Hard Surfaces 2023

Digitalization of stone

Tuesday 23 February

Digitalization is playing its part in sustainability by reducing waste – of product, of machinery down time, of unexpected delays, of communication errors. But when it comes to computers don’t blink or you’ll miss the next breakthrough.

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Sessions included:

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  1. Vetter UK is a natural stone specialist and sits in the Specialist Trading Business Group (STBG) of companies owned by Laing O’Rourke who have the mission statement to become the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry.  

    This presentation will look at how a digital and construction step change, the 4th industrial revolution, is underway and what is being done today and looking forward. How is digitization and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) positively influencing our industry especially with respect to cost, quality, programme and sustainability. 

  2. Spot is a four-legged robotic friend from Boston Dynamics that wanders building sites collecting data. It’s just one of the technological developments explored by Robert Merry of Stone Consultants in this presentation. Together, these developments are creating the digitally connected, computer-controlled, low carbon future the stone industry is facing. But at the end of the line there will still be a man or woman on-site fixing the stone onto or into a building, says Robert. 
  3. A combination of laser and photographic technology, and even incorporating clever software from the digital gaming sector, is helping to make the surveying and recording of buildings both quicker and more comprehensive. It can do clever things like zooming through walls to see what’s on the other side, as Graham Sykes explains. Graham’s background in the stone industry – he cut his teeth as a stonemason, rapidly becoming the Masonry Manager, with Manchester-based specialist William Anelay – makes him ideally suited to provide surveys just as the industry wants them. He worked at Stewart Design before starting his own company of Lapis Design in 2019 and getting involved with start-up Architectural & Heritage Scanning in 2020. 
  4. From digital templating to computer design and DXF files for robots and CNCs, even automated customer management systems in the offices. Natural Stone Surfaces in Derbyshire has incorporated ideas from the automotive industry with software specially written for the stone industry in the USA. And now it is going even further along the lean systems route following the appointment of James Weston last year. James used to work with David Roy, the Natural Stone Surfaces Operations Director, in the automotive sector. The two of them will explain their use of this technology to improve the productivity and efficiency of Natural Stone Surfaces. 

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