Organizers of the StonExpo and Marble Institute of America (MIA) Convention, which was held from December 4 to 6, 2003 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA, were pleased to report that the latest edition of the show set a new record for attendees and exhibitors. Anticipating the increase in growth - based on strong exhibitor response to the results from the previous year's exhibition as well as the continued strength in the housing and construction markets - show management had committed to an additional 100,000 square feet of floor space.

The total attendance, including both attendees and exhibitors, for the 2003 exhibition reached 5,085. This represented a 20% increase over StonExpo 2002, according to show management. “StonExpo has been the stone industry's leading show for 15 years, and the level of support for this event proves that StonExpo is still regarded as the best place to learn about new developments and to conduct business with major suppliers of all types,” stated Pennie Sabel, Executive Director, adding that the show's growth can be attributed to aggressive marketing and promotion, new attendees and updated conference topics introduced by the MIA. “A success like this is no accident. We not only took steps to upgrade our event marketing, but we also made sure our program content was updated to deliver the best information possible to help our attendees keep ahead of industry trends and build their business.”

This year's improved marketing and promotional campaign included a new graphic look that added a richer and more polished feel to the exhibition, reported show management. Additionally, there were new promotional pieces and a higher frequency and expanded target audience for the campaign. The show also mailed focused pieces to key elements of the industry. Targeted e-mails and stronger industry association support were also part of the new program.

Another aspect of the campaign was a direct focus on attracting more architects and designers, multiple mailings to fabricators and a wider use of advertising in more industry publications. StonExpo's Web site at was also revitalized, and features the introduction of a new product section that attendees could view to see new innovations being introduced at the show.

According to Sabel, StonExpo is unique in the industry because it's the only tradeshow that is a non-profit event and is owned by the StonExpo Federation, a consortium of industry representatives. Revenues from the show are used to promote the use of natural stone and to educate users and specifiers about the quality and advantage of using natural stone. To better service participating companies, a new exhibitor advisory board was recently established and had its first meeting during this year's show. This group was formed to function as a direct channel between exhibiting companies and the StonExpo Federation, according to Sabel.

Show management reported that StonExpo 2003 received overwhelmingly positive responses from exhibitors. Many cited strong booth traffic for the duration of the event, and more than 50% of next year's floor plan was sold at the space selection meeting. “Exhibitors are always looking for strong return on their marketing investment,” stated Sabel. “The fact that so many have already reserved space for next year is testament to how well StonExpo helps them generate sales and achieve their marketing goals.”

MIA events

In addition to the exhibition, the MIA conducted its Cornerstone Forum Seminars throughout the three days of the event. These presentations are designed to provide attendees with education and training by addressing specific issues and areas of interest that affect the stone industry today. Several new topics were added to the 2003 schedule, which proved to be well received, according to organizers. Among these newcomers were a two-part presentation on countertop fabrication, an introduction to stone design and the fabricator's forum, which focused on issues in residential projects.

The MIA also held its annual meeting and Pinnacle Awards luncheon during StonExpo 2003. At the meeting, the MIA elected a new Board of Directors. The group appointed Paul Vigna of Artisan Tile & Marble of New Jersey as President for 2004; Scott Lardner of Rocky Mountain Stone Co. as Vice President; Kenny Krebs of Tennessee Tile & Marble Co. Inc. as Secretary; and Jack Seiders of Architectural Granite & Marble as Treasurer. Newly elected to the Board as Directors were Jim Hogan of Carrara Marble Company of America, Inc. and Jim Janochoski of Cold Spring Granite Company. “I'm very excited and honored to take the reins of MIA at this critical time in the natural stone industry, when MIA's role in educating the design community and the general public about the value of real stone is more important than ever,” stated Vigna, who succeeds Richard A. Booms of Booms Stone Company in Redford, MI. “Rich Booms and the staff of MIA have done a tremendous job this past year increasing MIA's influence in stone education and promotion, and I intend to build upon their success in the months ahead.”

Overall, it was a very successful show for MIA, which broke a new membership record when it enrolled its 1,000th member at the event.

The Pinnacle Awards competition is designed to recognize excellence in commercial and residential natural stone projects worldwide. At the December gathering, nine projects were singled out from a record-breaking number of entries for demonstrating superior beauty, creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship by MIA-member stone suppliers, fabricators and installers. The projects ranged from upscale residential renovations to a luxurious hotel. Three special awards for achievement in restoration were also among the honorees.

