wire support frame. The filters are easy to clean, and the Dust Hive units can be suspended from the ceiling so they don’t take up valuable floor space.

Distributed by VIC International, the Ermator S 12 small dust extractor offers 99.996% dust containment, according to the company. It can be used with a variety of tools for grinding, sawing, shaping, surface preparing, coating removal on concrete, and mastic and thinset removal. The manufacturer reports that this is an effective and practical way to meet OSHA requirements. The machine’s portability permits it to be used in on-site applications, and it can be used with most manufacturers’ tool dust hoods. The unique Longopac bag system contains all dust particles, allowing proper handling and disposal without the creation of mud that is possible with wet systems. The continuous bag provides maximum efficiency. In using the Ermator S12 in conjunction with the StoneMedic Mighty Max floor machine, the two machines can be connected so that when the Mighty Max is turned on, the S 12 is also activated. A variety of accessories are also available for tasks such as diamond grinding, scarifying, scrape away, and dust shroud.

WEHA stone transport products, available from Braxton Bragg of Knoxville, TN, are manufactured to withstand years of heavy use on the job site or in the shop. The WEHA Kitchen Transport A-Frame Carts are ideal for storing and transporting finished pieces to the job site. They feature durable rubber padding and adjustable strapping for ease of use.

Multi-purpose stone storage racks from Groves Inc. have the capacity to store bundles or slabs between their posts that weigh up to 6,000 pounds. The posts measure 51⁄2 inches wide and 60 inches long and can be fit together to form any length needed. Holes measuring 2 square inches are spaced 3 inches apart in the outside rails. Fabricated products with smooth edges can also be stored on these racks, using Easy Slide on the posts and rails. Easy Slide is an optional low-friction Teflon-like slide that prevents scratching and is mounted to the rails for ease in sliding material in and out of the racks. A 5-foot center rail supports the product when sliding it in and out of the racks.

The slab Pick-Up Rack from VIC International features slide-out locking devices. It is engineered to be sturdy enough for two kitchens’ worth of stone, and is constructed of plastic-on-metal to eliminate scratching. The dimensions are 4 feet high x 5 feet long x 4 1⁄2 to 5 1⁄2 feet wide.

A full range of handling equipment is available from Johnson Marble Machinery of North Hollywood, CA. The company offers two types of forklift booms. The drive-on boom is mainly used when the forklift forks are needed on the truck for other applications. The bolt-on boom attaches directly to the carriage of the forklift. Each boom rises 10 feet at a 45 degree angle with a 3-foot extension on the end.

The company’s standard worktables are constructed of 18-gauge, 2-x 2-inchangle iron. They are 24 inches wide x 60 inches long x 36 inches high with a lower storage shelf. The rolling worktable is also available with a retractable roller wheel assembly. Custom sizes are available

Slab lifting slings are comprised of a 1⁄2-half inch steel cable available in 15 to 19 foot lengths, and slab clamps are suited for for lifting 10- to 50-mm thick material. This compact lifter allows slabs to be safely positioned in tight areas. The company’s swivel hook can be used with cable slings or a slab clamp to help facilitate the moving of stone. The hook is rated at 7.5 tons.

The Air-Powered tilter from Wood’s Powr-Grip Co., Inc. features a standard pad spread of 23 x 74 inches, with a total of 10 pads measuring 10 inches each in diameter. The unit has a load capacity of 1,500 pounds, and has a power tilt of 90 degrees, allowing slabs to be moved between upright and flat positions.

Options include an AC power system, a vacuum loss warning buzzer, individual pad shut-offs and closed cell foam pad rings for rough surfaces.

A full line of powered vacuum lifters and tilters for handling large, flat panels and awkward loads without slings, clamps or hooks that can cause damage is available from Anver Corp. The Anver ET Series of vacuum lifters and tilters is capable of lifting loads from horizontal to vertical, and will stay in place if dropped during transfer, the company reports. Offered with four or eight adjustable vacuum pads, these lifters allow for one-person manipulation of awkward loads. Ideal for handling standard 6- x 8-foot panels, the Anver ET Series lifters are available in 500-, 1,000- and 2,000-pound capacity models. Powered by either electricity or compressed air, they provide a 100% duty cycle, instant attach and release, and they can be operated in conjunction with a hoist.

Anver Corp. has introduced a new forklift attachment that lets the operator feed single sheets of stone panels or other material into machinery, presses or laser cutting tables, without leaving the cab. The Anver forklift vacuum attachment is a self-contained package that fits over standard forks and locks onto the back plate using a clamp and safety chain. Featuring a vacuum pump and gauge, motor, 12-volt battery and pendant control that reaches into the cab, this attachment operates independently from the forklift and lets the operator pick up and feed one sheet at a time from the top without an overhead crane. Equipped with built-in parking stands, the attachment can easily be stored when not in use. Incorporating a rigid frame with eight spring-suspended vacuum suction cups, these attachments are offered with 1,000-, 2,000-, and 4,000-pound capacities. They eliminate the potential for damage caused by slings and clamps.

Anver Corp. of Hudson, MA, has introduced a new line of explosion-proof, air-powered vacuum stations, which are self-contained for clamping, work holding and other vacuum applications. Anver Compressed Air Powered Vacuum Stations pull a 27-inch Hg vacuum and feature all-pneumatic, energy-saving circuitry, which automatically shuts off compressed air consumption when the proper vacuum level is reached. Ideal for hazardous duty applications where electric pumps cannot be used, they come in four models with vacuum reservoirs from 5 to 30 gallons. Anver vacuum stations include a dry, oil-free air pump, vacuum reservoir, muffler, ball valve for vacuum attach-release, an adjustable vacuum level control switch, gauges, manifolds, line filter, and an air regulator with a gauge and check valve.

Vacuum lifting equipment from Dal Forno is available from International Machine Corp. The company supplies jib cranes, column or brackets units, electric chain and rope hoists; overhead suspended units and lifting units, closing pliers, suction pads, manipulators and vacuum pumps. Of particular interest to custom stone fabricators, the company produces purpose-designed suction pads to maneuver awkward stone pieces, including radius-cut sections.

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