Archive | July, 2013

Nano-Crystallized Glass: What Are Your Thoughts?

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Nano-Crystallized Glass: What Are Your Thoughts?

Posted on 29 July 2013 by CRadmin2

We recently received an email, here at CountertopResource.com, asking for information on a relatively new surfacing product. This product is commonly referred to as nano-crystallized glass, but it is also known as nano-crystal stone or nonporous marmoglass. After checking the usual sources, we found little readily available information on it, so we decided to do some additional research and see what we could find. Here is what we came up with:

Most nano-crystallized glass is manufactured in China and imported into the United States, but a few American companies feature branded versions, such as Glassos® from CCS Stone Inc. This material is said to be easily cut and tooled with the same techniques and equipment that is used for stone, but some firsthand accounts state it presents a few unique difficulties.

Features of Nano-Crystallized Glass

Nano-cystallized glass is suitable for use as a countertop material, but it can also be used for walls, floors, windowsills, sinks and tabletops.

Much like ordinary glass, it is made of natural materials, and it is chemically inert. Additional features of nano-crystallized glass are as follows:

  • Scratch and stain resistant
  • Heat resistant
  • Hard and durable
  • Nonporous
  • Recyclable

Nano-crystallized glass is much harder than ordinary glass or even standard crystallized glass. On the Mohs scale, it scores from 6.0 to 7.0, and it has a compression strength rating of 400 MPa, a flexural strength rating of 82 MPa and a rupture strength rating of 35 MPa.

Additionally, nano-crystallized glass has a water absorption rate of 0.004 percent to 0.02 percent, and it is totally radiation free. As expected, the material also has a DIN 4102 flammability rating of A1.

Consumers have stated that nano-crystallized glass is a preferred surfacing material because of its nearly pure white color, which is a natural byproduct of its manufacturing process. It is also quickly becoming known as an excellent substitute for white marble.

Fabrication of Nano-Crystallized Glass

Nano-crystallized glass is manufactured from a blend of natural materials that is 75 percent silica and 25 percent other natural minerals. The mixture is poured into a mold to form either a slab or a tile, and it is heated to a temperature ranging from 1,550 degrees Celsius to 1,800 degrees C. for 24 to 26 hours. The high temperatures and the length of time align the molecules of the glass on a nanoscopic scale, which it retains upon cooling and hardening.

Slabs of nano-crystallized glass are commonly available in sizes of 12 ft. by 12 ft., 16 by 16 ft. and 18 by 18 ft. with thicknesses of 3/8 in. or 1/2 in. Tiles are usually made to 24 in. by 24. in. by 3/4 in. Most slabs and tiles are polished by default, but they can be given a CNC satin finish. In addition, the material can be convexly or concavely manufactured for basins and other custom designs.

The cutting of nano-crystallized glass is usually accomplished with continuous blade saws, but it can also be honed, chiseled or sandblasted. The edges can be ground to a bullnose or chamfered. Remnants are 100 percent recyclable.

Installation of nano-crystallized glass is a simple process. The material does not need to be sealed, but a sealer may be added for additional protection. The slab or tiles are most commonly glued to a substrate with a clear resin product, such as Tenax Glaxs BM75, which is engineered specifically for glass and does not discolor from exposure to UV light.

Experiences With Nano-Crystallized Glass

Although the above description makes nano-crystallized glass seem like a wonder-material for countertops, we at CountertopResource.com have heard a few complaints about it being difficult to work with. We have heard that standard CNC tools and continuous blade saws pose some problems, and that hand tools that work well with it are hard to locate.

We know that diamond disc saw blades are manufactured specifically for

cutting nano-crystallized glass slabs, and CCS Stone Inc. offers a full line of tools and supplies for its Glassos brand products, but we wanted to know your take on the subject.

Have you had any experience with working with nano-glass? If so, whatbenefits or complaints do you have about this material? Let us know by email at info@countertopresource.com or simply post a reply to this article right on the website.

You may also be interested in this video on tooling and fabrication of nano-crystallized glass.

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Moraware Releases Major Software Update

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Moraware Releases Major Software Update

Posted on 27 July 2013 by CRadmin2

Moraware recently announced a major update to its CounterGo software, which allows countertop fabricators and authorized account users to design and quote jobs in just a few minutes.

Moraware is one of the leading manufacturers of software for the countertop fabrication industry, and it has helped fabricators with more than 2 million countertop installations to date. While the company’s JobTracker software has been a strong anchor, the CounterGo design and quote system has been a welcome addition for many fabricators.

