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Whether you’re a seasoned user of stone or a novice to the sector, working in new build or conservation, commercial or domestic, construction or interiors... whatever you are asking of stone you’ll find an answer at the Natural Stone Show 2017.
It’s called the Natural Stone Show and, yes, there will be a lot of stone in ExCeL from 25 to 27 April – stone from the UK, from Europe, from around the world. But really this a show about an industry… an industry that is rapidly evolving even though its stock in trade is raw materials that were millions of years in the making.
Even the latest generation of engineered stone slabs – quartz and sintered stone – that are still transforming and expanding the industry, especially in interiors although also increasingly in hard landscaping, even a little cladding, have at their core the same raw materials the stone industry has been turning into some of the world’s most desirable building and interior decor products for thousands of years.
The new products have challenged the makers of tools and machinery used to process stone and the Stone Show in London gives the suppliers of those tools and machines the opportunity to show off their latest innovations that make the working of stone quicker, safer and easier, certainly, but also more economical, saving on energy and water.
The way natural stone is being processed and used is evolving at no less a pace, all of which gives the makers of products for bedding, glueing, sealing, cleaning, enhancing and otherwise treating stone in all its various applications plenty of scope for product development and, once again, there will be plenty of innovations for you to see at ExCeL.
There are more than 200 exhibitor displays at the Natural Stone Show this time, with so many people wanting to exhibit that the Show, the 12th in the two-yearly series, could not accommodate them all. Fortunately, ExCeL was able to allow the Show to expand and an extra aisle has been added, so most of those who wanted to exhibit have been able to do so.
There are more visitor features at the Show this year than ever, all helping to make the Natural Stone Show essential viewing for anyone involved with the design, specification, working and maintenance of natural stone.
If it all becomes a little bit overwhelming, don’t panic. There’s help at hand. Stone Federation Great Britain and its members have a ‘Stone Village’ at the heart of the Show and it will have an Ask the Expert panel of top stone consultants available throughout the Show. They do not normally give away their advice but at the Stone Show you will be able to consult them FREE.
If you are involved in conservation / heritage you can visit the Conservation Area where more advice will be available from Historic England, the Institute of Historic Building Conservation and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).
And if you are in need of inspiration, the Natural Stone Awards Gallery will have a pictorial display of the projects honoured in the Awards presented at a celebration lunch in London in December.
Then there is a whole programme of seminars in the Natural Stone & Building Conservation Conference run in conjunction with the Show, in rooms above the exhibition so those attending will not be disturbed by the hussle and bussle of the Show.
Each of the three days of the Show has its own conference theme. The opening day (25 April) is Architect & Designer Day (with five hours worth of RIBA CPD credits and a free three-course lunch for architects and designers thanks to sponsors Albion Stone and Forest of Dean Stone Firms). The second day is Industry Day, supported by the Stone Federation Great Britain, and the final day is Conservation Day, supported by Historic England.
Then there are all those exhibitors, bringing a world of stone and stone use to London. There is natural stone from all over the world – granite, marble, limestone, sandstone, travertine, quartz, terrazzo, slate... you name it.
It includes plenty from the British Isles. The renaissance in British stone over the past 20 years is reflected at the Show. Lovell Stone Group, with five quarries (Hartham Park Bath Stone, Somerset Lias, Chicksgrove and Purbeck); Bath Stone Group, producers of award-winning Stoke Ground Bath stone; Portland stone mining company Albion Stone; Doulting Stone, notably used in the construction of Wells Cathedral; Forest of Dean Stone Firms with its commercial brand of Forest Pennant; Caithness Flagstone, found only in the far north of Scotland; The Johnston Quarry Group, with the Hard White limestone of Creeton, Cotswold Cream and Guiting Gold, and the rustic brown Ironstone of Great Tew; Gallagher Group’s Kentish Ragstone; Artisan Stone Supplies’ Gwrhyd Pennant; Johnsons Wellfield’s Crosland Hill hard Yorkstone; Welsh Slate’s Heather Blue slate from Penrhyn Quarry; Lamb Group’s Wealden Sussex Sandstone.
