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     February 2024 MemberConnect

ISFA Fabricator Forums: The Roundtable Events You Love, Now New & Improved!

Hey, ISFA Members! Good news: ISFA Roundtables are back and better than ever! Now dubbed FABRICATOR FORUMS, these two-day regional events are designed to create educational and networking opportunities so that you can find the information and resources you need to build upon your successes.

ISFA understands that networking is a crucial aspect for business owners as it plays a pivotal role in fostering growth, creating opportunities and building a strong support system. ISFA Fabricator Forums enable members to stay updated on industry trends, market insights and emerging technologies while engaging with peers and other professionals to exchange ideas and strategies that can help you make informed business decisions. 

The first FABRICATOR FORUM of 2024 will be held April 10-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Save the date and stay tuned for more details. Registration will open soon!

ISFA Goes To Washington (State) To Provide Solid Surface Fabrication Training

February 8, 2024—ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Trainer Aaron Davis was on location in Issaquah, Washington, this week. Aaron trained a facilities maintenance crew responsible for maintaining 51 libraries across King County Washington.

“The training was really good. We enjoyed the instructor,” said Howard Summers, facilities maintenance supervisor for the King County Library System. “Aaron did a great job, and he was very thorough. It was a very well-rounded training for those with no experience and those with previous experience.”

240206 ISFA SS Training King County Library 2

The King County Library system is a publicly funded entity, and the facilities maintenance crew that attended this solid surface fabrication training is responsible for servicing and maintaining the countertops and sinks in all the public and staff areas. They’re also considering replacing existing laminate countertops in the libraries’ computer labs with solid surface.

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ICYMI: Part Two of Corian's Beneath the Surface Webinar Series Inspires Fabricators To Get Creative with Solid Surface

ISFA hosted part two of a three-part series about fabrication techniques for solid surface, brought to you by your friends at Corian Design. 

Part two, Next-Level Techniques, included virtual tutorials presented by Corian Fabrication Specialist Jeffrey Hutchins, covering dye sublimation, thermoforming and a unique approach for making furniture and fixtures called Designing for Deconstruction.

"The seamless appearance of Corian Solid Surface is like a blank canvas waiting to be painted," said Jeffrey. "With image transfer by dye sublimation, color images can be embedded into the surface." Attendees saw the process step by step and asked questions in the Q&A.

In addition, the webinar covered thermoforming. Jeffrey provided best practices for temperatures, timing and how to make the forms, including ideal materials. In the third segment, attendees learned about Designing for Deconstruction, a way to build furniture that is assembled with notched joinery. Jeffrey's examples included tables, chairs and a cornhole game.

"This was an excellent webinar for fabricators to learn about new ways to work with solid surface," added ISFA Executive Director Marissa Bankert. "Solid surface is an amazing material; it provides so many opportunities for fabricators to get creative and find new ways to meet the needs of their customers."

If you missed either of these Beneath the Surface webinars, you can watch the recording in the webinar library.

Part three will be on March 20 at 1 PM ET. This webinar will cover Interior Cladding. See a live wall installation demonstration and learn the basics of vertical cladding with Corian Solid Surface.

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Fifth Gear Technologies Receives Disruptor Award at StonExpo 2024

Fifth Gear Technologies, a leading provider of software solutions for the countertop industry, debuted its SPEEDsuite of cutting-edge products at The International Surface Event, including StonExpo, which was held from January 24-26, 2024, in Las Vegas.

SPEEDlabel softwareKnown for its popular flagship solution, SPEEDlabel, Fifth Gear Technologies introduced SPEEDfolder, SPEEDcad and its digital templating software, SPEEDtemplate, which is the result of the acquisition of ETemplate Systems in April 2023. Fifth Gear was recognized with a Disruptor Award at StonExpo — a part of the Best of TISE Awards.

Founded by veteran countertop fabricators, Fifth Gear Technologies aims to bring innovative solutions to the surfacing industry that enhance production, profitability, quality and service. SPEEDlabel offers fabricators an efficient part-management system using labels and unique codes, mitigating the risk of losing parts or costly mistakes.

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The International Surface Event: A Recap of 2024’s First Major Industry Event for Inspiration & Sourcing

The International Surface Event (TISE) took place January 24-26 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. TISE is the megalopolis of all things floor covering, stone and tile. As the umbrella branding for three events: SURFACES, StonExpo and TileExpo, TISE is an annual resource for sourcing and purchasing the newest industry products, networking with industry leaders and game changers, and learning about new trends and training opportunities. 

A big draw for fabricators, this event features the latest and greatest in software and tech, and it’s the place to be to see the industry’s leading heavy machinery, including CNCs, robotic saws and more.

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BACA Systems Partners with Comandulli

BACA Systems, an industry leader in robotic cutting systems for the stone fabrication sector, announced an exclusive partnership with Comandulli, the world-renowned manufacturer of line polishing equipment based in Castelleone, Italy. This strategic alliance positions BACA Systems as the exclusive sales agent for Comandulli products in the United States.

The collaboration between BACA Systems and Comandulli brings together two market leaders in the stone fabrication industry, combining cutting-edge technology and expertise to enhance comprehensive solutions that integrate BACA Systems' state-of-the-art Robo SawJet for cutting with Comandulli's world-class line polishing equipment for edging and polishing.

"For years, we have witnessed the synergies between our Robo SawJet and Comandulli line polishers through successful joint customers," said Chuck Russo, CEO of BACA Systems. "Now, as the exclusive sales agent for Comandulli in the U.S., we are positioned to offer our customers the best-in-class edging and polishing solutions available globally. This partnership represents a significant step forward in our commitment to helping customers reduce labor and elevate the quality of their products."

“Comandulli is excited [about the] partnership with BACA Systems, the world leader in robotic cutting equipment," added Mara Comandulli, president of Comandulli North America. "We believe this will be instrumental in servicing the U.S. market for the years to come.”


California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Votes To Adopt Additional Silica Safety Requirements

An Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) was unanimously approved by the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards board on Thursday, December 14. The standard will go into effect on December 29 pending a final review by state officials. 

The new ETS requires that all fabrication of artificial materials containing more than .1% silica or natural stone materials containing more than 10% crystalline silica by weight be done using wet cutting methods. In addition, fabricators will be required to full-face respirators.

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The vote comes on the heels of an engineered stone ban in Australia. Authorities there unanimously agreed to impose a national ban on the material beginning July 1, 2024. The motion is in reaction to a surge of silicosis cases among workers, especially fabricators of countertops and similar applications.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BAN IN AUSTRALIA