About CounterGo

CounterGo consists of three linked modules that allow fabricators and dealers to accurately draw, layout and estimate countertop jobs in a matter minutes. The drawing module responds to mouse movements, but unlike freehand drawings, the lines, corners and shapes are automatically adjusted to geometric perfection.

072713_0204_MorawareRel2.pngThis adds an air of professionalism to the drawings, which can then be presented to clients.

The layout module of CounterGo is used to accurately predict how many slabs or remnants will be required for the job. Each section of the countertop from the drawing can be laid out on full slabs or remnants set to custom sizes. Each section can then be moved and adjusted on the material layouts so that each slab is used in the most efficient manner possible.

The quote system in CounterGo is comprised of four sections. The top section is for client and job information. Below that is a section that reproduces the drawings and measurements that were created earlier, and next to that is an area for a detailed, written quote. Finally, the last section is reserved for statements, disclaimers and notes with a space for a client signature. This can then be printed or converted into a PDF file for delivery to the client.

Access for Authorized Users

The recent update to CounterGo adds support for a powerful new feature. Now, fabricators can add authorized account users to their CounterGo systems. This permits dealers to enter the system and write quotes on their own without having to wait for the fabricator to do it. Drawings, layouts and quotes can be created when the fabricator is not available, or existing quotes can be modified to meet updated specifications.

As a safety measure, account users are not given full access to the system. Although dealers may create and change quotes, they cannot be deleted, and prices cannot be changed. In addition, dealers can only create or modify quotes for accounts that have been assigned to that particular user.

The price for new authorized users is the same as the price for standard CounterGo users. For more information about CounterGo software, visit www.moraware.com.

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Traditional Job Descriptions Don’t Attract Top Talent: Define Success for Qualified Candidates

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Traditional Job Descriptions Don’t Attract Top Talent: Define Success for Qualified Candidates

Posted on 26 July 2013 by CRadmin2

By Brad Remillard

A recent research study identified the ten biggest mistakes companies make when hiring. The study included more than 130 companies ranging in size and from a wide variety of industries.

The number one hiring mistake made was rather surprising and one rarely even considered by most companies. Yet, this one mistake impacts the whole hiring process, including how candidates are sourced, where to find candidates, compensation, performance management, advertising, position title and what questions should be asked during the interview. Everything seems to go sideways all because most companies fail to properly define the real job.

The first reason why using traditional job descriptions are ineffective is that they describe only the minimum qualifications required for the position. Most job descriptions describe the least qualified person, not the real job. This often leads to hiring the least qualified. The harsh reality is that, when you define a job in mediocre terms, odds are you will attract and hire mediocre candidates.

The second reason is that traditional job descriptions fail to focus on what defines success in the role. If you want to hire successful people, start by defining success instead of the person. Most agree that a person who simply performs the duties and responsibilities outlined in traditional job descriptions would rarely be considered a success. In fact, most candidates would not last long in a company that is growing and outpacing the competition.

Just because the person has the experience listed doesn’t mean they can deliver the desired results. Past experience is actually a poor indicator of future performance. Past performance is a better indicator, but the best indicator is their ability to deliver results in your company. After all, you are hiring for your company with your culture, your resources, your systems, your budget, your management style and your company’s values, not for what they did at a past company.

For example, how many times have you heard someone say: “We’re looking for such and such position.” The reply is, “What are you looking for?” The typical answer is usually, “We need a person with X years experience, X years in our industry, team leader, strategic thinker, good communications and X education is preferred.” This is all about the person and nothing about what defines success in the role or what the person is expected to deliver once he or she is on board. It is naturally assumed if the person has the experience mentioned, they can deliver the expected results. It is our contention that experience has nothing to do with delivering results. Just because the person held the role with the last company doesn’t mean they are the right candidate for your company.

Instead of using the traditional job description, consider defining success in the role. Do this by creating a list of success factors. Success factors are simply the results you want this person to deliver, in order for you to consider this person a successful hire.

Using the above example, success factors would define exactly what the role needs to deliver, usually within the next 12 to 18 months, to be considered an outstanding hire.

Following is a set of three typical success factors:

  • Within the first 30 days, develop a plan of action that will improve on-time deliveries from 85 percent to 96 percent and present the plan to the head of the company.
  • Within 6 months, develop and begin implementing a vendor-qualifications program that will ensure zero defects and 100 percent on-time deliveries from vendors.
  • Within 9 months, consolidate the operations of two locations and produce a cost savings of at least 15 percent.

