Rey Matos, head of technical training in North America for Neolith, talked to Stone World about the trends he is currently seeing in the industry in regards to Neolith, as well as some advice to help fabricators to learn how to cut the material.
Why should people be using Neolith?
A: It’s a new product that is trending a lot with architects and designers. In the design community, kitchen and bath dealers are specking this more and more. One of the things we are proud of is that the product uses 100% natural minerals. The process uses these minerals and presses them into this Neolith surface. This process allows us to make something that is resistant to high temperatures, it is resistant to UV rays, and it is a lightweight product that can be offered in several different sizes. It’s also resistant to ice. It resists bending so it is suitable for heavy traffic. This material can be used for so many applications indoor and outdoor.
A: when it comes to type of application, there are just so many in the commercial realm. It can be used for flooring, it can be used for façade of buildings. In residential we have seen huge sales in countertops, flooring applications, and wall applications. The marble looks are our number one selling product, the consumer seems to like the polished look. We have also seen a trend toward the soft feel, our silk and satin feels are doing well. We are slowly seeing trends toward what is going on in Europe.
Advice to fabricators?
A: One of the basic things is to go through our certification process. Not only for the fabricator, but also to teach their customers about Neolith and its properties. We believe that education is extremely important to success. We have an in-house certification process that is catered to each shop. The basic guideline to these materials is the understanding that these materials are a lot denser than they may be accustomed to, so they are hard. Also we have different thicknesses that are used for different applications. When we differentiate the two, and a fabricator is working with a material that is half inch thick, they are going to have to remove the tension on the outsides of the slab. It is very important that when you are doing the cutting process, you remove that tension so the slab is a lot easier to work with. This is due to the process of sintering. Another point to take in account is that tools are very important. We wish that all the products in the industry were the same hardness to cut, but that’s not the case and that needs to be taken into account with your blades. It’s the same in the wood industry. We highly recommend they use a blade specifically meant for these type of materials. The reason for that is the blade is going to be engineered specifically for these products, and the characteristics of these products. So it can cut cleaner and cut at a decent rate. The other important thing is the flatness of the bed you are cutting on. It’s very important to have a nice flat bed. It’s going to reduce the transfer of any unwanted stress on the material. When you have these peaks and valleys on the table, it will push the material down and bring it up. What that causes is pinching and hitting of the blade, or unwanted transfer of that stress to the material.
Future of Neolith?
A: We are constantly adding colors to our lineup and sizes are continuing to increase with customer demand. We see more applications in the commercial and residential realm. I think there is going to continue to be a higher and higher demand with the products.