Additionally, the MIA held its gala reception for its members after the opening day of StonExpo. Sponsors of the event included Stone World, Schechner Lifson Corp., Park Industries and International Granite & Marble. The reception, as well as the Pinnacle Awards luncheon, was well attended.

StonExpo 2004 is slated for October 28 to 30 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Side bar
Stone World presents Technological Achievement Award

Since 1987, a committee of stone industry veterans has worked together to select the winners of the Stone World Technological Achievement Award. The award, which is given to a North American stone quarrier or fabricator, is based on the following criteria:

  • cooperativeness in sharing technology with the industry

  • willingness to pioneer the use of new technology

  • fostering educational programs for the training of stoneworkers in industry methods

  • promoting technological progress through association work

This year's award was given to Kip Cameron of Granite-Tops in Cold Spring, MN.

Kip Cameron's progressive, customer-focused business plan - coupled with visionary use of advanced production machinery and leading edge business systems technology - has allowed Granite-Tops to grow in eight years from a three-person start-up shop working in 4,000 square feet of space to more than 50 employees housed in a new state-of-the-art fabrication facility with more than 10 times the original space. Cameron has helped pioneer several fabrication advances, such as widely used installation rollers, innovative racking systems and thin backsplash jigs. He has collaborated with industry leaders GranQuartz, Continental Diamond, Cold Spring Granite and Park Industries to produce a new generation of diamond production tooling. Cameron has personally trained dozens of start-up fabricators across the nation. He has always had an open-shop policy for trade association members, other fabricators, machine manufacturers and stoneworking supplies vendors. His new facility has several classrooms for formal training of his employees and for the use of visiting designers and his customers. He also works with a local school district to promote the understanding of manufacturing and careers in stone fabrication.

The current roster of winners of the Stone World Technological Achievement Award is as follows:

2003 -- Kip Cameron, Granite-Tops
2002 -- George Fox, Luck Stone Corp.
2001 -- Fred Becker of Becker & Becker Stone Co.
2000 -- Connie and Brenda Edwards of TexaStone Quarries
1999 -- Walter Dusenbery of Johnson-Atelier School of Sculpture
1998 -- Harold Stobbe of Owen Sound Ledgerock
1996 -- Willard Vetter of Vetter Stone Co.
1995 -- Chuck Monson of Dakota Granite Co.
1994 -- Linus Dingman of Cold Spring Granite Co.
1993 -- David Teitelbaum of Cathedral Stoneworks
1991 -- Wilbur Bybee of Bybee Stone Co.
1989 -- Tony Ramos of New England Stone Industries
1988 -- Jim Stengel of Dakota Granite Co.
1987 -- David Elliott of Elliott Stone Co.

Exhibitors at StonExpo 2003

Once again, StonExpo was a forum for companies to introduce
new products to the marketplace and to improve existing products. The following is a sampling of the products on display at StonExpo 2003 in Atlanta. For more information on these products, circle the indicated number on the Reader Service Card enclosed on this issue.

Stone Suppliers

AGM Imports - Ocean Sunset, which has tones of green, blue and rust and is characterized by lively movement on its surface
Circle No. 285

Ancor Granite Tile - Burl Wood sandstone, which is available in earth tones such as brown or tan, with distinctive surface patterning; the stone, which is quarried in America, is generally suited for interior and exterior use; also showcased Garnet Gem granite from the U.S., which has tones of rust, gray and black
Circle No. 284

CCS - flamed Portuguese Cacais limestone; the company also noted that its supply of Rosa Aurora is improving
Circle No. 283

Dimpomar - promoted marble and limestone varieties from Portugal, including renowned stones such as Rosa Auora and Gascogne Blue, in tiles, slabs and cut-to-size pieces
Circle No. 282

G & L Marble - two granites, Aura, a reddish stone with a deep gray pattern, and Juparana Fuego, which has a cream-colored background with a black swirl pattern and flecks of brown
Circle No. 281

Global Granite & Marble - showcased the use of its stone materials for high-end residential and commercial projects, with products such as tumbled tiles, moldings, sinks and cladding
Circle No. 280

Granitas - featured Scabas travertine from its own quarries in Turkey, in four-piece patterns with finishes such as honed and chiseled; a broad range of mosaics
Circle No. 279

Indiana Limestone Co. - blocks and slabs of Indiana limestone, which are inventoried for immediate delivery; a total of over 8,000 blocks are available from its 90-acre storage yard
Circle No. 278

