The LT-2D3D is the next evolutionary step forward from the LT-55 XL Laser Templator. For simple jobs like countertops, it functions just like the LT-55 XL does. But where it excels is when you need to template backsplashs, walls, ceilings, shower enclosures or anything else on a vertical surface. With the pull of a pin, the LT-2D3D unlocks from its 2D mode and allows the laser to swivel along its vertical axis and continue measuring 3-Dimentionally. Our software will also export a 3D wire frame (as well as standard 2D DXF/DWG files) based on your needs.
The LT-55 XL Laser Templator was created to fill the void of templating cabinet bases and counter tops. We soon found that there were so many more uses that we had never thought about. We looked at all the other systems on the market and found problems with all of them so we sought out to develop a solution that gave the templators exactly what they needed. By working with industry leaders we were able to pinpoint the specific necessities that are needed to get even the most difficult job done.
As more customers started to need/want to be able to template in 3D, we listened and developed the LT-2D3D. The stand out point that our digital templating system does that no other 3D digital templator does is that we allow the system to lock into a 2D mode. Most of our customers only need to fabricate a flat surface like a countertop so it is very important that they are able to get accurate dimensions. All other 3D templating systems will take the measurements in and flatten them down into a 2D plane. Instead, our laser locks in and templates in 2D. Then on jobs where you need to be able to measure verticals like backsplashes or shower enclosures, you can pill a pin on the laser and the software will create a 3D point cluster for the fabricators that are extremely CAD proficient or template the vertical surface
Whether you fabricate a couple kitchens a week or 25 a week, the LT-2D3D will give you the precision and speed needed to make every job perfect.
The Lenovo ThinkPad comes preloaded with all the software you need to run the LT-55 XL Laser Templator. All you will need to do is plug it in and start templating if you have the original LT-55 XL. If you have the newer wireless version you will need to pair the bluetooth laser to the tablet. This can be done on your own, or our techs can remotely do it for you.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 3679 – 10.1″ – Atom Z2760 – Windows 8 32-bit – 32 Atom Z2760 / 1.8 GHz – Windows 8 32-bit – 32 GB Flash – 2 GB RAM – 10.1″ wide 1366 x 768
We have just released version 220.127.116.11 of the LT-55 XL software. A few of the updates since the previously released version include:
- LT-2D3D updates (new product launch)
- Resizing of the side menu for new tablets
- Adding CM to units of measure for display settings
- Moving Save box to the top of the screen to accommodate Windows 8 on screen keyboard
- Updating Chinese language files
Like always, this is a completely free update to the software. You can update your computers by simply having an internet connection on your tablet/computer when you open the program. If you are in the program already, you can click File / Help / Check for Updates.
We have made a lot of changes to version 2 of our software. We know our customers love how easy our software is to use compared to most CAD programs so we tried to keep it as close to the previous version as possible. We did however do a little rearranging of the menus to make it organized. Below is a full list of the changes we made.
- Added DWG and ORD support
- Added Moraware’s JobTracker integration
- Added an area legend to keep running totals of square foot and linear foot of edge types while templating
- Added Importing/Exporting Settings so companies with multiple lasers can keep settings consistent across all units and installations of LT-55 XL Software
- Added Flip/Scale for easier modifying components of jobs.
- Added Center Line for quickly and easily dropping in a center line for a sink/dishwasher etc off of a certain edge
- Added Split Line
- Added Edit menu and moved Options, Job Info, Pages, Notes, Move Circle, Split Line, Flip/Scale, Add Photo, Erase All on Page, Erase Segment and Units into it
- Added Import/Export menu under the File menu and moved PDF (Print), Shop Sheet, Estimate, Email, JobTracker (Moraware) into it
- Added support for higher resolutions cameras and choosing default settings.
- Added ability to quickly change values for offsets, fillets, drawing custom boxes, lines and circles without having to reenter their respective menus
- Expanded color/layer capability from 13 up to 512 for companies that have fab centers or CNC’s that use more than 13 tools
- Updated manual to a PDF version so customers can print out the new one if they wish to
Monday, we released version 18.104.22.168 of our software. This is a big release we have been working on. However our servers are now getting hit very hard with requests for automatic updates which could cause your computer not to see the update available yet.
