FABRICATOR CASE STUDIES: Taking the Plunge into Stone Fabrication
With the experience gained from working for a solid surface business, the owner of Apex Surfaces in Harmony, PA, decided to branch out on his own and start a stone fabricating operation
> Five years ago, Eric Kirby set out to start his own fabrication business. With minimal equipment and staff, he was averaging about one kitchen a week. Since that time, his company, Apex Surfaces, has grown tremendously. And with a state-of-the-art facility, the company's production capacity continues to increase -- making for a prosperous operation.
The fabricator explained that he only had one employee at first to assist him. â€œI started with a rail saw, router and pick-up truck,â€ he said. â€œIt was a very basic set-up. At that time, we were doing about one kitchen a week.â€
The facility is equipped with two Denver Quota CNC machines, which were purchased from Vic International; a Montresor Luna 740 edging machine, supplied by Salem Stone; and two Globo Simplicity saws. The most recent addition to the shop is a Tri-Axe Warrior II bridge saw, which was bought from Sommer and Maca Industries.
In addition to the shop workers, Apex Surfaces also has four full-time installation crews. While installers still use traditional Luan plywood for templating at jobsites, the company has invested in a Stealth digitizer from BVH Gregg about a year ago as well as an electronic templating system from Etemplate System Tri-Tech Solutions, Inc. four months ago.
Keeping up with the demandApex Surfaces is currently in the process of building a 15,000-square-foot facility. â€œOur goal right now is basically to make more room,â€ said Kirby. â€œWe are focusing on completing that move. Our biggest problem now is space for finished products.â€
According to the fabricator, the company also intends to add two more CNC machines to its new facility, which is expected to be ready in August of this year. â€œWe are keeping up with the demand,â€ he said.
Overall, Apex Surfaces' market spans a 150-mile radius. Located about 20 minutes outside of Pittsburgh, its territory ranges into parts of West Virginia and as far east as State College, PA.
Apex SurfacesHarmony, PA
Type of work: Primarily kitchens, some commercial work
Machinery: two Denver Quota CNC machines purchased from Vic International of Knoxville, TN; a Montresor Luna 740 edging machine supplied by Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC; a Tri-Axe Warrior II bridge saw purchased from Sommer and Maca Industries of Cicero, IL; two Globo Simplicity saws; a Stealth digitizer from BVH Gregg Inc. of Missouri City, TX; and a digitizing templating system from Etemplate System Tri-Tech Solutions, Inc. of Raleigh, NC
Number of Employees: 39
Production Rate: 8 kitchens a day