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Owner Maurice Huertas founded the company in 1998 when production stood at merely one kitchen every other week. With assistance from two helpers, he worked out of a 4,400-square-foot facility processing stone by hand using a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable router from Regent Stone Products. Today, the company has grown to include 62 employees who work out of a 26,000-square-foot space on four acres of land. The company has utilized CNC technology for the last six years, and it has recently added an Intermac Master Stone 4000 stoneworking center from AGM (its third AGM/Intermac CNC), to its shop. “CNC technology allows us to do applications, like custom shapes and edge detail, that would not be possible to do by hand,” said Huertas, adding that in-house labor has been reduced by more than 50% due to CNC technology.
The facility also contains four saws, including a Camma bridge saw from Italy, two Matrix GSC 2000/2001 bridge saws and a Metafill SP450 bridge saw from Brazil; four edge polishers: a Sasso Meccanica TE inline multi-head profiler and a Flying Flat Sasso Meccanica edging machine, both from U.S Granite Machinery, as well as a CMPI Mini 60 and a Monlevi Multiprofil Mod IT.
Custom Stone Creations also utilizes a Proliner Digital Templating system from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA. “I totally believe that technology is the reason we have grown the way we have,” said Huertas. “We always take advantage of new technology so we can produce what we do on a daily basis. Consistency delivering the highest quality, complete accuracy in measurements, and the shortest cycle times in the industry, provides peace of mind for us and the client, and are the results of taking advantage of the latest technology in the marketplace.”
Additionally, the company tracks its projects using customized software from Moraware. “We have a separate department that organizes everything for the CNC machines,” the fabricator said, adding that they have one operator per CNC machine.
Today, the company averages about 10 to 20 houses a day, which typically involves anywhere from 600 to 1,000 square feet of finished stone installed, and production comprises 90% residential and 10% commercial work. Additionally, the company handles all of its own installations, and currently runs 14 install trucks. “We don’t outsource any of our projects,” said Huertas. “We like to control the process from the beginning to the end.”
Recently, Huertas has been concerned with the rise of home improvement shows on TV, which are great for the industry in general, but the “reality” in them can be deceiving to the company’s average customer. “Reality shows will take a house and in just 30 minutes, they rip it apart and rebuild it, and everyone is hugging and kissing at the end of the program,” he said. “Customers think their situation is going to be exactly the same. Because of these programs, they think there aren’t ever any problems or delays with production, when the reality is that construction is what it is and it isn’t always going to turn out the way it does on TV.”
To counteract these false idealisms, Custom Stone Creations offers a seminar for designers, homeowners and builders called “Beneath the Surface.” “During the seminar, we go through the different steps that the stone goes through to show them what we are dealing with, so they understand the process and exactly what it is that we do,” Huertas explained.
“Our next update would be a CNC sawing center - something totally programmable,” the owner continued. “We have almost everything computerized now, and we have been talking with AGM and Breton about a CNC saw that is completely programmable.”