Stepping Into the Future With Old World Stone
Burlington, ON-based Old World Stone, has been providing cut stone for over 30 years. From humble beginnings, they have grown to become one of North America’s premier suppliers of dimensional cut sandstone, limestone, and marble. At Old World Stone, they combine the traditional craft of cut stone in the hands of European trained stonecutters and carvers, with state-of-the-art technology using computerized drawings, cutting and carving equipment. All of the dimensional work is done on-premises, which assures quality control and timely delivery. The result is a one-of-a-kind expression of stone design, created affordably.
Old World Stone recently made the leap of faith into technology of the future, investing in OCTOPUZ, Mastercam, and a KUKA robot (KUKA 120-R27000 Extra HA Quantic Robot with 4C Controller). This robot is programmed to carve stone and other materials using different milling head bits to sculpt the detail.
Laurie Wells, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing for Old World Stone says:
“We have to keep up with the world. Our craft is very traditional, but it is being reproduced in other parts of the world for cheaper. Speed and cost are our competitors. To be able to offer this product in North America and continue this craft dated back over a thousand years, we had to find a better way, a faster way of producing our art. Now we can offer the real thing at a better price than our competitors, instead of using cheaper materials like precast concrete.”
Recently, Old World Stone completed a project utilizing the KUKA programmed with OCTOPUZ and Mastercam which they carved the same pieces for 18 years ago by hand. Knowing exactly how many days it took for a skilled carver to make one, it was discovered that it took roughly one third of the time to mill, and hand finish the pieces utilizing their new technology. What used to take days now takes hours.
Not only is there time savings, but also other benefits as well:
1) Ability to invest in more skilled labour, as it is much easier to find apprentices or carvers than it is sculptors.
“I’m able to offer that learning experience to more apprentices because it is less complicated and dangerous. It builds a lot of pride and enthusiasm. They’re thrilled that they get to have that kind of work in a shop. When more of them share in that experience, it’s good for morale and they’re more positive. The robot is not only helping build careers, but furthering careers, because they are getting those critical skills at the beginning that will help them later in their career.” – Laurie Wells
2) Providing a safer, less intensive working environment
“A worker had been suffering from white finger (a condition that results from the vibration of an air hammer that cuts off the circulation to the fingers), carpal tunnel issues in his wrist, tendonitis in his elbow, and pain in his shoulder. He was in his mid 40’s, and he was thinking that he was going to lose his career because he couldn’t physically do the work. Now he finishes pieces that come off the robot in a day instead of taking 4-5 days to complete the physically demanding and destructive work. This isn’t ending his career, it’s extending it.” – Laurie Wells
3) Ability to be more competitive in the market
“It has helped expand our horizons. We are now able to serve a wider range of situations. I can competitively bid on projects that were previously unavailable to us due to costs, timing, and labour issues.” – Laurie Wells
When asked about her advice for anyone considering robotics, Laurie says:
“Dive in. It is the way of the future. You cannot be left behind.”
Stay Tuned for part two of this ongoing series, which will look at the changing field of employment and how robotics are helping change this world.
About Old World Stone
At Old World Stone we combine the traditional craft of cut stone in the hands of European trained stonecutters and carvers, with state-of-the-art technology using computerized drawings, cutting and carving equipment. All of the dimensional work is done on-premises, which assures quality control and timely delivery. The result is a one-of-a-kind expression of stone design created affordably.
OCTOPUZ is an intelligent offline robotic programming and simulation software ideal for any sized company. It offers the ability to program, simulate and generate code for multiple robots, simultaneously, with support for most robot brands in any configuration. OCTOPUZ is fully customizable to our customer’s needs, and our extensive support will provide assistance before, during, and after the sale.
About In-House Solutions
In-House Solutions provides CNC, Robotics, and QC markets with software, technical services, and educational materials. Our software solutions include: Mastercam (CAD/CAM for CNC Machines), OCTOPUZ (Offline Programming & Simulation for Robots), Verisurf (Metrology/Quality Control) & CIMCO (CNC Communications).