Stone World

CNC technology Adds Efficiency for Large-Scale Plant

April 28, 2009
Neka, Inc., a large-scale stone fabrication business in Dulles, VA, was started by Nevzat Kansu in 1989.


With a background in construction, Nevzat Kansu decided to use his experience and know-how to open Neka, Inc., a large-scale stone fabrication business, in Dulles, VA, in 1989. And to aid the company in reaching the level of success that it reaps today, Kansu has equipped the 60,000-square-foot shop with an assortment of top-of-the-line machinery over the past 20 years, including three Bavelloni Egar CNC stoneworking centers.

The 60,000-square-foot facility sits on 6 acres just outside of the Dulles International Airport, and it is filled with an array of state-of-the-art fabrication equipment.

“We first invested in a CNC about eight or nine years ago,” said Ayhan Ozdag, the company’s Vice President, who is an architect by trade and oversees Neka’s entire operation. “The main reason was to follow the latest technology and increase the quality of our products, although our quality was already up there.”

Ozdag explained that the company first invested in only one CNC machine, but eventually purchased two additional ones. “It worked great, so we decided to get more,” he said. “Now we have three. After the learning curve, the CNC gave us more speed.”

Among the key components of the production process are three CNC stoneworking centers - a Bavelloni Egar 250-4 “N,” a Bavelloni Egar 323-4 “N” and a Bavelloni Egar 450-4”N” - all supplied by Bavelloni - Glaston Italy S.p.A.’s U.S. office, which is Glaston North America (USA), Inc. in Greensboro, NC.

The three CNCs in the fabrication shop include a Bavelloni Egar 250-4 “N,” a Bavelloni Egar 323-4 “N” and a Bavelloni Egar 450-4”N” - all supplied by Bavelloni - Glaston Italy S.p.A.’s U.S. office, which is Glaston North America (USA), Inc. in Greensboro, NC. Ozdag explained that while there was some time involved in first learning the machine, the CNCs have now increased Neka’s production by about 20%.

“After the learning curve, the CNC gave us more speed,” said Ayhan Ozdag, the company’s Vice President, who is an architect by trade and oversees Neka’s entire operation.

“I was the one learning first, and operated it for about six months or longer,” he said. “Then mechanical engineer Charlie Demirci came on board, and he took over. He is still with us, and with another operator, managing the three CNCs.”

“The main reason [for getting a CNC machine] was to follow the latest technology and increase the quality of our products, although our quality was already up there,” said Ozdag.

In addition to the CNCs, other equipment used in Neka’s fabrication process includes: four Bisso E350 bridge saws; a Comandulli Edilux edge polisher and two Comandulli PNC Synthesis edge polishers, all from Comandulli Costruzioni Meccaniche Srl of Castelleone, Italy, whose U.S. office is in Houston, TX; a Thibaut T108S router and polisher and a Thibaut T-500 CO SP automatic surfacing and polishing machine from Thibaut of Vire, France; a Pellegrini WTS + F220 for flaming and waterstorming from Pellegrini Meccanica S.p.A. of Verona, Italy; a Flying Bridge 6012 Flow waterjet cutting machine from Flow International of Kent, WA; a Kaeser BSD 50T and a CSD 60T air compressor from Kaeser Compressors, Inc. of Fredericksburg, VA; a Fraccaroli & Balzan waste recycling system from Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC; and a Bavelloni Rev/372 SR glass cutting machine.

Tooling for the CNCs are purchased from companies such as Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA.

The company’s most recent investment is a “Blast Room” from Industrial Blast Facilities by Clemco. “We can make different kinds of finishes, such as flaming, which makes us different from other granite fabricators,” said Ozdag. “Not many fabricators have a Clemco blasting machine.”

The majority of Neka’s tools and accessories are purchased from companies such as Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA. Additionally, the shop is equipped with an assortment of handling equipment, including Dal Forno vacuum lifters from International Machine Corp. (IMC) of Holbrook, NY, ATA vacuum lifters, six overhead cranes, more than 12 jib crane workstations, a 12-ton Sard crane and a truck-mounted Atlas boom crane.

Neka uses a Pellegrini WTS + F220 from Pellegrini Meccanica S.p.A. of Verona, Italy, to create a unique waterjet-textured surface as well as traditional finishes, such as flamed, on stone. The machine uses a high-pressure waterjet directed at the surface, which produces cavities of variable depth, depending on the structure and composition of the material being processed.

Utilizing digital templating

In addition to a staff of 14 that works in the fabrication facility, other important members of the staff include Ekrem Kaya, who is a civil engineer by trade and works as Ozdag’s “right-hand man,” as well as Tulin K. Demirci and Elif Kaya of the purchasing department. And to complete installations, the company employs four installation crews. It has invested in a Stealth 7200 Digitizer to provide precise measurements.

A Flying Bridge 6012 waterjet from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA, is used to produce detailed custom stone pieces.