Continue developing these success factors until there are five or six that clearly define what is expected of the candidate once on board.

Now, when asked the question “What are you looking for?” The answer is, “We need someone who can improve on-time deliveries to 96 percent, can implement a vendor qualifications program and consolidate operations with at least a 15 percent cost savings.”

The next step is to find a person that can accomplish these success factors. When that happens, this person will have the right experience. It might be five years of experience. It could be 10 years of experience. It really doesn’t matter as long as they can deliver the results.

Using the success factors as a hiring guide sets the stage for a successful hire. Instead of the traditional job description, the success factors clearly define expectations and let candidates know what is expected of them once they come on board. The success factors define success in the role and not minimum qualifications. After all, isn’t that what you really want to hire?

About the Author

Brad Remillard is a speaker, author and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in hiring and recruiting. Through his corporate workshops and industry association speaking engagements, he demonstrates how organizations can effectively attract, interview, hire and retain top talent. Brad is also the co-founder of Impact Hiring Solutions and coauthor of You’re NOT the Person I Hired: A CEO’s Guide to Hiring Top Talent. For more information on Brad’s hiring training programs or speaking, visit www.bradremillard.com.

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Caesarstone Partners with IKEA

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Caesarstone Partners with IKEA

Posted on 25 July 2013 by cradmin

Caesarstone, Israel-based quartz surfacing producer, has entered into an agreement with IKEA US to serve as the retail company’s exclusive non-laminate countertop vendor, conducting operations in 38 stores in 22 states. Caesarstone will source, finish and distribute countertop products, including its quartz surfacing as well as other materials. The implementation of this program is expected to be a gradual process, extending beyond 2013, according to a release by the company. “We are excited to begin this important relationship with one of the world’s great retailers,” said Yosef Shiran, Caesarstone CEO. “IKEA has been a driving force in bringing great modern design and tremendous value to a wide range of consumers around the world, particularly through their customized kitchen and bath product lines.”

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ISFA Seeks Public Comment on Quartz, Solid Surface Standards

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ISFA Seeks Public Comment on Quartz, Solid Surface Standards

Posted on 24 July 2013 by cradmin

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) is seeking public comment on new quartz surfacing classification and standards developed in cooperation with industry representatives. It is also seeking public comment on updates to its established solid surface classification and standards which were also created in cooperation with various industry representatives.

The solid surface standards (ISFA-2-01 Classification and Standards for Solid Surfacing Material), which can be downloaded here, were originally created by the association in 1998 and updated in 2001, 2002 and 2007, and are now in the process of being updated again.

The quartz surfacing standards (ISFA-3-01 Classification and Standards for Quartz Surfacing Material), which can be downloaded here, are new and are designed to parallel the solid surface standards.

The purpose of these documents is  to clarify and simplify the choice and specification of  materials by providing a common yardstick to measure performance and properties. Both sets of standards cover applications, performance properties and values and testing methods.

The draft versions of these two standards are now available for public comment and input. ISFA is soliciting comments on these draft standards from any interested parties.  The period for public comment will be open until close of business on October 15, 2013. Those who wish to make suggestions or offer comments should email standards@isfanow.org with their feedback or contact the ISFA office in writing.

Following the public comment phase, the documents will undergo an additional stage of review, based on the input from interested parties. According to a release by the association, it is expected that both standards will be presented to the ISFA Board of Directors for their approval this fall.

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C.H. Briggs Opens New Solid Surface and Quartz Distribution Center

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C.H. Briggs Opens New Solid Surface and Quartz Distribution Center

Posted on 22 July 2013 by cradmin

ch briggs new warehouseC.H. Briggs Company, distributor of interior and specialty building products, opened a new 28,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and distribution center in Norcross, Georgia. The Norcross facility will stock and ship DuPont Corian solid surface and Zodiaq quartz surfacing sheet products and accessories.

“Our decision to expand is the result of continued strong growth in the Georgia and eastern Tennessee markets,” said Don Schalk, president and COO. “The addition of the new warehouse enables us to increase local inventory levels of key products so that orders can be fulfilled faster to meet our customers’ needs for quick turnaround. In addition to exceeding our customers’ delivery expectations, we think they’re also going to value having the option of convenient, local pickup.”

