Premier Stone Design is located just 5 miles away from Park Industries® facility, so it is easy to understand why they’ve been an all-Park shop since their beginning. Learn about the partnership they’ve formed in the Granite City (St. Cloud, MN, USA) and a major change they’ve recently made to their shop.
From 2004 to 2020
In 2004, Tim Wendt started Premier Stone Design. He looked to his hometown manufacturer, Park Industries®, for his first saw and purchased a YUKON® Bridge Saw. Fast-forward to 2020 and his YUKON® is still the shop workhorse, but its table needs to be replaced after 16 years of hard work.
Tim’s son, Connor, is also now helping run the shop, ready to bring a new mindset to their fabrication style. After a father / son (business) talk and some demos with their Park sales consultant Dale, Premier Stone Design decided to make the leap into digital fabrication instead of replacing the YUKON’s table.
In the summer of 2020, they upgraded to a VOYAGER™ XP 5-Axis CNC Saw with a SIDE-SHOT™ Digital Imaging System.
Responding to the Market
A big factor in Premier Stone Design upgrading rather than just replacing, were changes in their market. There were two key factors – and waiting was not an option, as the trends were become more prominent quickly.
The first was the rising demand of Porcelain and other ultra-compact materials. Connor explains, “It’s definitely coming fast. We have doubled the amount of porcelain jobs we’ve done in the two months we’ve had the VOYAGER™ XP versus the 16 years we had the YUKON®. And to see how well it handles it…the results were amazing.”
The second reason was the change in the local workforce. With more of the manual labor and skilled polishers being hard to find, Connor really likes how being digital will open their positions up to the younger generation.
The VOYAGER™ XP & SIDE-SHOT™ Combo
Connor responded to a few questions on how their new digital saw and imaging system are working out for their lean, three-man crew.
Why did you choose the SIDE-SHOT™ for your digital imaging needs?
“We liked the SIDE-SHOT™ as a smaller shop. It takes up much less space pairing it with a machine. You can put a slab right on the machine’s table, take a photo of it, program it, and cut it immediately. I’m talking a few minutes versus an hour doing it the old school way (blue painter’s tape and manual saw). It also makes vein matching, laying out jobs, and more, easier and faster. We may want to grow into a full Pathfinder system eventually one day, but we felt this was a great stepping-stone with us being new to digital.”
Why did you choose the VOYAGER™ XP?
“For us, it’s utilizing it as a two in one machine. I love the ability of the incremental router – we can cut every sink, radius, cooktop, faucet holes… everything on it. I can cut a whole kitchen in a half hour or less on the VOYAGER™ XP. The ultra-compact programming has helped a ton for porcelain and the miters come off great. What we were doing prior to the CNC saw to what we can produce with it now – the difference is astronomical. It’s a beast.”
On the TightCut™ Blade Plunge feature:
“We use the TightCut™ all the time. On every single program we do. It’s saved us on a lot of slabs. We can now do a job with one slab where before we may have had to order in two or three. It’s eliminated a huge cost for us helping us save big on material. It also saves the time needed to mill a square sink, by plunging the blade right up next to the corners.”
What would you tell someone who is still cutting manual and is looking at a VOYAGER™ XP?
“The VOYAGER™ XP is a great machine. If you want to make that digital leap, this is the machine to get your foot in the door. It’s super easy to learn and operate. If you want to grow your business… this machine is the future.”
A Local Partnership
With Premier Stone Design being in such close proximity with Park Industries®, Connor reflects on their partnership,
“It’s pretty cool being so close to Park. We sometimes take it for granted, having an industry-leader in our backyard. It’s awesome because I feel our partnership is much more personable.”
In regard to the VOYAGER™ XP,
“The service has been awesome… I think I know at least three service reps on a first-name basis because I’ve had so many questions on the new machine. I wanted to make sure I knew it inside and out, and they’ve been so helpful. Any question I had with the VOYAGER™ XP to SIDE-SHOT™ to Alphacam, they’ve been right there for me.”
He concludes, “Ever since we started, we’ve had Park Industries® machines and we wouldn’t ever go anywhere else.”