Luxstone - a broad range of finished stone products and architectural work from its group of fabricators in Brazil
Circle No. 277

Meshoppen Stone - Honed Bluestone, which can be used for countertops; Thermal Blue Flagstone
Circle No. 276

Mystic Granite & Marble - Desert Monzonite from the company's new quarry
Circle No. 275

Polycor - promoted the company's purchase of the Georgia Marble Co. and its line of products
Circle No. 274

Royal Granite - new granites, Costa Blue, an exotic pinkish/tan stone with black specks; Fantasy Blue, a gray stone with tan and black; Sunshine Blue, a gold and grayish/blue stone; Giallo Tropical, a black, gray and pink stone; Peacock Florito, a lighter version of the original
Circle No. 273

Fabrication Products

AGM Engineering - featured the Intermac Master Stone 1500, a new numerically controlled 3-axis router
Circle No. 272

Alpha Professional Tools - the Profiler, which makes the process of creating the perfect roundover on granite, marble, all engineered stones and porcelain simple, fast and foolproof, the company reports; Alpha created the Profiler to be used with hand-held, center water feed polishers, such as the Alpha® AIR-658 or AWP-158
Circle No. 271

Auto “V” Grooving - stone 'V' groovers, which create a 'V' cut, allowing fabricators to make any sized front edge; because 'V' Grooving eliminates the need for creating strips to be applied onto an edge, the material pattern and design continues as it folds over the edge
Circle No. 270

BVH Gregg Inc. - promoted stone estimating software, the Stealth 7200 Digitizer
Circle No. 269

Braxton-Bragg - promoted its marketing campaign of “killer deals” with savings up to 35% on fabricating machinery and accessories; new CNC tooling from Ghines
Circle No. 268

Breton S.p.A. - the new Contourbreton NC260 computer numerically controlled stoneworking center, which is an alternative to the NC250 for those who want a larger worktable; the machine has useful working travels of 3,500 x 2,300 mm and a tool store with up to 36 positions
Circle No. 267

Brembana/CMS North America Inc. - introduced Waterline by Tecnocut, a machine equipped with CNC cutting table, pressure intensifier and CAD - CAM programming station; a line of bridge saws, including the Flexa 625 designed for slab and solid piece cutting with thickness values up to 200 mm
Circle No. 266

Cam Tech Industries Inc. - demonstrated the L20, a new machine equipped with faster feature run software, giving it more speed than the discontinued L10
Circle No. 265

Carter Products - the Z-Laser Model CPS Laser Pattern Projection System, which can accept .DXF part geometry files produced by AutoCAD or similar programs and output the pattern of that geometry in laser light directly onto the working surface
Circle No. 264
Diamant Boart - a complete new range of blades, simplifying and improving the existing range in order to give a clear choice to its customers; the Euroserie covers the range of standard blades for marble and granite cutting, with a diamond height of 5 or 7 for marble and 12-mm pagoda segments for granite; the Magnum XL covers the range of segmented blades used exclusively for granite cutting. It has a higher segment height than Euroserie 10, 12 and 20 mm with Creneaux segments
Circle No. 263

Diamax Industries, Inc.- new Cyclone blade, specifically for porcelain tile; Super Cyclone blade with a longer, taller segment
Circle No. 262

Diamond Productions Canada - displayed a new and improved line of brazed grinding disks, measuring 4 1⁄2 inches and 7 inches with a bigger lift to ride on stone
Circle No. 261

ETemplate Systems - Itelli Mark Technology, a specially coded target that has a unique ring around the center mark that the ETemplate Photo software can recognize from photo to photo
Circle No. 260

GMM - the Eura bridge saw, which can be equipped with blades up to 625 mm in diameter; this basic bridge saw is for small workshops and large plants, and it is extremely suitable for small productions; all operations are executed either manually by the operator or automatically by the simple “Multicut” program, carrying out parallel cuts with fixed dimensions repeatable up to 99 times
Circle No. 259

Granite City Tool - displayed two new series of titanium blades, including Diamant-D Lampo and Dia-Plus K2; introduced the Blue Ripper Jr. rail saw from Omega
Circle No. 258

Groves Inc. - Universal A-Frame Racks, which feature forklift pockets on all four sides and its rugged 40-inch-wide x 84-inch-long frame holds up to 8,000 pounds; a new Bundle Rack, which stores bundles or slabs up to 6,000 pounds between posts
Circle No. 257

