RE-EMERGING U.S. STONE INDUSTRY: From North Carolina to the world
Dating back to 1885, Rock of Ages Corp. of Barre, VT, has grown into a stone-production powerhouse - with ownership of 10 active quarries and five manufacturing and sawing facilities in North America. The publicly owned company is a leading quarrier of granite in the U.S. and Canada, and it is among the world's largest manufacturers and retailers of granite memorials. While the majority of Rock of Ages' quarrying sites and fabricating plants are located in Vermont and the Province of Quebec, the company also owns a successful quarrying operation in Salisbury, NC.
Rock of Ages acquired ownership of the Salisbury Pink quarry in 1997. With 50 workers and several supervisors, the quarry produces an average of 8,000 cubic meters on an annual basis. Equipment at the site includes Caterpillar 992 loaders, Tamrock drills from Finland - including 600 Slotliners and Commandos - Ned-Jet waterjets and Pellegrini diesel diamond wire saws.
Updating extraction methodsThe quarry has recently been going through a transition to phase out the torches that have been used previously for channeling, according to Campo. â€œThese have been gradually replaced with the diamond wire saws, slot drills and waterjets to produce more economically as well as being more environmental friendly,â€ he said.
Each of the methods Campo mentioned has specific advantages and disadvantages that determine under what conditions it is best utilized. Water is used in conjunction with each cutting method to suppress dust, control heat and wash detritus from the cut.
When using a diamond wire saw for channeling, a vertical and a horizontal hole are drilled with a conventional pneumatic drill so that they meet at a right angle. A strand of diamond wire is then fed through the holes, and the saw maintains the proper tension as the stone is cut by the moving of the entire saw unit away from the quarry face along the set of rails.
According to Rock of Ages, benches at the quarry are typically about 40 feet long, 30 feet wide and 15 to 17 feet in height. The average size of a block measures about 10 x 5 x 5 feet and weighs over 20 tons.
Market / projectsThe primary export market for Salisbury Pink granite is Asia, but Europe and the Middle East have now become interested in the product as well, said Campo. In Asia, the granite is favored for its light color and consistent texture.
Among the most recent uses of Salisbury Pink granite was the â€œPhase Twoâ€ project at the Hamburg Airport in Germany, where it was employed as flooring in a new terminal. Moreover, the material has been employed for many other high-profile projects worldwide.