From 13 to 16 June, technological innovations in stone processing as well as materials and accessories will be a key offering at Stone+tec 2018 in Nuremberg. From mechanical aids to heavy machinery, Stone+tec is where stone works and stonemasonry firms find their tools for the future. At the Stone+tec trade forum, presentations and discussions that focus on technological topics serve as guides for the next investment decision. It’s already clear: Rotary head technology and CNC machines are becoming increasingly user-friendly. At the same time, the networking of individual process steps is on the rise.
In the past few years, the advent of rotary head saws and CNC technology has changed stone processing and given it fresh momentum. More and more, manufacturers are being drawn to company-internal networking of individual positions and simplification of operation.
Equipped for all materials
The people at J. König GmbH & Co. in Karlsruhe, Germany, consider a bridge saw, an edge polishing machine and a CNC processing centre to be the minimum equipment required for a workshop. René Houdelet, Division Manager of Large Machinery Sales, also recommends a powerful water and compressed air supply; handling systems for loading machines are also gaining ground. In addition, more and more users are expanding their production technology to include a 5-axis water jet plant. Houdelet attributes this to the growing variety of materials such as engineered stone, but even more to ceramic materials.
Making CNC machines more user-friendly
Simplified use is on the agenda for Intermac and Donatoni, represented by Weha of Königsbrunn, Germany. Their focus is on standardizing the operating concepts of CNC systems: This will make it easier for users of Donatoni rotary head saws to learn to operate Intermac processing centres and vice versa, explains Oliver Braun, who is in charge of large machinery sales at Weha. Even for medium-sized companies, Braun sees an increase in integrated lines with fully automated bridge saws with shuttle tables and manipulators for automatically loading and unloading workpieces. According to Braun, what was until recently the standard for industrial companies will also gain acceptance with medium-sized stone processors, based on customer surveys.
Vacuum pods automatically positioned
For the machine manufacturer Burkhardt-Löffler, a member of the Dr Baumann Corporate Group with subsidiaries in Bayreuth and Langenaltheim, Germany, optimization of workflows is at the top of customers’ wish lists. “Automation is the major trend, not only in industrial but also in manual stone processing,” says Director Steffen Langhans. Manipulators and conveyor belts serve to network the individual stations with one another. Machines such as the CSA 598 bridge saw efficiently cut raw materials. The 5-axis system can be supplemented with an autoloader for rough slabs, a continuous belt table, a manipulator for automatically removing the finished workpieces, and a waterjet system in the saw head for the production of kitchen countertops. The workpieces are further processed on the CNC processing centre, such as the 595 D rotating table. In the first half of 2018, the machine builder is implementing the automatic placement of vacuum pods for this system. With this step, the Director expects to reduce current setup times by up to 50 percent. Along with time savings, automation also relieves employees of the strenuous and dangerous task of handling fragile and ever larger slabs.
One-on-one exchange in Hall 12
At Stone+tec 2018, numerous other vendors will be presenting their technological innovations for stone processing. Visitors will mainly find technology providers in Hall 12. There they will be able to compare machines directly and describe their individual requirements in one-on-one conversations with various manufacturers. The trade forum in Hall 9 deals with CNC technology, robotics, and design in daily panel discussions. Robotic systems that can now be installed only in small quantities but open up exciting prospects for applications in historic preservation offer innovative companies material for discussion.
For more news about Stone+tec 2018, visit www.stone-tec.com/en/news.
Stone+tec, the international trade fair for natural stone and stone technology, is organised by NürnbergMesse with honorary sponsorship from the DNV (German Natural Stone Association) and BIV (Association of German Stonemasons). It also receives international support from Confindustria Marmomacchine, the Italian Association for Natural Stone Working Machinery and Equipment. With over 15,000 trade visitors in 2015, Stone+tec is the most important gathering for the natural stone industry in the German-speaking regions.