Stone World

Detroit-area fabricator succeeds through specialization

October 1, 2011
business
Over the course of the recession, perhaps no region of the U.S. has been hit harder than the Detroit Metropolitan Area, and this has been especially difficult for many stone fabrication shops serving this market. One exception to this trend has been PMP Marble & Granite of Troy, MI, which has continually invested in digital and computer-controlled technology to be able to service the upper echelon of residential and commercial clients.

According to PMP owner Harry Partalis, 60% of the company’s work is comprised of very high-end residential work. In addition to kitchen countertops, the company processes stonework for applications such as slab showers, fireplaces, foyers, waterjet-cut patterns and other architectural elements. “We fabricate around 20 to 25 slabs per day,” Partalis said. “For high-end residences, we will also do exterior work, such as limestone. We did one house earlier this year that used 30 containers of Vratza limestone.”

PMP Marble also has a commercial department, which does work in the Detroit Metropolitan Area as well as out-of-state projects in areas such as Illinois and Indiana. “We have developed relationships with general contractors as well as architects,” Partalis said. “We saw 35% growth in our commercial work in 2010. Since 2007, we have done six different casinos, and for these jobs, we do the countertops, tile and other stonework.”

The company has a total of 46 workers, including 10 in the office, 22 in the shop, two in the warehouse, 10 installers and two templaters. It also has a satellite location in Cadillac, MI, named Cadillac Cut Stone, which includes a warehouse and a showroom.

Machinery investments

PMP Marble operates with a broad range of machinery, including a Breton NC 160 dual-table CNC stoneworking center and a Breton NC 260 CNC stoneworking center, both of which are equipped with tooling from GranQuartz and vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA.

The company also has a Breton Goldenedge CTX, which is a one-spindle numerically controlled machine to cut straight, flat or profiled edges, and to perform the upper and lower chamfers on stone. Edgework is also processed on a Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M from Italy.

In terms of cutting machinery, PMP Marble operates several numerically controlled saws — a SpiderBreton NC 800 and a SpiderBreton NC 700. The company’s latest investment in computerized bridge sawing equipment is a Noat CNC bridge saw that is also equipped with a lathe.

The shop also operates two CNC waterjets from Flow International, both of which have 8- x 12-foot tables. “The waterjets helped keep us busy when things were really bad,” Partalis explained. “In 2009, the residential work actually kept us going. The very high-end market was still strong, so we did not even drop 5% in sales. Price is also less of an issue with that market.”

Also for specialized stonework, PMP Marble invested in a single-head bridge polisher from Noat. The unit is used to produce brushed and leather surface finishes, and it is equipped with brushes and abrasives from Tenax.

Water is recycled using a treatment system from Italy, and an extensive drainage system was installed throughout the shop floor to ensure proper water flow during production.

In preparing a job for production, workers at PMP Marble use a combination of digital technology and personal attention to detail. Projects are templated using Prodim Proliners, and customers also come in and work with PMP employees to physically lay out the job pieces on the slabs as needed.

A vast inventory

In total, PMP Marble stocks over 6,000 slabs of material in its facilities, and almost all of it is exotics and other high-end stones. Its 56,000-square-foot building sits on over 2.5 acres of land, which includes 1 acre of storage. The company imports material directly from overseas suppliers in nations such as Italy, Brazil, Greece, etc. “For residential work, we are focused on high-end materials — quartzite, Calacatta, onyx,” explained Partalis. “Having inventory makes a big difference for us. Some of our clients are doing houses with six or seven bathrooms, and they can get all of the colors they want right here.”

PMP Marble developed its own software for job scheduling, quotations and inventory — and inventory is maintained for slabs as well as remnants. All slabs are marked with a bar code for easy tracking.

In addition to natural stone products, PMP Marble also processes a range of quartz surfacing, including slabs from Caesarstone and Stone Italiana.                                  

PMP Marble & Granite

Troy, MI

Type of work: slab processing for residential and commercial applications; tilework

Technology: a Breton NC 160 dual-table CNC stoneworking center and a Breton NC 260 CNC stoneworking center, both of which are equipped with tooling from GranQuartz and vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA; Breton Goldenedge CTX numerically controlled edging machine; Marmo Meccanica LCV 711M edger from Italy; SpiderBreton NC 800 and a SpiderBreton NC 700 bridge saws; Noat CNC bridge saw; two CNC waterjets from Flow International; single-head bridge polisher from Noat, which is equipped with brushes and abrasives from Tenax; water treatment system from Italy; Proliner digital templating systems from Prodim

Number of Employees: 46

Production Rate: 20 to 25 slabs per day