Our automatic updates works as follows:
1. You open the program.
2. The program takes the first 5 seconds to look for an internet connection and send a request to our web servers.
3. Once connected, it checks to see if the installed version is the newest version available.
4a. If it is, then continues to open the program.
4b. If it is not, it asks you if you want to update and based on your response takes the proper course.
If a connection to our web servers is not reached within those 5 seconds, The program believes that there is no active internet connection and continues to load the program. With so many people requesting updates, our servers are running a little slow at responding to the requests so as more and more people slip through and get the updates, less computers will be requesting them. I anticipate that by the end of this week we the majority of the early adopters will have version 2 installed on their computers and this lag will subside.
We have changed the TabletPC that we are now using with the LT-55 XL Laser Templators. Starting 12/14/12, all LT-55 XL’s will ship with the Acer w510. This is the newer model that is replacing the Acer w500.
The w510 runs Windows 8 – Intel® Atom™ Dual-Core Processor Z2760 1.5GHz with Intel® Burst technology up to 1.8GHz – 2GB DDR3 SDRAM – 64GB internal storage – 10.1″ HD display (133 x 768) with integrated 5-point multitouch screen – Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator – Acer Invilink™ Nplify™ 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi – front and rear facing webcams – high-definition audio support – Bluetooth® – Micro-HDMI® – Micro-USB – 2-in-1 card reader – 2-cell battery – 1-year limited warranty – Keyboard optional.
|Screen size (diagonal)||10.1 inches|
|Resolution (X)||1366 px|
|Resolution (Y)||768 px|
|Operating system||Windows 8|
|Clock speed||1.5 GHz|
|RAM size||2 GB|
|Internal size||64 GB|
|External storage support||microSD|
|Wi-Fi support||802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, 802.11a|
|Effective pixels||2 megapixels|
|Effective pixels||8 megapixels|
|Data connections||Micro HDMI, USB, Micro USB|
|Quoted use time||9 hr|
After nearly a decade of stone fabrication, Pinnacle Stone & Tileof Fairfield, CA, made a full investment in digital technology for all aspects of stone processing — from templating and layout to cutting and edging. Currently in the middle of a bounce-back year in terms of new construction work, the company is poised for increased production in the future.
“We do tile installation in addition to natural stone fabrication and installation,” explained Scott Cheeseman, President and CEO of Pinnacle Stone & Tile. “The company was started in 1991 by Corey Phillips, who was a tile installer primarily focused on remodels and local commercial projects. He was asked to do granite fabrication in 2001, and he opened a shop just in time to catch the residential boom of Northern California. When he sold the company to a group of investors in 2006, and the company was predominantly doing tract work.”
When the economy slowed, Pinnacle Stone & Tile expanded its sales base, but it also maintained its interests in its core business. “We diversified, but we still have a very strong presence in new home construction,” Cheeseman said. “About 75% of business is new home construction. The other 25% is commercial, remodel and Big Box work.”
In addition to countertops and vanities, the company also does slabwork on vertical surfaces, such as shower surrounds. For this work, the company often utilizes Venetian Marble from MSI, which is an alternative product to cultured marble that is processed using the same methods as natural stone.
A digital operation
Two years ago, Pinnacle Stone & Tile’s equipment was updated to digital technology. “We used to template all jobs with Luan, and we fabricated jobs with three bridge saws, two Park Pro-Edge polishers, and a lot of hand work.”
Today, the company’s process is completely different than only a few years ago. “We template everything with the Laser Products LT-55, and we also have the Leica [3D Disto], which can template in three dimensions, and Laser Products put their software behind it,” Cheeseman said. “We use that for shower surrounds or a full backsplash. We are a big believer in the Laser Products software, and it works well with our process.”