Ghines - the Systhema stoneworking unit, which was designed to be at the top of the AMP (Aided Manual Processing) class; the operating head allows users to work in every direction and inclines with diamond blades, shaped wheels, bits, core drills and any other type of tool
Circle No. 256

GranQuartz - the Seelbach FPS-1600, is a linear guided machine unit for grinding and polishing cutouts and drain boards, with a processing range of: 5 feet, 2 inches for the X-axis, 29 inches for the Y-axis, and 5 feet, 2 inches for the Z-axis; GranQuartz also announced that it has a full-time CNC technician as a free service to its customers
Circle No. 255

Hard Rock Tool - introduced the Rockbiter, a stone chiseling tool; F.I.M.A.D. diamond blades for in-line polishing systems offered exclusively in the U.S. through the company
Circle No. 254

High Tech Stone, Inc. - introduced brand new machine center, Galaxy 4000 Multistar; promoted an Etching Unit with carbide tip, competing against laser systems
Circle No. 253

International Machine Corp. - The Technostone 1500 x 3000, the Technostone 2300 x 4000 and the Multiwork STP from Bimatech, base models of CNC stoneworking equipment from Italy
Circle No. 252

Italdiamant - Testa Rossa diamond blades, which come in sizes ranging from 10 to 24 inches, and work on marble, granite and porcelain
Circle No. 251

Levi Tunisi - The LT FP/600 bridge saw, which was designed for cutting and squaring marble, granite and stone slabs
Circle No. 250

Marmo Meccanica - the CTEC3, a 3-axis, numerically controlled milling machine with a software program that is easy to learn and is compatible with all versions of AutoCAD software
Circle No. 249

Marmoelettromeccanica - the Robotop CNC machine, which has a one-piece, heavy-duty construction, which aids in shipment and installation as well as providing a vibration-free platform; it has a 4-axis configuration, giving the owner the capability to engrave as well as perform standard CNC functions, and a 14-position automatic tool changer
Circle No. 248

Matrix Stone Products - the Sebring bridge saw, which was designed for optimum efficiency with high-grade components, such as a powerful 20-horsepower direct-drive Italian sawing motor, a precision ground saw bridge, a German-made laser, an amperage meter for maximum cutting efficiency, and direct-drive DC-Electric motors with fingertip speed control for all drive motions
Circle No. 247

Mix Right Inc. - introduced the Vibratory Tumbler, available in Spring 2004, for tiles measuring 4 to 24 inches
Circle No. 246
Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. - promoted the CNC T1383, with laser technology
Circle No. 245

Park Industries - Odyssey II SE, a single-spindle machine with no saw that can be used for countertop fabrication
Circle No. 244

Regent Stone Products - the “Frangistone” series of router bits, where the first bit, “Position 0,” actually removes chunks of material from the edge rather than pulverizing, resulting in a much quicker operation
Circle No. 243

Rolling Rock Building Stone Inc. - natural stone for veneers and three-dimensional landscape/architectural applications, from the company's quarries in Pennsylvania as well as elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad
Circle No. 242

Salem Stone - Kolb Genius 3000 processing center and Ravelli CNC machine
Circle No. 241

Sawing Systems - the 511-C Gantry Profiling Saw, which is designed to produce profile shapes directly from CAD-generated files without the difficulties associated with G-code; this new straight line cutting technology offered by Sawing Systems is designed to be simple to operate with cost efficiency
Circle No. 240

Sommer and Maca Industries - promoted its own line of Somaca Warrior Diamond Blades for marble, granite and ceramics; the Turbo continuous rim blades are available in three grades - from Standard to Supreme
Circle No. 239

Stone Boss - Granite Boss air polishers and grinders; now stocks an array of pneumatic grinders and polishers
Circle No. 238

Thibaut - The T108A stoneworking center, which offers fabricators the possibility of fabricating kitchen countertops or vanity tops automatically, without the assistance of any operator; it offers all the advantages of a T108 line, but with automation, allowing the unit to operate without a template or operator, and it can process a broad range of forms and shapes, which can be stored in memory
Circle No. 237

Tyrolit Vincent North America - display of Ty-Rex and Raptor blades
Circle No. 236

U.S. Granite Machinery - the Sassomeccanica Flying Flat edging machine, which can process a minimum breadth of 100 mm and a minimum thickness of 20 mm and maximum of 60 mm
Circle No. 235
Vic International Corp. - promoted the Veri-Dry Dust Collector, which controls dust and silica when edge cutting; introduced a Bowl Hole System, designed to make cutting stone for sinks and cooking tops easier
Circle No. 234

