Processing stones has come a long way. Whether they are for construction, architectural, or interior design use, we can manufacture stones with detailed designs, no matter how complex.
Technology allowed us to use “intelligent stone cutting,” which lets us materialize products with unique designs and high precision under triple speed and efficiency compared to traditional methods.
By reading this article, find out what stone-cutting machines we use and how they benefit both the market and the stone industry.
Intelligent stone cutting is the process of cutting stones with technology doing most of the work. This includes:
- slicing slabs with uniform sizes and dimensions;
- cutting stone pieces for furniture and;
- shaping the stones however we want.
Even when the natural rock is quarried, it goes under processes that involve stone-cutting tools. Applying the finishes—such as polished and honed, among other types—is best done with advanced machinery.
It’s truly impressive how technology has come this far with a positive impact, helping factories manufacture and supply marble, granite, limestone, and any other natural stone products with fewer hardships and more efficiency.
Even in carving and engraving, we also use the advantage of high-tech machines with the power of computers.
Now that we have provided a brief introduction to intelligent stone cutting, let’s focus on the benefits it can give not only to stone manufacturers and suppliers but also to distributors, dealers, and customers.
As we’ve mentioned, intelligent stone-cutting equipment will work faster because it’s controlled by a computer with enough human supervision. Moreover, the machines also have sophisticated parts.
A waterjet machine can be our example. It has an orifice and a nozzle whose diameters control the width of the equipment’s cut. If it’s an abrasive water jet, it will have an inlet and mixing tube for the water and the abrasive.
Waterjet stone cutting means cutting about 6 to 30 inches per minute, depending on the type of stone and the thickness. Another example is a multi-blade saw that can slice multiple slabs simultaneously.
With these machines, we can process more stones in a shorter time than manually.
Since our cutting instruments use computers to control their performance, greater precision is easier to achieve. But why is that?
These machines use computerized numeric control (CNC) to direct the cutting process. The directions come from a numerical code called the “G-code,” which is a computer-aided design (CAD) translated by computer manufacturing software (CAM).
Our CAD for different stone products such as countertops, claddings, or mosaics is very precise since it’s 2D or 3D. We can bring any design to reality with top-notch equipment such as a CNC router or waterjet for cutting.
Also, in connection to the previous advantage, the ability of the CNC to read any CAD layout translated into a G-code means incorporating any design into the stone. And when we say stone, we mean any kind.
Some machines, such as a CNC router, also have other functions aside from cutting. It’s known for polishing marble to achieve smoothness and more gloss, usually with diamond-coated abrasive pads. It can also cut and engrave granite, for example.
Is using natural stone environmentally friendly? The quarrying must first be legal and approved by the government’s environmental sector. After this, it all comes down to how we process and utilize it.
CNC stone-cutting machines use nesting software (typically comes with CAM), which analyzes the types of cuts the equipment has to make. The purpose is to position the scratches on the material to avoid too much space between the cuts, resulting in wastage.
An example is a marble medallion that we cut with a waterjet machine. We will need different shapes of marble in various sizes, and the CNC will then analyze them and create a cutting position that will utilize every bit of the slab as much as possible.
Equipment for intelligent stone cutting may cost expensive, but these machines allow us to manufacture output whose advantages can soon double the income compared to traditional stone cutting alone.
Intelligent stone cutting lets us process and create stone products faster, and machines that can produce more than one output simultaneously allow us to handle large orders efficiently.
The uniqueness, intricacy, and complexity of a stone product will also bring value to the manufacturer and the customers.
A waterjet machine cuts by using water at a pressure of 60,000 psi minimum, and it comes out through a nozzle with a tiny hole. This equipment has two types:
- pure waterjet, which uses only water and;
- abrasive waterjet or abrasive jet uses water alongside abrasives such as garnet (most common), silicon carbide, sand, and aluminum oxide.
We can adjust its water pressure, cutting speed, cut flow, piercing height, and cutting types, among many other features.
A CNC-operated gang saw is used to cut stones into slabs because of its long-cutting strokes. It’s also quick to produce even and smooth results.
We also have a multi-blade saw, and from the name itself, it has the same function but with multiple saws to cut various slabs simultaneously.
This equipment can perform multiple functions at an excellent speed while providing results that meet quality standards. Aside from cutting industrial stones like marble, granite, and sandstone, it can also do the following:
We often utilize a CNC router to polish marble, but it’s also popular in 3D engraving and carving.
A milling machine operated by CNC is also for cutting, carving, and shaping marble—this is especially true if we need complex designs on the stone. However, we already have the waterjet machine, so which one should we use?
The waterjet is better for cutting thicker stone pieces with incredible precision, while the CNC milling machine can do intricate cuts with high accuracy. An example of the latter is the 3D engraving which can even draw a picture on the stone.
This CNC cutting instrument uses a diamond wire saw, mainly because it’s the most challenging element and can cut through all materials. It has two pulleys where we attach the wire, and they also swivel.
Similar to the previous equipment that we listed, a CNC wire saw is also a staple in stone processing factories. The two-axis model is mainly for cutting slabs, whether block-shaped or curved-shaped. The four-axis can cut more complicated shapes, such as defined curves.
From the traditional way of cutting stones manually, we now have advanced technology that can cut them with computers. Almost all machines work by having the CNC read the G-code translated from the CAD, allowing us to materialize any design on the stone.
With them, achieving precision quickly is easy, allowing us to cater to large amounts of stone deliverables. Some examples of intelligent stone-cutting equipment are waterjet machines, CNC-operated gang saws, routers, milling machines, and wire saws.