Once the digital template files are sent to the head office, advanced software is used for programming and nesting. “Our programmers work with AlphaCAM and Slabsmith, so we can look at the way the job will be cut on machines and also do layout,” Cheeseman said. “Slabsmith digital layout is also a service we provide for customers who want to see how the vein-matching works. This service gets the buyer more comfortable with stones that have more veining and movement. We did an altar for a church that was 42 x 28 feet in size. It used 16 slabs of Crema Bordeaux that had a lot of movement in it. Our ability to provide the customer with a graphic representation of the job prior to fabrication with Slabsmith got us the deal. Communication has been a primary area of focus to differentiate us from others who sell or install natural stone. Slabsmith has been an integral part of that.”
Once the programming is complete, slabs are typically cut on a Fusion 4000 bridge saw/waterjet from Park Industries. “We also have a Park Sierra for other cutting work, such as miter cuts or other small jobs.”
Meanwhile, edgework is done on a Park Titan CNC stoneworking center, with vacuum pods from Blick Industries, and the company also operates a Park Pro-Edge for straight runs. Pinnacle Stone & Tile uses a combination of tooling for the Park Titan. “We have had an aggressive approach over the last 12 months to determine which tools would work best for us,” Cheeseman said. “[Continental D.I.A.] Terminator is one of the tools we run. We have also been a strong believer in Tyrolit given the excellent service we have received.”
Once the equipment comes off the automated router, it is finished by hand. “Different materials come off the router at different areas of readiness,” he said. “Some material needs more attention than others. We also polish the underside of the edges, which is something the CNC doesn’t do. On average, each job spends two hours being quality checked and finished by hand.”
Material is moved around the shop using two Anver lifters that are part of a Gorbel overhead crane system. “We made a conscious decision to place overhead cranes around the whole facility for flexibility and safety,” Cheeseman said.
The facility has 15,000 square feet of fabrication space and 20,000 square feet total, including the offices and the warehouse for the tile division.
As it made the shift to become a digital shop, Cheeseman said that the company needed to assemble the right workforce to handle the changing technology. “A unique challenge for us was in the switch to digital,” he said. “You need to have people who are comfortable working with stone and working with computers, so we had to find people that were able to excel in both positions.”
Overall, the investment in technology has been a success for Pinnacle Stone & Tile. “Given the transformation of our shop, I have been able to add new work without increasing the headcount, and more importantly, the conversion to a digital shop has been an important differentiator in a market crowded with competition,” Cheeseman said, adding that Pinnacle Stone & Tile currently has 75 workers. “It is an even split between the tile and stone divisions. We do a little more work in tile, but from a revenue perspective, it is right down the middle. Our ability to be the one contractor that installs the countertops and the tile receives a lot of traction.”
In general, the company’s employees can execute multiple tasks. “The goal is that they are all cross trained to some extent, but there are certain skill sets that overlap better than others,” he said. “Templaters and programmers have a shared skill set, and our fabricators and installers are cross trained.”
When hiring new workers, a formal training program is in place “All new employees shadow someone in their division to learn how we do things,” Cheeseman said. “They may have been in the industry for 20 years, but we want them to know the Pinnacle approach before they work on their own. We also have our new workers go through a formal safety program before they set foot in the shop.”
Pinnacle Stone & Tile’s production capacity stands at around 2,500 square feet per week, but actual production varies based on demand and the type of work being produced. “We use Moraware to track schedules for all of our jobs, so it is easy to keep track of everything, “ Cheeseman said. “Our production is around 6,000 to 7,500 square feet per month, which equates to about five kitchens per day.”
Sales and marketing
In a pleasantly refreshing trend, Pinnacle Stone & Tile has noted that new housing starts are on the rise in its region. “We are working 43 different tracts right now, and we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of model homes being started,” Cheeseman said. “There really has been an uptrend in tract work here. That’s one advantage of working near the tech environment.” In general, Pinnacle Stone & Tile works within a 90-minute radius of its facility in Fairfield, which ranges from Southern San Jose to Sacramento.
