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Risks of choosing a low investment plant in the Engineered Stone business (Part 1)

Eng. Giancarlo Crestani, Engineered Stone Sales Director at Breton, explains why it is a big mistake to say that it pays to invest in low-cost industrial plants.

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Risks of choosing a low investment plant in the Engineered Stone business

Abstract

A time ago, I read an article where the author tried comparing Engineered Stone slabs manufactured by BretonStone® plants and any Chinese plant.

That article tried to explain why the selling prices of slabs manufactured with a Chinese plant are lower than slabs manufactured with a BretonStone plant, assuming they have the same quality.

Through this and some other publications, I will deepen and clarify any argument explained in that article:

  • output quality
  • production costs and selling prices
  • delivery time
  • branding

As soon as you read my thoughts on this, you will understand that assuming a small plant investment is the best choice is a big mistake!

I will give you the evidence through figures and calculations, not just simple and general wording.

Let's start with the first argument: the output quality.

Output quality

Certified does not mean quality

The article assumed that because Engineered Stone slabs manufactured with Chinese plants are getting NSF and Greenguard Certificates as those who have BretonStone® plants, it means that the output quality of both Chinese and BretonStone plants is the same.

I would point out a key concept:

NSF certificate certifies that the manufacturer of food service products uses only FDA-approved raw materials.

This certification does not certify the product quality.

NSF certifies that the countertop is produced with raw materials approved by US Food and Drug Administration. Engineered Stone producers usually use similar raw materials accepted by FDA. That is why most manufacturers can get an NSF certificate.

Then, an NSF-certified finished product could have high porosity, cracks or damages, or non-uniform color and thickness. Also, it can potentially be not well compacted or bent. It could have too much resin, low scratch resistance, internal stresses, and further possible issues.

The same concept can be applied to the Greenguard Certificate. This certificate guarantees that the product gives off low levels of volatile organic compounds or VOCs, but they could have all the same issues mentioned above.

Then, even if your countertop is NSF and Greenguard certified doesn’t mean that it has been manufactured following the rules of these certificates. Certifiers usually check factories once a year (or even more), not every day.

Output quality

BretonStone manufacturers and chinese slabs

The same article stated that the quality of the Chinese slabs is clear because many international brands having BretonStone® plants are purchasing slabs produced by Chinese plants and putting their logo on them.

Of course, it could be true that some brands with BretonStone® plants are purchasing Chinese slabs, but all these brands with BretonStone® equipment usually send their experts to check the quality of the slabs to be loaded into their containers.

There are many possible reasons for getting poor-quality slabs, as per the previous explanation, and the poor-quality slabs usually are rejected and not purchased by BretonStone®.

Risks of choosing a low investment plant in the Engineered Stone business

Stay tuned and do not miss Part 2!

The second publication will deepen many economic, financial, and pricing aspects.

More specifically, the next article will answer a simple question:

Is it correct to assume that it is cheaper to produce with low-cost industrial plants?

The answer to this question and its supporting data will surprise you!

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