Fabricator Thrives in the Commercial Sector
Established in 1989, D&J Tile Co., Inc. of San Carlos, CA, has grown to become one of the largest tile and stone contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area. And over the past few years, the company has made significant investments in machinery to ensure it holds its leading position well into the future.
Company owner David Newman said that he became involved in the industry as a summer job out of high school, and he has stayed with it for nearly two decades. “Back in those days, the dot-comers weren’t here [in Northern California,] so a lot of people got into the trades,” he said.
Shop MachineryOver the years, D&J Tile has invested in a broad range of machinery, and the company’s lineup of technology is continually being updated. Most recently, the company added a dual-table Park Fusion 6200 combination bridge saw/waterjet from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. “We’re really happy with that machine,” Newman said, adding that the machine was easy for the staff to implement into the company’s overall production. “We’re very computer oriented here. The whole slab shop is CAD-compatible. When you’re already running CNC and waterjet, the Fusion is as cookie cutter as everything else.”
Other equipment from Park Industries includes the Fastback for backsplash production, a Pro Edge edging machine and a Jaguar bridge saw.
To maximize the company’s water usage efficiency, D&J Tile invested in a custom-made EnviroSystem water recycling system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH. “It is a large one, and we’ve been thrilled with it,” Newman said. “They came out and hooked us up with a very good system.”
Despite being in the West Coast market, where much of the work remains 2 cm in thickness, D&J Tile does most of its work in 3-cm material. “We try to use as much 3-cm stone as we possibly can,” Newman said. “The CNC is running very fast on 3-cm material, and we’re doing a lot of marble now, so 3-cm is where we want to be from a technical standpoint. We are not doing a lot of lamination right now. It pays off, because when you’re not doing lamination, you skip what is a tedious process. There’s no machine that glues the pieces together, so by using 3-cm material, we can use the equipment as much as possible.”
To further enhance workplace safety, each Friday morning at D&J Tile begins with a “Safety Seminar” lasting 30 minutes. It covers everything from proper lifting techniques to evaluating power cords daily.
Technological AdvancesWhen asked about the greatest advance in the fabrication sector over the past few years, Newman is quick to point out that technology has quickly developed in all areas of the process. “The biggest breakthrough right now is the templating systems,” he said. “We went to the Prodim Proliner [from Blick Industries] two years ago, and my guys can template seven or eight kitchens in three hours, and program them in another hour. We have two Proliners. Luan templates might be fine, but you’re taking a half day just to do one kitchen.”
Company StaffingD&J Tile has a total of 30 employees in the fabrication department, and about 130 in the field. There is also a support staff of 20 employees working in the office. “Most of the workers are specialized,” Newman explained. “We have one guy per machine running the Omax, the Fusion, the CNC, the Fastback, and so on. I’m not saying that they couldn’t diversify, but there is a safety factor when a machine is being run by the guy who is most familiar with the equipment. That helps quality control as well. Each person is responsible for a specific machine, so we’re not [looking at an error and] saying, ‘Who ran the Omax yesterday?’ Also, when a person knows the machine, he knows exactly what it is capable of and how fast it can run on different materials.”
In terms of production, D&J Tile fabricated material for approximately 2,000 kitchens over the past year, and around 3,500 vanities - primarily for its multi-unit commercial work. It also fabricated an additional 500 to 700 specialty countertops in office buildings, and it processed and installed seven or eight cut-to-size projects such as lobbies and facades.
Sidebar: D&J Tile Co., Inc.San Carlos, CA
Type of work: commercial work for multi-unit housing projects, including kitchen countertops and vanities; commercial lobby spaces and facades
Machinery: a Park Fusion 6200 combination bridge saw/waterjet, a Pathfinder Laser Template Station, a Fastback backsplash machine, a Pro Edge edging machine and a Jaguar bridge saw, all from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; waterjets from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA and Omax Corp. of Kent, WA; an Intermac 4000 CNC stoneworking center; a Radial arm polisher from Sawing Systems of Knoxville, TN; an EnviroSystem water recycling system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH; pneumatic vacuum lifters from Anver Corp. of Hudson, MA; tooling from Continental Abrasives, Keystone, National Abrasives and Alpha Professional Tools; two Prodim Proliner digital templating units from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA
Number of Employees: 30 in the fabrication department, 130 installers in the field and 20 in the office. There is also a support staff of 20 employees working in the office