For over 25 years, the Italian company Bruno Zanet has been a pioneer in the Brazilian stone market. It has been a quarrier and trader of blocks in Brazil since the 1970s, and it recently took a major step with the development of a state-of-the-art factory for slab resining and polishing.

The Brazilian operation - known as Brasil Exportacao - is in Viana, Espirito Santo, Brazil, which places it between the quarries of northern Espirito Santo and the port of Vitoria. It has over 100,000 square feet of covered space, and it was completed in only six months, which is almost unheard of

in Brazil.

All of the machinery is from Gaspari Menotti of Italy, including the polishing equipment as well as large-scale machinery for automatically applying resin to the slabs with minimal curing time. During the process, slabs are first honed, and then dried in a large oven, which removes virtually all moisture from the slab and allows for optimum penetration of the resin. An epoxy resin from Tenax S.p.A. of Italy is then automatically applied, and the slabs are then delivered to a second oven, which speeds the curing process. The ovens are among the largest available in the industry, with each having the capacity to accommodate 80 slabs at one time.

Polishing is done with the Gaspari Menotti PGM 2200, which is equipped with 22 heads. The unit can process slabs ranging from 1 to 12 cm in thickness, and it features an electronic slab-reading unit and computerized self-adjustment of the working heads. This allows the machine to work slabs of irregular widths or lengths.

In addition to advanced machinery for applying resin and polishing, Bruno Zanet also has Gaspari Menotti equipment for other specialized functions. Slabs are automatically loaded and unloaded from the production line, and equipment can automatically turn the slabs as needed for bookmatching. To provide an extra service for its export clients, Bruno Zanet also has a multi-head saw for squaring the edges of the slabs, resulting in finished material that is 100% useable.

The entire line is 525 feet long, and as slabs exit the line, they are affixed with a bar code that allows for effective tracking and inventory. Overall, the facility can process 16,000 square feet of stone per day.

Four 10-ton overhead cranes from Venturini are in operation at the plant, which processes 55 different materials, and the company is continually looking into new materials. At the time of Stone World's visit to the factory, Bruno Zanet had just begun processing a new stone variety that featured a brown tone with blue accents.

A total of 20 employees work at the factory and storage yards, and 10 work in the office. The new Brazilian operation works under close supervision by the company's management, as company founder Bruno Zanet has been living in Brazil for 25 years. Additionally, his son, Giorgio Zanet, has been in the country for 15 years.

Virtually all of the production is exported, and 80% of slabs go to the U.S. market. The remaining exports go to Italy, China and England.