VMC Technical Assistance Corp. - VTS Zek Wheels, which are available in diameters of 4 and 7 inches and can be fitted on a right angle grinder as opposed to a traditional portable router; a new silent core blade for granite, which comes in diameters of 14, 16 and 18 inches, fitted with the only 15-mm mid segment blade for granite on the market, according to the company
Circle No. 233

Vytek Industrial Laser Systems - displayed a new portable, affordable laser engraver, the Tile Bandit, which can work on large-scale areas
Circle No. 232

W.F. Meyers - Dia-Brasive® circular diamond blades, which can meet exact sawing applications; these blades can cut limestone, marble, Bluestone, sandstone, granite, slate, man-made synthetic stone, carbon, graphite or refractory materials; circular blades range from 6 inches to 9 feet, with replaceable diamond segments
Circle No. 231

Windy Ridge Corp. - the Jet Stik surfacing tool, which can be used for surfacing, edging, sculpting and carving stone
Circle No. 230

Wood's Powr-Grip Co., Inc. - the MT8 vacuum lifter for maneuvering stone slabs, which is fitted with eight 10-inch pads and has a load capacity of 1,200 pounds
Circle No. 229

Z. Bavelloni - the new Egar 323/5, a 5-axis CNC machine for several different types of work; the machine was designed and built to operate on the large-sized and very thick pieces that are typical of the building sector, and it can also carry out the high-quality polishing work that is required in the decorating sector
Circle No. 228

Installation and Maintenance Products

Akemi North America - Recrystallizer, which compacts the stone surface, making it easier to maintain and adds luster to new and old floors; treatment can also make the surface more slip-resistant
Circle No. 227

Aqua Mix - Enrich 'N Seal enhancer for natural stone - works on flamed, tumbled, polished and honed finishes; Countertop Cream that polishes granite so it “pops” more
Circle No. 226

Bonstone - introduced the Touchstone Express, a new laminating system for granite, marble and engineered stone
Circle No. 225

Glaze 'N Seal - offered a line of impregnators, including Stain Defense, Stone Sealant and Color Enhancer, that can be used on all stone and tile products; the products are oil and water resistant, easy to use and do not have an unpleasant odor
Circle No. 224

Maverick International - a new floor care system with a KT single-brush machine to allow for easy restoration
Circle No. 223

Miracle Sealants Co.- promoted its updated Web site at, which offers new features including more technical support and downloadable care kits; offered Counter Kleen and Mira Skidd cleaner for tile
Circle No. 222

Stone Care International - Stoneglide Wipes, which are suited for all kitchen countertop surfaces in one product; a streak-free formula leaves kitchen countertops clean after each use with no rinsing required
Circle No. 221

Tenax - Ager stone treatment, which gives a bright, uniform color to profiled stone edges, allowing them to perfectly match the polished surface
Circle No. 220

Stone Industry Associations
and Events

IMM Carrara - promoted the next edition of CarraraMarmotec, which is set to take place from May 26 to 29, 2004
Circle No. 219

Marmomacc - announced dates for Marmomacc 2004, which will take place from October 7 to 10, 2004
Circle No. 218

Natural Stone Council - worked on fund raising for generic natural stone promotion, including its upcoming large-scale exhibition at the 2004 AIA Convention in Chicago
Circle No. 217

Indiana Limestone Institute - distributed literature promoting Indiana limestone, including the latest edition of the Indiana Limestone Handbook
Circle No. 216

Photo captions within story

The 2003 StonExpo and Marble Institute of America Convention was held from December 4 to 6 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. The total attendance, including both attendees and exhibitors, for the 2003 exhibition reached 5,085. This represented a 20% increase over StonExpo 2002, reported show management.

Live demonstrations of stoneworking equipment and accessories took place on the show floor throughout the three days of the event.

According to many exhibitors, StonExpo 2003 brought in many quality visitors who were looking to invest in new machinery.

The newly established Natural Stone Council, which was formed to raise the level of awareness and education of natural stone in the North American market, drew strong interest at the event, with dozens of companies pledging their support.

The MIA held its gala reception for its members after the opening day of the event. Sponsors of the affair included Stone World, Schechner Lifson Corp., Park Industries and International Granite & Marble.

During the reception, MIA Executive Vice President Gary Distlehorst and Stone World Publisher Alex Bachrach announced winners of various raffles held during the event.