In terms of pricing, Pinnacle Stone & Tile walks a fine line to keep its production volume up without giving in to the “commoditization” of granite. “We are aggressive when it comes to price, but we have been able to increase prices as it has gotten busier,” Cheeseman said. “We do work for Big Box where we do compete on price to an extent, but we have drawn a line in the sand when it comes to price, and people come back to our side of the line when they see the service we are able to provide. We have to deliver what we say we deliver, and at the end of the day it is about service. We place our focus on working through specialized sales agencies — general contractors, kitchen and bath dealers, etc. Meeting timelines is where we excel.”
Looking to the future, Cheeseman sees improvement in the sector. “The industry — and the economy — has been through a whirlwind, but we have been seeing very positive signs of growth,” he said. “We did 4,000 square feet in March and 7,000 square feet in June. New home construction is dramatically on the rise in Northern California. New home starts are beating everyone’s expectations. Apartment construction and hotels are also coming out of the ground. The year is turning out to be much busier than I expected. Everyone is cautiously optimistic that Northern California has made the turn and is looking towards a brighter future.”
Cheeseman also expressed confidence that the company’s technology investments have it well-equipped for future growth. “Our industry has been hit really hard, so we made an effort to scale effectively in preparation for a return to normal market conditions,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited about going digital. We are able to scale better with this technology in place. Running the machines longer accommodates growth much more efficiently with fewer new hires.”
Source: Stone World Magazine
Beginning with five workers in Saint Sebastian, Quebec, Canada, in 1988, Lucille Paradis and Rock Bernier have developed Summum Granitinto a model stoneworking facility. The company processes material using the latest generation of technology, and maintaining quality production is a key to its overall strategy.
When Summum Granit opened its doors, it had 4,000 square feet of plant and office space. It steadily grew over the years, adding a second shift in 1997 and undergoing several different plant expansions.
Today, the company has grown to an operation with 140 employees, explained Marie-Pierre Bernier of Summum Granit. In Saint Sebastian, it operates a 55,000-square-foot stoneworking facility and a 10,000-square-foot solid surface shop, with 10,000 square feet of office space.
It also has multiple showroom spaces across Canada, with 6,000 square feet in Montreal, 5,000 square feet in Quebec City and a new showroom coming soon in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Advanced stoneworking technology
From templating to sawing and routing, Summum Granit utilizes state-of-the-art digital technology. Projects are templated using LT-55 digital templating systems from Laser Products Industries. According to Pierre Cameron of Summum Granit, the use of this technology has greatly improved the efficiency and speed of the templating process. The company operates four LT-55 digital templaters in the field, and the data is sent to the fabricating facility via e-mail. On average, Cameron said a project is templated in 60 minutes using the laser system.
In terms of cutting material, Summum Granit utilizes CNC sawing equipment. This includes a Flow waterjet and a Sprint CNC bridge saw from CMS/Brembana. The Sprint saw has a built-in vacuum lifter, which allows for automated movement of workpieces.
After being cut to size, material is cut on one of five CNC stoneworking centers, all of which are from CMS/Brembana. They include two of the Speed 3 model, two of the Maxima model and one of the Speed TR model. The CNC stoneworking centers utilize ADI tooling from GranQuartz.
Additional equipment includes a Synthesis straight edge polishing machine from Comandulli and a Simec 625 bridge saw, as well as a range of hand tools.
One of the more recent investments for Summum Granit has been a Thibaut T500 gantry-style surface-polishing machine, which allows the company to offer textured and antiqued finishes. It was also purchased to ensure optimum quality of the company’s polished production. “It allows us to re-polish the surface of slabs if they are not at the quality level we need for our customers,” Cameron said.
A range of production
In its stoneworking facility, Summum Granit works a broad range of granite and marble, in addition to quartz surfacing products such as Cambria, Caesarstone, Zodiaq, Hanstone, etc.
While the company specializes in countertop production — especially intricate work with elements such as bump-outs and drainboards. This includes furniture, fireplace mantles, tub decks, stairs and other cut-to-size decorative elements.