Wholesalers and importers with outlets in the UK offer a massive range of stone sourced from quarries all over the world. Beltrami and Stoneasy team up to show their new range of quartz and marble composite products, along with an enormous choice of high-end natural stones; hard landscaping company CED provides expertise in natural stone paving for public and private places; The Ethical Stone Company offers European stones that avoid activities which harm people or the environment; In Opera partners Agglotech to offer Terrazzo for use in facades, flooring and tiles; Ca’Pietra Stone & Tile looks to inspire with its premium interior collections; Century Stone specialises in stone cladding products, including its DecoStone, Eldorado and Mathios ranges; Rocks Forever presents materials directly from its own factories in India; Stone Consulting will display hand-finished limestone flooring from its Moroccan factory as well as large, lightweight natural stone Marmo Panels measuring 1200mm x 2400mm x 12mm thick; there are lightweight honeycomb panels from LMC products; Global Granite presents marble, quartz and its exotic granite selection that includes Fusion Gold, Stonewood and Antique Brown Leather; and Trans-European Stone will be showing its Pierre Bleue Belge limestone.
Granite Granite will promote the American-made Cambria range of quartz that has more than 100 designs, which you can see in the palm of your hand through the company’s interactive App; RHF Stone from Australia and Sidera from Romania will market their own manufactured quartz ranges, while Asian player Xinyun Quartz, which boasts the production of 3million square metres of quartz a year, will exhibit together with fellow Chinese producer Yixin quartz. CRL Stone, a division of C R Laurence, has developed the CRL Quartz range with 32 colours, and also offers Ceralsio porcelain slabs in 27 colours. Porcel-Thin returns to the Stone Show to unveil its latest ultra-thin marble / stone-effect porcelain tiles; Stoneware is exhibiting Geoluxe, which it describes as a breakthrough in ‘Pyrolithic Stone’. There is more from the engineered stone sector starting on page 24 of this magazine.
A range of companies will be able to facilitate your ‘big project’. Chesney’s Architectural provides a complete service from design through sourcing, carving and manufacture, to installation. It is renowned for its spectacular stone staircases. Stone Partner has 20 years of project experience in the UK having just completed 15 Clerkenwell London. Greystone Masonry, Traditional Stone Restoration and Ateliers Romeo all provide stonework for both historic restoration and new build using the latest techniques in 3D modelling.
For kitchen worktops, bathrooms, reception areas and other interiors you might like to turn to STF London, Tasca Stone, Suite Deco and Stone Deco.
Two of the industry’s most respected consultancies, Sandberg and Harrison Goldman, will explain how their services can help ease the path to a successful project and even save money with value engineering. You can even seek out specialist software and technology at the show to help streamline your stone and tile business through Stone Profit Systems.
Once stone has been shaped and finished it has to be cleaned, fixed, sealed, enhanced (perhaps) and maintained. This sector of the chemicals industry develops quickly and if you want to see the latest developments visit the stands of Lithofin, GeoCel (Sherwin-Williams), Stonecare Europe, Faber, Dry Treat, Ardex, Guard Industry, Rocan Products and Tremco Illbruck.
You might like to talk to Ardex about its Rapidry Formula Technology or go on to the Guard Industry stand for the launch of ProtectGuard Dtox, an application which combines water-repellent, oil-repellent, anti-graffiti and pollution removing properties.
Rocan Products is promoting PureScape, an invisible care product that helps to prevent water staining on stone landscaping, while Tremco Illbruck has high-performance sealing and bonding solutions for stone.
Jupiter Heating Systems will demonstrate its dry installed and environmentally friendly underfloor heating systems.
Tiling tools, accessories and general solutions will also be available from Rubi UK and the Trimline Group, representing well-known brands such as Schluter, Mapei, KeraKoll, Atrim and Dukkaboard
As well as the wide range of imported stones on the UK wholesalers’ stands, there are many overseas producers exhibiting in their own right. Indigenous stones are vital for maintaining the character and vernacular traditions of the British Isles, but the stone industry is international and most of the stone used in the UK is imported, which is reflected in the international representation of exhibitors once again at this year’s Natural Stone Show.
With its rich stone tradition, Italian stone is well represented. The famous white and blue-grey marbles of Carrara will be displayed by GDA Marmi e Graniti, including Bianco Carrara Venato, Venatino, Arabescato and Statuario from their Madielle quarry. Basaltina Stone exhibits for the first time. Classic Basaltina, with its unmistakable horizontal stratification, conveys solidity, tradition and elegance and has been used to embellish some of the world's most famous airports and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Nicola Fontanili holds an impressive stock of high-end materials, including eight varieties of Palissandro from a quarry in the north of Italy. It was used at the Hilton Hotel in Shekou, China, the Radisson Royal in Moscow and the Marriot in Baku.