“We decided to get a Stealth 7200 Digitizer because it is a two-dimensional, compact measurement system that is 100% accurate,” said Ozdag. “It reads the coordinates and makes drawings on your computer system.”

Dal Forno vacuum lifters from International Machine Corp. (IMC) of Holbrook, NY, as well as ATA vacuum lifters are used to maneuver slabs around the shop.

According to Ozdag, using digital templating has saved Neka time at the jobsite. “As everybody knows, walls are not always straight on 90 degrees,” he said. “With the digitizer, we can measure those kind of walls as close as 1/16 of an inch. Our installers do not have to make extra cuts at the jobsite, and they finish the job easier and faster.”

The fabrication area also houses four Bisso E350 bridge saws.

Ozdag went on to explain that the digitizer is very helpful with round top measurement. “Once we had the digitizer, we could cut a top with the waterjet and reduce the waste material,” he said. “Also, if we need to replace a top in a couple of years, we don’t have to go and re-measure it because we already have the template in our library. It can also be used for sink cutouts.”

Additionally, two Comandulli PNC Synthesis edge polishers are used in the production process.

It takes about a week for someone who already knows CAD programs and is familiar with using a computer to learn how to work the Stealth 7200 Digitizer, said Ozdag. “When you practice, it gets more fun and easier to work with,” he said. “The only minus is the weight of the equipment, but you get used to it.”

The Thibaut T108S multi-purpose machine is used for bowl cut-outs, edging and face polishing of marble or granite. It can also be used for honing, antiquing, drilling, drain-boards, grooving, calibrating and other functions.

Providing high-quality service

At this time, approximately 60% of Neka’s stone production is commercial, while the other 40% is for the residential sector. On average, the company produces about 2,000 square feet per week, although this number can vary quite a bit, said Ozdag, adding that the company also caters to the retail and glass markets.

A total of 14 workers are on staff in the fabrication shop - each focusing on specific areas of the operation, such as reinforcing edges.

“Neka Inc. was established with the primary objective of supplying high-quality dimensional stone and glass products to local and national builders, contractors, architects, designers, millworks and cabinet distributors,” said Ozdag. “We are one of the largest importers, fabricators and installers on the East Coast.”

The Thibaut T 500 flat polisher was designed as a rigid and accurate polishing machine with a cast iron beam. It is capable of polishing, surfacing, roughing and bushhammering.

Primarily, the company services the areas of Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware. Products include kitchen and bathroom countertops and fireplace surrounds as well as lobby floors, walls and reception desks. Recent projects completed by Neka include the Willard Hotel, Mon-Ami restaurant in Reston, VA, and Jackson’s Mighty Mighty Fine Food & Lounge.

Hand tools are used to put finishing touches on pieces such as countertops.

In the future, Neka hopes to increase its commercial market, according to Ozdag. “We would also like to increase volume of other applications such as glass and metal,” he said.

The company’s most recent investment is a “Blast Room” from industrial Blast Facilities by Clemco. “We can make different kinds of finishes, such as flaming, which makes us different from other granite fabricators,” said Ozdag.

Sidebar: Neka, Inc.

Dulles, VA

Type of work: 60% commercial, 40% residential

Machinery: a Bavelloni Egar 250-4 “N,” a Bavelloni Egar 323-4 “N” and a Bavelloni Egar 450-4”N” CNC stoneworking centers - all supplied by Bavelloni - Glaston Italy S.p.A.’s U.S. office, which is Glaston North America (USA), Inc. in Greensboro, NC; four Bisso E350 bridge saws; a Comandulli Edilux edge polisher and two Comandulli PNC Synthesis edge polishers, all from Comandulli Costruzioni Meccaniche Srl of Castelleone, Italy, whose U.S. office is in Houston, TX; a Thibaut T108S router and polisher and a Thibaut T-500 CO SP automatic surfacing and polishing machine from Thibaut of Vire, France; a Pellegrini WTS + F220 for flaming and waterstorming from Pellegrini Meccanica S.p.A. of Verona, Italy; a Flying Bridge 6012 Flow waterjet cutting machine from Flow International of Kent, WA; a “Blast Room” from Industrial Blast Facilities by Clemco of Washington, MO; a Kaeser BSD 50T and a CSD 60T air compressor from Kaeser Compressors, Inc. of Fredericksburg, VA; a Fraccaroli & Balzan waste recycling system from Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC; and a Bavelloni Rev/372 SR glass cutting machine; ATA vacuum lifters, Dal Forno vacuum lifters from International Machine Corp. (IMC) of Holbrook, NY; tools and accessories from Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA

Number of Employees: 14 in the fabrication shop, 4 installation crews

Production Rate: approximately 2,000 square feet per week

At this time, 60% of Neka’s stone production is commercial work, while the other 40% is for the residential sector. The company makes a variety of stone products, including large countertops.

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