Overall, Summum Granit processes approximately 6,000 square feet of granite per week. Of that total, 60% is templated and installed by the company, and the remaining 40% is contract fabrication work for outside companies that do their own templating and installation.
Approximately 40% of the company’s production is natural stone, with 60% being quartz surfacing and solid surface work.
To maintain the company’s high standards for quality, it trains all workers at its facility — from templaters to fabricators and installers. While some employees are cross trained, they tend to focus on specific activities during the process.
Speaking on challenges, Bernier said that it is critical to meet customer expectations. Communication and customer education are keys to achieving this goal.
Looking toward the future, Summum Granit plans to continue emphasizing quality over growth. “The market will dictate our moves in the next few years,” Bernier said. “Obviously, we want to grow, but it is most important to keep doing what we do the best — quality.”
Source: Stone World Magazine
More than two decades ago, Mike and Karen Langenderfer set out to start their own business. Through the years, the couple’s experiences steered them down various avenues, and they eventually expanded into the countertop business — opening their own shop in June 2001. Today, they operate The Countertop Shopin Holland, OH, a stone fabrication operation which caters to the residential market and utilizes state-of-the-art digital technology.
“Twenty-four years ago, we decided to get into business for ourselves,” said Mike Langenderfer. “After researching numerous businesses that were for sale, we decided to start a business from scratch. In 1988, Karen and I started a sign company called Signs Plus. We operated the business together for the first year and then added a partner. By the end of the second year, we had decided to sell the sign business and purchase a commercial cabinet company. In June of 1990, we took over a cabinet business and ran that business for the next 13 years.”
Langenderfer went on to explain that in 2001, he and his wife were looking to diversify the business. “We decided to get into the residential countertop business,” he said. “We purchased a small residential countertop shop in June of 2001. By 2003, the countertop business was outperforming the cabinet business, so we closed the cabinet company and devoted ourselves to expanding the countertop business.”
With a successful operation in place, the couple made the decision in 2003 to add stone fabrication equipment to their shop and broaden their offerings to the residential market. “The new equipment allowed us to offer several additional products which boosted our sales,” said Langenderfer.
Building a stone shop
Before purchasing equipment for The Countertop Shop’s 10,000-square-foot facility, which includes 2,000 square feet for office and showroom space, the owners did some research. “After looking at several brands and talking to others in the business, our first piece of stone equipment was a Park Yukon bridge saw,” said Langenderfer. “In 2007, we added a Park Destiny CNC [equipped with vacuum pods from Blick Industries] as well as a Gorbel overhead crane system from GranQuartz and a Wood’s Powr-Grip vacuum lifter. In early 2012, we replaced the bridge saw with a Park Fusion bridge saw/waterjet. Each upgrade increased our capacity and allowed us to increase sales. The bridge saw/waterjet alone has increased our production by over 30%.”
Currently, The Countertop Shop produces approximately 60,000 square feet of product per year from a single production shift. It fabricates and installs everything from laminate to granite. It offers many brands of quartz surfacing, including Caesarstone and Silestone by Cosentino.
“Probably one of the most extreme changes has been in the templating area,” explained Langenderfer. “Like everyone else, we started out using wood strips and hot melt glue guns to make stick templates. As we purchased CNC equipment, templating had to keep up. We went from stick templates to a photo template system where with the aid of special targets, tape and a camera. We took photographs of the jobsite and downloaded them to a computer. The computer then processed the photos into a format that the CNC could understand to cut the material to the template produced by the photo system. This system worked fine for a few years, until better speed and accuracy was needed.”
As a result, in 2010, the company switched to a LT-55 Laser Templator from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL. “It is much more accurate and allows our templator to produce an actual drawing at the jobsite so the customer can see what their countertop will look like,” explained Langenderfer. “This is always helpful when explaining to the customer what an overhang or corner will look like.
“After the template is completed and downloaded, all the information about the project is entered into the Moraware [JobTracker] System,” Langenderfer went on to say. “Our equipment, software and personnel allow us to service a large market area. We try to stay within a market area that allows our installers to travel and install in a single day, but our days sometimes get pretty long.”
