Advantages of Using Dedicated Layout Tables
Are you a fabricator seeking the best workflow? You no doubt realize that there are a variety of ways to fabricate. Perhaps you have experienced various workflows over the course of your fabrication career. In fact, you probably realize that each process for working slabs into a countertops brings both benefits and costs. In this article we are going to consider some of the benefits of incorporating a dedicated layout area into your workflow.
As mentioned above, each process for working natural stone offers advantages, let’s explore some of the reasons you might consider using a dedicated layout table in your fab shop. As we consider this layout method, you will no doubt see why doing layouts on your saw works to you disadvantage.
Dedicated Layout Tables Reduce Defects
One of the things that successful fabricators consider a high priority is keeping defects out of finished products. This is a primary goal and goes hand-in-hand with delivering great customer service. After all, who wants a countertop that is missing remarkable workmanship? When customers are presented with a finished product that goes above and beyond the expectations they had, they tell their friends. In turn, their friends become future customers. So, how does using dedicated layout tables contribute to that outcome?
Seeing Defects During Layout
In order to correct defects in your finished products you have to be able to see them in the first place. This is difficult to do if you are laying out your slabs on the saw. The low light environment that favors stone cutting is actually detrimental to visibility. Having a dedicated layout area for your slabs enables you to light the area better. In fact, the right amount of light assists you with inspecting your slabs for defects.
Having the proper lighting and catching defects in the stone helps tremendously with laying out the slab. But that is not the only benefit to having better lighting. Being able to see the stone better also contributes to seam and color matching. If you are able to see the seam better, you can properly assess the results. Doing it in lighting that mimics the final environment in which the stone will live is best.
Simply put, using a dedicated layout table allows for better lighting that allows fabricators to spot defects and match colors better so the seams of your slabs turn out cleaner. Even if you are using a color matched stone adhesive, you still need to see the stone and the adhesive you will be using.
Boost Production With Dedicated Layout Tables
Not only do dedicated layout tables help you as a fabricator reduce defects, but this workflow also increases the production rate tremendously. Boosting production in turn, improves profitability by allowing your shop to churn out more high quality work in a shorter amount of time. Let’s examine why that is so.
Freeing Up Saws Increases Production
If your saw is used for laying out slabs, then it cannot be cutting. The longer the stone is on the saw without the saw running, the less productive the saw is. Incidentally, trying to hurry through the layout so you can begin cutting with the saw can contribute to sub-par work; as mentioned in the previous part of our discussion.
When you have a dedicated area for laying out slabs, you can take your time without rushing the layout and the saw can be running while you simultaneously layout another slab. This increase in production will yield better results because each area is configured for the one task.
Sure doing layouts on the saw might be less expensive since you do not have move the slab as frequently, but many fabricators feel that the benefits outweigh the costs by far. Besides, the investment for carts to move stone slabs is relatively small when you consider the production boost that is realized using a dedicated layout area.
So there you have it. Some very good reasons to at least think seriously about using dedicated layout tables in your workflow if you are not already doing so. The productivity increase and the ability to do better work are two big ingredients in running an efficient fabrication shop.