Moving from cultured marble to granite

August 1, 2005
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Having been a supplier of cultured marble since 1993, Southern Marble & Design of Orlando, FL, made the move into stone fabrication in 2004, opening a branch called Designer Surfaces, Inc. And to ensure a high level of quality and efficiency, the company has invested in the latest generation of stoneworking machinery, including CNC technology.

Company principals Troy Rash and Pete Schroeder of Designer Surfaces explained that they expanded their product selection to include DuPont Corian solid surfaces, and this expansion continued into DuPont Zodiaq quartz surfacing and ultimately natural stone.

Designer Surfaces has 5,500 square feet of space for stone production, and the most recent investment has been the Compact CNC stoneworking center from Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica USA. The machine can execute complex edges and shapes and runs on four axes, three of which are automatic and one that runs with an inclination device. The machine features an automatic tool changer with 25 positions, and it can cut, polish, contour, grind, drill, engrave and do complete edgework.

Rash said that the CNC was relatively easy to learn. It runs on CAD/CAM software, which includes an application package of set working procedures. Hard templates are made with corrugated plastic, which also allows the templater to note special instructions to be followed during fabrication.

Slabs are cut to size on a Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Dynamica bridge saw, which was designed for optimum accuracy. A high-quality linear slide - with roller and ball bearing system - is equipped on all three axes. This is in place for a high level of precision, vibration-free cuts, increased blade life and reduced maintenance. The design of the 20-hp saw also allows it to have a smaller footprint, reducing the space required in the shop while still allowing it to cut full-size slabs through the use of a rotating bed and multi-directional cutting.

Another recent purchase was a Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Splash for backsplashes. The machine features five 2-hp edge spindles with separate pneumatic adjustment and corresponding pressure gauges. The Splash also has two 2-hp pneumatic spindles for beveling, also with corresponding pressure gauges. “It has been great,” said Rash. “It can do in one hour what used to take us three or four hours.”

In addition to the large-scale machinery, Designer Surfaces also uses two Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable routers for smaller pieces.

The company's stone division fabricates around two kitchens per day - in addition to its work in cultured marble and other man-made products. Designer Surfaces' client base is comprised mainly of builders in Orlando and Central Florida - with a typical kitchen size of 65 to 80 square feet.

End Box

Designer Surfaces, Inc.

Orlando, FL

Type of work: residential kitchen countertops
Machinery: Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica USA Compact CNC stoneworking center; Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Dynamica bridge saw; Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Splash backsplash processing machine; two Regent/Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable routers
Production: 2 kitchens per day (stone division only)

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