Industrial Marmol will be showing Cenia Stone, an exceptional paving stone available in a bush hammered and flamed finish. Marmi Colombare, exhibiting for the first time, combines tradition and innovation, facilitating experimentation with natural stone design.
Closer to home, McMonagle Stone from the Republic of Ireland will present the versatile walling stone of Donegal Quartzite and award-winning sandstones from the company’s Mountcharles quarries.
MB Stone International represents a consortium of French producers. It supplied the Caen Stone for the Award Winning East Elevation Quadrangle at Buckingham Palace. Carrières Plo from France returns to the Show with its celebrated Sarrancolin Versailles and Opera Fantastico marbles.
Portugal is the third largest exporter of stone in Europe and one of the largest European suppliers of stone to the UK. It is famous for its pink Rosa marble and beige Moleanos and Moca Creme limestones. There will be examples of these stones from Portugal at the Natural Stone Show alongside some of the country’s stones that have yet to make such an impact on the stone industry internationally.
The companies taking part from Portugal include Natural Stone Show regulars Dimpomar and MVC – Marmores de Alcabaca. Granitos, Pedrantiqua, Pardais Granites, Polimagra, Pragrosa and Ruipedra also all return, joined by Farpedra, Istone – Irmaos Silva & Teixeira, Marmalcoa, Marmoguia and Piramide Stone Solutions.
Dimpomar is well known in the UK Market, thanks, no doubt, to having exhibited at each of the Stone Shows in London since the 1990s. Its materials are often specified in high profile projects.
MVC returns to promote Portuguese limestone in a variety of finishes it offers and just an example of the variety of work it can produce on the CNC machines in its factory. There will be a photo gallery of buildings for which the company has supplied the stone. Marmalcoa Stone Works also promises a gallery of its work.
Pardais granites and Granitos do Norte are displaying granites from their own quarries in Northern Portugal, including Gray Alpendurada and Yellow Mondim, which gets its name from the yellow phenocrysts that give it its distinctive look. Ruipedra owns three limestone quarries providing a direct supply of Moca Crème, Zambujalstone and Moleanos.
From Spain, Europe’s biggest supplier of stone to the UK, granite quarry owners Granichan exhibit for the first time, Industrial Marmol Export presents its Cenia stone, a versatile limestone suitable for outdoor and indoor use, and Bagia Stone Group represents a consortium of companies including Solancis, Pedreres Incomar, Hontoria Calizas De Burgos and Areniscas Juanes.
Greek marbles, increasingly popular in the London residential sector, are represented again by Manologlou.
In line with global trends, the emerging economies of China, India and Turkey have taken a leading role in the UK, either through distribution agreements with UK companies or by direct entrance on their own behalf to the UK market.
The Zirve Natural Stone Gallery from Istanbul, Turkey, hopes to establish itself in the London interiors market with a wide range of exclusive materials including its semiprecious collection.
Major granite, slate, limestone and sandstone paving projects can be realised through a variety of Indian companies, including Malbros, Mehta Export House, Stone Trading and R R Paving Stones. Natural Stone Concepts and Jennex International return to the Show to exhibit popular black granites and a new quartz range.
China also continues to help grow the UK stone market with its wide range of lower price stones available in large quantities. The Natural Stone Show this time sees 20 Chinese companies exhibiting with stone products ranging from paving to slate roofing tiles. There are granite worktops, marble memorials, stone furniture and fireplaces and various ranges of engineered stone.
Many stone companies are bombarded with emails from China but relationships are usually easier following face-to-face contact, so if you are in the market for dealing directly with a Chinese stone supplier the Stone Show can give you that first point of contact.
If you’re are having trouble deciding where your machinery and tool investments would be best placed, a visit to the Natural Stone Show could help you clarify the issues.
There will be plenty on show there, including some developments so new the companies cannot even talk about them yet.
Those that can be talked about include a GMM Extra bridge saw on the Roccia Machinery stand. The Extra was launched at Marmomacc (now renamed Marmo+Mac) in Verona last year. Ideal for the worktop market, it is a compact monobloc that requires minimal civils to install yet incorporates features such as digital photography for setting out work on a slab.
