As a box of tricks goes, it's pretty impressive. Feed a block of stone into our CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) machine on one side and we can get four to five bespoke paving slabs out the other side in half an hour, cut exactly to the shape specified. All that needs doing then is for the paving to be finished by one of our stonemasons.
Like any box of tricks, though, the more experience and technical know-how you have, the more amazing things you can do with it, which is why we are really pleased to welcome Martin Dameski to our team.
Martin comes to us from Macedonia with five years' experience in building complex 3-D programmes. He's going to streamline the CNC operation considerably. Up to now, more complex pieces have been created by breaking the design down into stages and cutting each stage separately, which meant that we had to feed the stone through the machine two or more times, leaving it to work two or more nights in a row. With Martin's expertise we'll now be able to cut a design in one go, cutting costs and reducing lead times.
Martin joined last week and is currently getting to know our Italian-made machine, but it's not taking long because all CNC machines work to the same logic. His work is fascinating to watch. The machine takes his instructions (which take up to two hours to write), calculates the best way to extract the design from a block of stone so that there's as little waste as possible, and then illustrates the cuts that have been programmed on screen in a sort of cartoon animation, so you can see exactly what the result will be before pressing the button to set the saws in motion.
London Stone's Sales Director Gavin Walley is responsible for the Bespoke Stone Masonry operation and is really looking forward to the extended possibilities. “We make a lot of pier caps which are four times weathered and shaped at the edges. Until now, it's been a two-stage process, but now they'll be made in one hit overnight and we'll come back in the morning to four finished pier caps.”
More sophisticated programming will also result in less intensive work for the stone masons, as they'll receive pieces that are closer to the polishing stage and require less hand finishing.
So that's what we're now offering – the ability to create complex Bespoke Stone Masonry in much less time than previously. We think it also offers the chance for us to create projects that would make others suck their teeth and shake their heads as being too difficult, time-consuming or wasteful of materials.
We'll be letting you see the results of some of the advanced projects we're involved with in the future. We can't wait to see how they turn out.