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Join ISFA in Charlotte for a Fabricator-Focused Event

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 for members to find the information and resources they need to overcome business challenges and build meaningful relationships.

Join us April 10-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the first Fabricator Forum of 2024! Topics include silica safety, fabrication techniques and tooling for porcelain and other sintered materials, using artificial intelligence to tap into growth opportunities, employee engagement and company culture, and other business best practices. 

Sponsored by Cosentino, the Charlotte Fabricator Forum also includes two fabricator shop tours, including The Art of Stone, for a mock OSHA inspection designed to identify common oversights and maintain compliance, and Harkey Tile & Stone, a family-owned company serving the area for more than 80 years.

ISFA Fabricator Forums are open to all fabricators. Registration includes all programming and meals listed on the agenda. Space is limited, so those interested in attending are encouraged to reserve their spot as soon as possible.

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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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The New Issue of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces Inspires Fabricators to Embrace Change, a Catalyst for Innovation

Over the years, the countertop has gone through a remarkable evolution, transcending beyond its utilitarian roots to become a centerpiece of expression in homes and public spaces. Gone are the days when countertops were mere functional surfaces; today, they serve as focal points that seamlessly blend style with substance. Change not as a threat but as a powerful force propelling us toward new horizons.

Countertops & Architectural Surfaces Magazine Q1 2024 Cover

In this issue of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces, we cover:

  • A Fabricator’s Guide for Annual Planning, including a month-to-month tool that forecasts your sales and helps you think through what staff changes you need to make as your sales change.
  • Safety First: Growing concerns about respirable crystalline silica dust in fabrication shops spur additional regulations. Learn what you can do to put safety first in your shop.
  • Stone Fabrication in the Age of the Great Retirement: Baby Boomers are calling it a career in record numbers. Over the next decade, there will be some 3.4 million open positions in manufacturing and fabrication but only 1.3 million workers to fill those spots. Learn what you can do to help offset ongoing labor shortages.
  • The Integration of smart features, like embedded wireless charging stations and touch-sensitive faucets, transform countertops into interactive hubs within the modern home.
  • Thirteen material manufacturers creating impressive designsincluding quartz, sintered stone and porcelain, offering durability, versatility and a spectrum of design possibilities.
  • ISFA Fabricator Profile: Tower Industries, a manufacturer and fabricator in Ohio that embraced solid surface in the 90s and continues to find terrific success with the material today.  

Because, in fact, the only constant is change, and when you apply a forward-thinking mindset, it’s an opportunity for growth.

READ THE MAGAZINE

Total Stone Solutions Unveils Cutting-Edge Machinery for Surface Fabrication Industry

Total Stone Solutions marked its inaugural presence at TISE 2024 with a showcase of revolutionary products set to redefine surface fabrication. Total Stone Solutions is spearheaded by industry veteran Nick Wadenstorer, who has two decades of expertise, including leadership roles at Marmo Meccanica and BACA Systems. 

Total Stone Soluitions

Visitors at TISE witnessed firsthand the unveiling of Helios Automation CNC machines, Mettreel workstation cranes, advanced water systems, and state-of-the-art polishing systems. With a commitment to innovation and excellence, Total Stone Solutions aims to empower stone fabricators with cutting-edge technologies, optimizing efficiency and a focus on minimizing labor costs. 

If you didn’t get a chance to see Total Stone Solutions at TISE, contact them for live demonstrations and exclusive insights into the next generation of industry-leading solutions.

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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