In the U.S., one of the fastest growing sectors of the stone industry is the countertop trade. Slabs are being imported to the U.S. from around the world, and more specifically, Brazilian granite imports are increasing every year. To separate itself from some of its competitors, Zucchi Granite Group of Serra, Espirito Santo, Brazil, has enhanced its slab production by offering countertop “blanks,” which have finished edges.

To finish these edges, the company invested in a Comandulli Omega 100 from Italy. This automated machine can fabricate edges from 2 to 10 cm thick, including waterfall, beveled, double eased and bullnose. The edges are completely finished on one, two or three sides as needed, and the company can also do laminated edges.

The production rate for countertop blanks depends on the type of work being done. For basic 3-cm blanks, Zucchi Granite Group can process 50 pieces per day, and for counters with larger laminated edges, the company can process 40 to 50 pieces in a shift. The company is currently working one shift, and a second one will be starting soon.

Surface polishing is done with three 17-head Levibreton machines from Breton of Italy - two in Cachoeiro de Itapemirim and one in Serra - and countertop blanks are treated with epoxy resin as needed. This is becoming more and more common, and the majority of slabs are now treated this way, according to Zucchi.

Zucchi Granite Group places an emphasis on timely production, and it reports that when an order is received, the product is shipped on the next outgoing vessel. To ensure quick delivery, the company maintains a vast inventory of slabs in its slab warehousing area, with over 540,000 square feet of covered space. The slabs are stored in numbered areas, and the bundles are noted on computer.

In addition to offering new finished products, Zucchi Granite Group is also marketing new stone materials. One example is Wooden Silk quartzite, which has shades of brown and tan and veining that recalls the look of natural wood. The material, which is quarried in Minas Gerais, Brazil, can take on a full polish.

Overall, the company has a total of 153 employees, including operations in Cachoiero de Itapemirim and Serra, and it is also planning to develop a new factory in Vitoria.

A total of 100% of Zucchi's production is exported, and the company ships 100 containers of polished slabs to the U.S. each month.