Upholding a Family Legacy with the Latest Stone Fabrication Technology
By Joel Davis
When Rumford Stone entered the stone fabrication business in the early 1990s, it meant that the company’s owners, Vince & Todd Trento, were following a family tradition.
The Trento family has been in the stone and commercial ceramic tile business for generations since their great-grandfather, Pio Trento, arrived here from Italy in 1919. Throughout the years, their family members worked on projects including the United Nations building in New York City, the James C. Cleveland Federal Building in Concord, New Hampshire, and the Ginoux Federal Courthouse in Portland Maine.
Based in Bow, New Hampshire, Rumford Stone began officially operating in 1995. The Trentos started the shop in a two-stall garage. Now it has a 23,000 square-foot facility. These days, it fabricates and installs granite, quartz, and natural stone countertops for kitchens and bathrooms. It also produces counter tops, showers, and fireplace surrounds. Rumford Stone deals with home builders, general contractors, and kitchen dealers throughout the Northeast.
A respect for tradition did not stop the Trentos from adopting the latest innovations in robotics-based stone fabrication solutions. In February 2018, they bought a BACA Systems Robo SawJet. Driven by a precision KUKA Robotics industrial robot, the sawjet combines the functions of a 26HP direct-drive saw and a high-pressure abrasive waterjet. “We replaced an existing sawjet in order to improve production,” company president Vince Trento said.
Putting the Robo SawJet to work has increased Rumford Stone’s production dramatically while reducing the labor involved. “We’re cutting about 20-30 slabs, 600 to 750 square feet a day, and we’re only cutting for about 8 to 10 hours, spread over two shifts, now,” Trento said. “We’re expecting to save $30,000 to $40,000 this year for labor alone.”
It only takes 15-18 minutes for a Robo SawJet to cut a standard 40-square-foot kitchen countertop with a sink hole from a slab. It takes other machines at least twice as long. The accuracy of the waterjet and saw, along with sophisticated software that calculates optimum cutting patterns, increases yield and allows customers to save an average of 20 percent on material cost annually.
“The best thing is the improvement to the throughput because of the dual table,” Trento said. The Robo SawJet, which has two cutting tables, allows a slab to be loaded on one table while another is cut on the opposing table, providing a significant increase in production.
“The key factor for us in deciding to buy it was primarily the dual table design but also the robot itself,” he said.
Built to Last
Although the single-table saw jet that Rumford Stone used for years had served it well, it became less reliable as it aged. “I didn’t have a lot of issues with my previous machine,” Trento said. “As time went on, though, there were inevitable maintenance concerns with the drive system I knew wouldn’t be an issue with the robot. I also had inconsistent customer service with the previous machine supplier. Sometimes it was better than others. BACA’s customer service has been spot-on from the start”
The Robo SawJet, however, is built to last. The KUKA robot that powers the machine needs virtually no maintenance for 5 years or 10,000 hours while its sturdy H2O jet pump was built to function in non-stop 24-hour per day automotive manufacturing environments. It can last three times longer between rebuilds than Hypertherm pumps. Its components are cheaper and more convenient to install than those used in competing brands.
This means that Rumford Stone has not lost any production time since bringing the Robo SawJet online. “Not yet, fortunately,” Trento said. “We had a couple of small things early on after we got set up that were resolved very quickly, but I’ve had no downtime.”
Training and Customer Service
While BACA Systems is installing a Robo SawJet, the company will fly out technicians from the customer’s fabrication shop to its Detroit headquarters. There, they undergo a weeklong training in Robo SawJet operations.
“The training was very thorough,” Trento said. “It covered all the basics. “Our staff, they liked it quite a bit. They were very excited about the BACA.”
Since the installation, BACA has provided excellent customer service and support. “Their service is top-notch,” Trento said. “They know how to troubleshoot and resolve issues very quickly. They are very responsive.”
The Robo SawJet’s PC-based Easy 2 Use™ and Ready 2 Use™ software gives Rumford Stone staffing flexibility. It does not have to rely on one or two experienced employees to properly run the machine. After a brief training, almost any employee can step in to run the machine if necessary.