Ohio company diversifies with stone fabrication
“The company is a full-service building materials supplier, including kitchen and bath cabinetry along with laminate and solid surface countertops, that expanded into the stone countertop business due to customer demand and the opportunities that went along with it,” explained Jeff Huser, Vice President of Manufacturing & Installed Sales.
In the spring of 2007, when the division was started, the company invested in several machines, including a Titan CNC stoneworking center, a Yukon II bridge saw, a Fastback flat edge shaping and finishing machine and a Pathfinder™ laser template layout station, all from Park Industries.
“Since this was a start-up division, we were able to select what we felt was the right equipment to give us the highest productivity,” Huser explained, adding that since the employees had previous CNC experience with wood products, the introduction to the machine was short after the initial training at Park Industries.
Nisbet Brower also relies on a water filtration system from Beckhart Environmental, Inc. of Kenosha, WI, and two Prodim Proliner digital templating systems [with a third on its way] supplied through Innovative Stone Technologies of Hauppauge, NY. “A lengthy study of several options led us to purchase several units from Prodim International,” said Huser. “With the availability of the Proliner, we template a large percentage of all types of countertops as well as architectural projects. The initial start-up was a few days. Care and tune-ups are essential to the unit.”
According to the fabricator, all of the company’s cutting and shaping tooling is diamond. “We are currently replacing used standard diamond tooling with high-speed diamond tooling,” he added.
The company’s primary customer is the single-family housing market, while other work includes the commercial sector, healthcare sector and riverfront high-rise condominiums. “We primarily service the Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky market as well as the Dayton, OH, market,” Huser said.
The stone division of Nisbet Brower consists of one foreman, three machinists/fabricators and three installers with multiple supporting staff members, including templating, drafting and programming as well as administrative staff supplied by the corporation. “While each employee has their individual strong points, cross training on all operations is standard within the work unit,” said Huser.
According to the fabricator, price competitiveness with new fabrication shops is a common struggle in the stone industry today. “With new shops constantly opening, the need to remain competitive increases and the need to buy materials at a better price point becomes mandatory,” Huser said.
Aside from directly importing its slabs, Nisbet Brower also relies on local stone suppliers. “We currently have a good relationship with Daltile, and buy most of our natural stone in bundles,” said the fabricator.