As a large global producer of natural stone products, Pokarna Limited, which was founded in 1991 by Gautam Chand Jain, the company’s chairman and managing director, branched out in 2009 with the development of its quartz brand, Quantra. “Customer expectations, competition and trade landscapes were some of the reasons behind our concentric diversification,” said Paras Jain, chief executive officer. “We are a relatively young company, and we are building one that we believe is both unique and distinct. We know that in many ways, our journey is just beginning.”
North America is a major market for Quantra’s products, and the company continues to expand its reach there. For the most part, its primary customers are distributors.
“We have discerning customers in several countries, spread over three continents,” said Jain. “Our presence has grown in India, and we are also focused on diversifying our reach in other new geographies.”
As in several other industries, technology has transformed factory floors at Pokarna and other reputed quartz factories — especially those deploying cutting-edge technologies from Breton. “We have seen significant improvement from Breton in mixing, pressing and distribution technology, oven, calibrating and polishing lines, and all these improvements make both the production process and product more efficient and sustainable,” explained Jain. “Introduction of robots in the designing process has led to improvement in the large veining process. We also see change in production processes arising out of availability of sustainable raw materials like bio quartz, bio resin, cobalt-free accelerators, etc.”
The team at Quantra continually works to research and develop new product offerings. “We have products across all categories — from differentiated designs that deliver a high level of aesthetic appeal to those that meet the demand for mid-level market,” said Jain. “We now have over 100 designs that effortlessly respond to the most diverse needs and expectations of our global customer base.
“Continuing our sophisticated technology and master craftsmanship mindset, we have raised the bar of the look of Calacatta in the global quartz surface market by launching eight new designs,” Jain went on to say. “Our Calacatta designs are an epitome of luxury and sophistication, and we are working on adding more designs to this collection. We have aggressive plans for 2021 where we will grow our offerings further with new launches.”
When developing new products for the North American market, Quantra takes into consideration nature, art, design and fashion, which are always reflected in its products. “By analyzing these heterogeneous sources, we spot the emerging and on-going trends that we translate into our design palette,” explained Jain. “We believe that the right combination of tradition and innovation results in the creation of a meaningful and contemporary product, and that’s what we’re always aiming for.”
When speaking about trends, marble-looking quartz continues to dominate, according to Jain. “[Also], with industrial and concrete aesthetics continuing, we see ever-versatile gray to continue as one of the leading neutrals,” he said. “While designers increasingly embrace natural colors and other warmer neutrals, we think that well-detailed and structured quartzite and terrazzo looks in quartz will also see a surge in popularity soon.”
A new addition
Quantra has plans to open a new quartz facility in the last quarter of this year. “It will be one of the largest, most modern and sustainable quartz surfacing plants in the world,” said Jain. “We believe the future of production belongs to the intelligent networking of man, machine and industrial processes, and therefore, we have designed our new facility to combine human creativity with the accuracy and speed of robotics to enable our people to delegate repetitive tasks to machines — leaving them free to focus on missions that add greater value.”
The new facility will be equipped with the most advanced Bretonstone technologies and is spread over 160,000 square meters and has a built-up area of approximately 60,000 square meters. “It’s a smart factory with several robots and other high levels of process automation for supporting a wide range of Industry 4.0 applications,” said Jain. “It will more than double our production capacity and will be used mainly for the production of super jumbo size 346 x 200 cm and jumbo size 330 x 165 cm slabs.”
With four multi-axis anthropomorphic robots, the new line will be able to reproduce exotic natural stones with a very high level of design detailing, including veins of different sizes and structures across the slab. It has a state-of-the-art fabrication division equipped with disc and waterjet cutting machines, CNC stoneworking centers, edge polishers and other machines for ensuring maximum speed and precision in fabrication.
“Our new facility supports Pokarna’s ambition for sustainable production,” said Jain. “We’ve equipped it to achieve the highest possible energy efficiency across the production processes. We’ve installed energy efficient LED lights and a new generation roofing system to maximize daylight without compromising the indoor environment. Further, new generation water treatment technology will deliver significant water efficiencies with waste water being treated and re-used on site to achieve zero liquid discharge.”
Additionally, Pokarna is expanding its slab polishing and fabrication operations at the Visakapatnam facility. “We are installing one of the most advanced slab trimming, calibration and polishing lines from Breton to make our operations and product more efficient,” said Jain. “We are also installing a disc and waterjet cutting machine, as well as a CNC from Breton, apart from reorganizing our fabrication division layout to increase production efficiencies.
“Our products are known for innate beauty, quality, safety and innovation,” Jain continued. “Expertise, cutting-edge technology, continuous research, design and development efforts are some of the key factors for success of our products. To increase our presence in several geographies, including the US, we are now actively seeking distributors to join our expanding network.”