COMPOUND STONES IN GENERAL

 

In 1960s, a company in Italy under the leadership of Marcello Toncelli developed and patented a process for casting stone chips  such as marble, quartz, silica and granite in a binder mixture. The first, a way to make solid block out of the crumbly rock found throughout Italy's Dolomite Mountain region was developed. Naturally, the idea of mixing semi-useless materials with binder to make a useful surface isn't limited to stone only.

 

The compound stone business is of 50% engineering and 50% artistic. Compound or engineered stone developed first in the flooring markets, which gave companies the incentive to invest in manufacturing facilities. Then when a market for countertops emerged, more people decided to invest in the business.

 

In essence, the process of manufacturing slabs or blocks consists of blending the natural aggregates with a binder syrup, evacuating air with a vacuum, and catalyzing the molded product while vibrating and applying pressure to the mix. Heat is then applied to transform the pressed mixture into the finished product. The result is a slab or block of non-porous and very stable surfacing material, which is suitable for countertops, wall cladding and flooring.

 

The great appeal of compound stone to the consumer is that it contains marble or granite or quartz particles, is highly resistant to scratching and to abrasion, offers unlimited design options and holds a high gloss finish extremely well. In Europe and the US, where natural stone products have long prevailed, the customers increasingly tend to prefer compound stones day by day and thus this business represents the future for many companies. 

 

Kuter is a specialized and peerless “total solution provider” for the Compound Stone Industry in all aspects of business right from land selection to commission of plants, to “on-the-job” trainings, to strategic marketing. It has many years’ experience in desinging, installation, start up and operation of Compound Stone manufacturing lines, and as well as in the fields of R&D, procurement, production, processing and marketing and export. Kuter is fully supported by a very qualified team which intervenes whether as part of a design-build project or as a final step in an ongoing project. We focus on specialized management and prosperity of Compound Stone. Business which makes Kuter first-of-its-kind in Compound Stone area.

 

 

Some of the services Kuter provides in the Compound Stone Industry are as follows:

 

  • Feasibility report and detailed project report
  • Complete project management of plant erection, testing and commissioning
  • Modernization, revamping and shifting of existing plants
  • Project  planning, monitoring and supervision
  • Auxiliary plants and fabrication shop equipments
  • Civil and structural work
  • Relocation of plant and equipments
  • Procurement and Inspection 
  • Quality, Productivity and Performance Improvement
  • Benchmarking
  • Marketing and Distribution
  • Corporate Restructuring
  • Plant Operation and Maintenance
  • Training for Operation, Maintenance and Management of Compound Stone plants
  • Technology Up-gradation
  • Recruitment Services

 

 

Basically, Compound Stones are composite materials made of crushed stones (quartz, granite, silica sand, marble etc.)  bound together by polymer resin or cement. Compound stone is also commonly referred to as Engineered Stone or Agglomerate. Compound stone slabs and tiles are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and even textures. Compound stones, manufactured through advanced technologies and full automation, have overcomed many weaknesses in natural stones, so that these products are more stable and better in physical properties, providing end-users with a peace of mind, a truly green and environmently friendly construction material.

 

 

Compound stone is manufactured in two stages. In the first stage, paste-like mixtures, which are composed of natural aggregates, binders, pigments and additives, are formed in mixers.The mixture is compacted into slabs or blocks by a vacuum and vibration process under a considerable pressure, in molds. This process minimizes porosity and reduces water absorption. The slabs are then cured in a kiln at moderate temperatures to attain the essential properties of resistance to stain and impact, and thus, raw slabs are obtained. In the second stage, those slabs are calibrated, polished and cut (if required) and prepared for packing through a very similar process that is applicable to natural stones.

 

It is also possible for compound stones to add other original stone-like materials such as sea shells, lapis lazuli, coloured glass, mirror chips, metal pieces etc. Therefore, the final product can be almost identically designed and developed satisfying the specific technical and aesthetic requirements of the architect or interior designer by mixing different types of stone materials of different sizes and colours varying the colour, formula and aggregate content of the mix.

 

Compound stone has a unique look and feel compared to any other surfacing materials. It has a non-porous surface, does not require sealing and impervious to fungi and bacteria. Its greater wear resistance compared to laminates, solid surfaces and natural stones makes compound stone one of the most durable choice. Besides, it is fire-retardant and high-temperature resistant, long-lasting, installed easily and requires low maintenance. Moreover, Compound stones are verified through NSF and LGA certifications demonstrating that are produced with ingredients which insures that there is no transfer of materials and/or particles from the stone surface to foodstuffs when placed in direct contact with the surface.

 

It is noteworthy that today’s technology insures that the structure seen on the surface of the product continues throughout the material allowing the finishing of recessed drainers or the sides of the material with the same aesthetic qualities.

 

It is well-known that Engineered Stone products are gaining in popularity in high-end applications. Engineered Stone slabs are used across a broad range of furnishing applications such as kitchen worktops, flooring, raised flooring, internal and external cladding, vanity tops, bathroom furnishings for small or large, public or private projects for houses and large commercial areas.

 

Slab production rate, depending on the plant design and layout, can vary from 1.000 m2 to 4.000 m2 slabs per working day.The material can be produced in either 12 mm, 20 mm or 30 mm thicknesses. The most common slab format is 3040 mm x 1400 mm, but other sizes like 3300 mm x 1650 mm are produced according to market demand. On the other hand, Compound Stone is typically worked in the same way as natural stone using a CNC or water jet cutter or a diamond blade.

 

Engineered stone is typically less porous, more flexible, and harder than natural stone. Less porous means more resistant to mould and mildew than traditional stone. Since it has a uniform internal structure, it does not have hidden cracks or flaws that may exist in natural stone. The material is sometimes damaged by direct application of heat. Resin-bonded Engineered Stone is less heat resistant than other stone surfaces including most granite, marble and limestone; but is not affected by temperatures lower than 150°C. Engineered stone can be damaged by sudden temperature changes. Kuter recommends that hot pots and pans never be directly placed directly on the surface, and that a hot pad or trivet is used under portable cooking units.

 

Major types of Compound stones are:

 

1.    Engineered Quartz Slabs and Tiles

2.    Engineered Marble Blocks

3.    Terastone Mono Layer Thin Slabs and Tiles

4.    Large-Sized Engineered Cement Slabs

 

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