The Norcross Distribution Center is located at 6115 Northbelt Parkway, Suite E, Norcross, GA 30071. The warehouse is open for local pickup between the hours of 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. C.H. Briggs has four other distribution centers located in Reading, Pa., Telford, Pa., Savage, Md., and Fort Mill, S.C., as well as a Corian Design Studio in Philadelphia.

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Dynabrade Introduces Random Orbit Rotary Sander Line

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Dynabrade Introduces Random Orbit Rotary Sander Line

Posted on 18 July 2013 by cradmin

Dynabrade offers a line of dynorbital silver sup 6 in prodimageDynorbital Silver Supreme Random Orbital Sanders, suitable for horizontal or flat high-production use on solid surface, wood, composites, plastic, fiberglass, metal and other materials.   The 12,000-RPM, American-made sanders come in 3-, 3.5-, 5- and 6-in.-dia. models, all of which include a premium, low-profile urethane weight-mated sanding pad. The tool has a throttle lever that is recessed into the housing (eliminating pinch points) and a stay tight muffler system.  It also also has a comfort platform, which provides wrist support, and a rubber overmold that eliminates cold air transmission to the operator’s hands.  It comes in three orbit diameters: 3/8-in.  for aggressive material removal, 3/16-in.  for general sanding and 3/32-in. for ultra fine sanding. It is available as a self-generated vacuum sander, a central vacuum sander or a non-vacuum sander. The steel cylinder and end plates inside the sander are designed to stay perfectly aligned and the design of the end plates also help keep more air in the cylinder, which increases motor efficiency. Drop-in motors are available for quick and easy maintenance, minimizing downtime, and a variety of accessories are also available.

More information on this line of sanders is available at www.Dynabrade.com.

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MIA Accreditation Program Experiences Heavy Growth

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MIA Accreditation Program Experiences Heavy Growth

Posted on 17 July 2013 by cradmin

The Marble Institute of America’s (MIA) Accreditation Program has experienced its most active quarter of growth since the program’s first three months in existence, According to a recent release by the association. Activity in the commercial arena has been especially encouraging and is a sign that the economic conditions that ravaged the industry over the past several years are receding.

“Following an extremely positive StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, we knew that it was time to ramp up our recruitment efforts for the Accreditation Program,” said Jon Lancto of Surface Products and chairman of the Accreditation Commision. “We had been hearing for several years that the economic climate was just not right to push a credentialing program. Many MIA members are looking for 2013 to be the year they become accredited.”

The MIA offers a free webinar to interested parties explaining what its accreditation program entails.

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Fabricator Profile: The Granite Guys – Turning Customers into Promoters

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Fabricator Profile: The Granite Guys – Turning Customers into Promoters

Posted on 15 July 2013 by CRadmin2

The Granite Guys, located in Alberta, Canada, was founded nine years ago by Ken and Loma Usselman. They had already owned Call Canadian Plumbing & Heating Ltd. for more than a decade, but they recognized that the granite countertop market was underserved in the area. Soon after opening their new business, they realized that the company’s strength was in the residential niche, and The Granite Guys focuses on its employees’ ability to please customers. This philosophy has permeated every aspect of the business, and has made word of mouth the company’s primary marketing strategy. If a client does not willingly and eagerly accept a secondary role as a promoter for The Granite Guys, the job is not viewed as a success…Read More of this Fabricator Profile Here

GG1

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Cosentino Opening Second Major Hub and Distribution Center

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Cosentino Opening Second Major Hub and Distribution Center

Posted on 11 July 2013 by cradmin

Cosentino is opening a new major U.S. hub in Hampton, Va., this month. The Cosentino Northeast Hub will become the second central logistics and receiving facility for the company, which manufactures Silestone quartz surfacing and other natural and engineered stone materials. Located at 2301 Aluminum Ave., the hub will have more than 160,000 sq. ft. of warehouse and office space and serve as a central location to receive all of the company’s products manufactured in Spain for customers along the East Coast. The facility will catalog and store the products, expediting distribution to regional Cosentino Centers, home improvement centers, fabricators and kitchen & bath specialty stores to meet demand from East Coast customers. The facility represents a significant investment in infrastructure and inventory, with the construction costing $3 million and inventory of $10 million.

“Cosentino’s Northeast Hub is located in close proximity to the port, making it an ideal location to receive shipments from Spain, where all of the Cosentino brands are manufactured,” said Lorenzo Marquez, North American VP of marketing. “This second hub will complement our Houston logistics hub, allowing for Cosentino to expedite shipments for the growing residential and commercial needs along the entire East Coast, as well as supplying the eight Cosentino Centers in the region.”

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