GMM will also show a Tower vertical edge polisher.
Pat Sharkey Engineering is intriguing customers with the promise of an announcement at the Show, but says it cannot talk about yet because there are still a few ‘T’s to be crossed and ‘I’s to be dotted.
Pat Sharkey Engineering has had exceptional success with the Sasso range of products it had just taken on the agency for at the Natural Stone Show in London last time (2015). The agency was so new then that there was no time to arrange for a machine to come over from Italy to the UK. Pat Sharkey and his son Neil had to content themselves with showing customers Sasso brochures, although they had a good range of other machines on show.
This time there will be Sassos on the stand, along with Spielvogels and the smaller range of Mondial Mec saws that Pat Sharkey Engineering sells.
Another top machinery supplier in the UK and across Europe is LPE Group. It is growing so quickly it keeps having to move into larger premises. In 2015 it moved from Hornsea to Beverley in East Yorkshire and it has started this year with another move to a warehouse twice the size on the same Beverley industrial estate (Tokenspire Business Park).
LPE stands for Laser Products Europe. Laser Products is an American digital templating system that LPE represents in Europe. Carl Sharkey and his co-Director Simon Bradbury have set up a distribution system across Europe for the Americans. The latest developments from Laser Products will be on show and demonstrated at the Natural Stone Show in London.
Carl and Simon will be on their stand along with other members of their team, including Pat Swain, their agent in Ireland.
The LPE international network has also helped the Group develop European distribution for OmniCubed materials handling products. Again, a selection of the products will be on the LPE Group stand in London.
And then there’s Slabsmith, again from America. This is a system to record and digitise (with high definition photographs) slabs for 3D visual layout, streamlined manufacturing, sales & marketing and inventory management for precisely targeted business decisions. The software has been developed by a small company in the USA with low overheads, making Slabsmith about an eighth the price of some other similar management systems. It is already being used by one of the largest stone processors in the South of England (stoneCIRCLE) and a company in America attributes a 25% increase in sales to having installed it.
Within the LPE Group is Comandulli UK, which sells Italian Comandulli edge polishers. On the stand will be the new Edil Plus, which is a bit bigger than the Musa but not quite as powerful as the Edilux. There are already two working in the UK.
Breton UK, another component of LPE Group, sells top-of-the-range Breton CNC machinery. One UK customer has recently ordered a new Breton line valued at €1.5million and might yet add more to it before it is installed. At the Natural Stone Show Breton will have its own stand next to the LPE Group stand.
Breton had hoped to demonstrate a CombiCut at ExCeL, but discovered there would not be time to set it up. CombiCut is a CNC that combines diamond sawing and waterjet technology. The past year has seen the first CombiCuts installed in the UK.
There is a new name in stone machinery introducing itself at the Stone Show this time. It is SMC Stone Machinery. Its headline machines are not new to the industry – CMS Brembana CNC machines and Montresor edge polishers. It will also be introducing Bovone vertical edge polishers, BDT diamond tools and a Pavoni small CNC engraving machine.
The company has been established by Phil Birchall, who set up The Glass Machinery Company in 2007 to sell CMS Brembana CNC machinery for glass processing after CMS pulled out of direct involvement in the UK.
In August last year Phil incorporated SMC Stone Machinery. He says: “We set the standard very high and we intend to transfer our successful glass machinery business model into the stone industry. We take a proactive approach to business by putting ourselves with customers rather than sitting back waiting for the ’phone to ring.”
On the stand, SMC Stone Machinery will show a CMS Brembana Idroline S 2040 waterjet and a Montressor Luna 540-S edge polisher. There will be a display of diamond tooling from BDT.
Waters Group is another leading supplier of tooling, consumables and machinery to the stone industry in the UK and Ireland. It has more than 30 years’ experience working in partnership with some of the industry’s leading and most innovative manufacturers.
It will have its usual stands (A1 and B1) at the front of the Stone Show where you will be able meet the Waters Group team and representatives of some of the manufacturers whose products Waters sell in the UK. You will be able to watch product demonstrations as you enjoy the Waters Group hospitality.
Among others joining Waters will be ADI, the leading developer and manufacturer of CNC tools for the industry. Paul from Flow will also be on hand to talk about how waterjet cutting could be a real boon to your business, and there will be Cobalm machinery on show. There will be Integra adhesives, Deltarack and Aardwolf handling products, vacuum lifts, water treatment plant, dust extraction systems and all kinds of innovative developments to make the lives of those in the stone industry easier.
