Solid Surface Manufacturing Equipment Layout
There are some great opportunities in manufacturing Solid Surface products such as kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, vanity tops, and flat countertop materials. Here is a solid surface factory layout detailing the equipment for producing solid surface materials.
A solid surface factory layout is more simple than a cultured marble factory since your largest volume market will be flat solid surface sheets. If you’re manufacturing the sheets, I strongly recommend manufacturing both the kitchen sinks and some undermount bathroom sink bowls. Solid surface manufacturing requires only a small quantity of molds, but there is some equipment that you will need for manufacturing solid surface that you don’t require for producing cultured marble.
The numbers on the factory layout drawing correspond with the numbers of the following equipment. Just as I did on the cultured marble factory layout, I also have a brief description of each piece of equipment and it purpose. This is just an example of a factory layout, and every factory will be different depending on dimensions, and the products you wish to produce. Whether you are an existing cultured marble manufacturer or wish to start a new cultured marble and/or solid surface factory and already have a building, send your floor plans to have a factory layout specific to your floor plan.
I have noticed a big demand in solid surface kitchen sinks. I think the reason for this is because there are more suppliers for the sheets of solid surface but fewer solid surface kitchen sink manufacturers. This could be a nice niche market to consider along with your cultured marble, onyx, and granite manufacturing. Many cultured marble shops have incorporated solid surface into their factories. This can easily be done by simply adding a few pieces of equipment to your existing cultured marble factory equipment. If you want to see a factory layout with both cultured marble and solid surface, let me know and I can e-mail you one.
Since solid surface doesn’t require gel coat and there is much less set up required in producing solid surface. Basically, all that is required for preparing your solid surface mold is to wax is prior to pouring your solid surface matrix onto it. That is why you don’t see a ‘setup’ area here as you do in the ‘cultured marble’ factory layout. This can simply be done in the pouring area prior to pouring your matrix on the mold.
1. A Vacuum Blender will assist in getting the air out of the matrix before you pour it on to the mold. Since the solid surface will be cut and routed when fabricated for a kitchen counter top, it is important to assure the air is removed and there is no air pockets in the surface.
2. The Automatic Mixing Pot Washer will thoroughly clean your matrix from the pot in between batches. It is especially important that this is cleaned thoroughly when pouring solid colors.
3. After you have mixed the matrix in the blender, you will take the matrix pot / bucket to the pouring area to pour the blended matrix on the molds.
4. By vibrating the molds on the Vibrating Tables, any tiny remaining air bubbles in the matrix will rise to the surface. This will help create a truly ‘dense’ product.
5. The Gantry System can be used for pouring matrix on the molds, in addition to assisting in de-molding the finished products. The photo will give you a better idea how this is used. For pouring the matrix, an alternative is using the Gantry System is the Pot Tamer, which you will also see in the photos.
6. Once the molds are poured, you will move them from the vibrating tables to the mold storage units on the transfer cart, so your vibrating tables can be used for the next set of molds. After your products are cured, it will be used again to move it to the de-mold area, and again to the finishing area.
7. The transfer cart rolls on the ‘v-guide’ rails, between the different areas; pouring / vibrating area, storage racks, de-mold area, and finishing area.
8. As mentioned earlier, once you pour your molds, you will move them to the Mold Storage Racks to cure. These storage racks are available in single or multi-level, and different widths depending on the quantity and size of the molds you are using.
9. This is where you will de-mold your solid surface products and get them ready to send to the finishing area.
10. After de-molding your sheets of solid surface, you will move them on this conveyor to the sander.
11. All of your solid surface sheets will require sanding. There is always a thin layer of resin on the surface of your product. You will want to sand this off to bring out the true color of your solid surface, whether it’s a solid color or granite.
12. You will feed the solid surface sheet through the sander onto the conveyor on the other end.
13. During this sanding process, you will use the Dust Collection System. These are available in different sizes depending on your factory and production capacity. The Dust Collection System will take the dust out of the air, making a safer, and keeping the factory free of dust. This will allow you to ‘collect’ the dust and re-cycle your air rather than requiring air to be replenished from the outside. This is especially efficient in heated or air conditioned factories, since you’re not bringing in any outside air.
14. This staging area will transport your products from the sanding and finishing area to your curing oven. It is beneficial to add an addition section on to what you see in this factory layout drawing, to minimize hand transport.
15. The final stage of your solid surface production is the Curing Oven. Curing your products in a curing oven gives your customer a much harder surface on the finished products. Obviously the harder the surface, the less your products are susceptible to scratches. You will see photos of a curing oven for flat solid surface sheets, and a curing oven for kitchen and bathroom sinks.