You can even save money. Waters Group Managing Director Nicola Waters says: “We are working hard to put together some really great show offers, especially on water treatment, dust extraction and cranes. So if you are thinking about investing in these products for your workshop be sure to come and see us at the Show for the best prices.”
D Zambelis, which sells Omag, Terzago and Achilli workcentres and saws, will be making more of the tools it sells this time, even giving away money-off vouchers for you to use in the months ahead when you buy its tools and consumables.
Zambelis is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is looking back to its roots in the tools and consumables side of the business, before it started selling machinery. The money-off vouchers are to promote these products, giving £50 off orders of over £1,000 net, £25 off orders over £500 and £10 off orders over £250. The only stipulations are that the vouchers cannot be used for orders of chemicals only and they have to be used within six months after the exhibition.
D Zambelis is giving away copies of its new tools catalogue as part of a goody bag that will also contain the money-off vouchers, so be sure to visit the stand.
The tools catalogue includes new saw blades that are being launched at the Show for processing the new generation of porcelain and superdense sintered products.
Although D Zambelis is giving more focus to tools this time, there will still be plenty of machinery. Omag CNC workcentres have been particularly popular since Zambelis introduced them as part of its product range at the Show last time. This time an Omag Mill 4X four axes CNC milling machine will be on show, which has so many outstanding features it is difficult to know where to begin. Suffice it to say here that if you are in the market for CNC machining capability it is well worth taking a look at what Omag has to offer.
Another highly respected marque sold by Zambelis is Terzago, which makes CNC bridge saws. On the Zambelis stand will be the new, five axes CUTe 36/Digit.
In spite of its compact dimensions, this little CUTey is built to high specification with all the features you would expect to find on its bigger brothers to provide longevity and accuracy. Spend some time on the Zambelis stand to discover the whole story. And while you are there, you might also like to take a look at the Donatoni S6P cross cut saw that will be shown.
Although machinery is getting more economical with its power and water use, stone processing still uses a lot of water. For the sake of economy as well as the environment, it makes sense to filter and recycle that water, and Zambelis can help with that as well with the ItalMecc water management systems it supplies. On the stand will be the C-Series water clarifier alongside the ItalMecc Air Box 3100 cabin dust suppression system.
Stone Equipment International will have a Discovery Plus five axes saw from its ever-popular and extensive range of particularly competitively priced machines from Emmedue. There will also be two MarmoMeccanica edge polishers on the stand, demonstrating the vertical and horizontal polishing options available.
French company Thibaut will showing a four axes T818 M4 with its working table capacity of 3.4m x 2m and the potential to hold up to 90 tools in its double deck tool magazine. Thibaut will also be demonstrating its Octopod hoseless and wireless suction clamps that are compatible with all new and most recent Thibaut CNC workcentres.
Intermac has formed a collaboration with bridge saw maker Donatoni that has already paid dividends for both companies. Many stone processors want to buy CNC workcentres, waterjets and bridge saws all from the same supplier, which they now can from Intermac. And because Intermac also owns Diamut, the diamond tool manufacturer, it can offer a comprehensive service to stone fabricators.
At the Show, Intermac intends to demonstrate a Master 38.3 alongside an example of a Donatoni bridge saw, although which saw will be shown is not yet finalised. And, of course, Diamut will be there.
And these are just some of the highlights. You will also be able to see machinery, tools and all kinds of consumables and accessories used in association with the processing and finishing of stone from companies such as Fickert & Winterling, Flex, Ferrari & Cigarini, Fickert & Winterling, Grani Roc, Hodge Clemco, Jupiter Heating Systems, KGS Diamond International, Leica Geosystems, Officine Marchetti, Sait Abrasives, Prodim…
The list goes on and this magazine apologises for not having room to mention everyone. They will, however, all be included in the Natural Stone Show Official Catalogue that will be available at the exhibition and which will be free if you register to attend the Show online at bit.ly/25-27April.
The Catalogue will be on sale at the exhibition for £5 for those who do not register in advance or want extra copies. Registering online will also save you queueing up to fill out a form at ExCeL and show it when you buy a ticket for the cable car across the Thames and you will get a substantial discount.
The full exhibitor list is available online at www.stoneshow.co.uk/exhibitor-list.