According to Langenderfer, the Moraware system is a critical component in providing top-notch customer service. “Over the years, we have made many changes in our procedures and the equipment we use,” he said. “A very helpful tool is our scheduling software. We use the Moraware system. It allows everyone in the office to have real time information on everything from the customer’s name to the date the job was completed and everything in between. It even allows us, through the Internet, to log onto jobs from the field to check information or make changes. The nicest feature of the software is being able to give customers password protected access to the system. They can log in and check the exact status of their current orders or go into the history and look up past orders.”
Maintaining a qualified staff
At the present time, the company employs seven production workers, four installers and an office staff of eight, including programmers, salespeople and a templator. “They are all employees of the company so we have better control,” said Langenderfer. “I really don’t believe in subcontracting the work.
“The most important resources that we have invested in over the years are our employees,” Langenderfer went on to say. “We have extremely dedicated employees and a very small percentage of turnover. They are always making suggestions about where we can save money or do a procedure more efficiently. Their suggestions allow us to produce top-quality products and help to secure their future. Our mission statement is something we keep in mind every day. The purpose of The Countertop Shop is to provide all orders to all customers complete and on time with no excuses. To do everything above average from the quality of our finished products to the effort we put forth to meet the customer’s expectations.”
Two of the owners’ three children are integral parts of the business, according to Langenderfer. “Nick runs inside and outside sales and Melissa runs the operations of the company,” he said.
Customer service ranks high in priorities at The Countertop Shop. “Our sales staff concentrates on making the customer feel a part of the team,” said Langenderfer. “We stress to both our sales staff and our customers that we need to be partners in today’s market. By educating customers and helping them with all the decisions that have to be made when ordering a countertop, we try to make them feel as good about their purchase as we can. We try to set all appointments for templating and installation around the customer’s schedule to make their countertop purchase as stress free as possible.”
Marketing its products
The Countertop Shop’s primary market is Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. “We have ventured into Cleveland and Cincinnati on occasion, and shipped to California, but those projects are normally for current customers that also have projects out of our local area,” explained Langenderfer. “The furthest we have traveled has been for a large retirement project in Philadelphia.”
While most of the company’s work is wholesale to kitchen and bath dealers, builders, remodelers and Big Box stores, it also does some light commercial jobs and a small amount of walk-in retail business. “We do 80% in stone or quartz, 15% in solid surfaces and 5% in laminate — with 50% from remodeling, 30% from light commercial and 20% from new construction,” said Langenderfer.
Among some of The Countertop Shop’s recent projects are: the Davis Street Building, Lima Memorial Hospital and St. Rita’s Medical Center — all in Lima, OH; McDonald’s restaurants in over 20 Northwest Ohio locations; and Disneyland (remote projects).
Planning for the future
“We have been asked many times where we are headed in the future,” said Langenderfer. “I think I am a pretty good listener, and I only say that because that’s where we are headed. I try to listen to what the customers, my peers and the market are saying. Then we try to stay on the crest of the wave. We want to be on the leading edge by offering the newest products and innovations. As members of the Toledo Home Builders Association, Toledo Remodelers Association and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, we feel confident we have a good idea about the local market.
“By being members of those associations and organizations, we are able to give back to the community and the industry,” Langenderfer went on to say. “But, the biggest benefit of giving back is what we gain in return. Those groups hold us up and reinforce us. They often boost our morale. By hearing what is going on in the area and discussing the industry with our peers, we are encouraged that we are on the right track. By being able to share our experiences, opinions, advice and suggestions, we are able to make intelligent decisions. We can try to avoid problems and pitfalls that other have already experienced. When you give your time and talent, you get back in many ways.”
According to Landgenderfer, The Countertop Shop’s short-term goal is to get past the down economy. “Our long-term goal for the company is to continue to be a vital part of the local business community by modestly growing the business in offering leading edge products and services to our customers,” he said.
|The Countertop ShopHolland, OH|
|Type of work: primarily residential and some light commercial in granite, quartz surfacing and laminate|
|Technology: a Fusion 4045 bridge saw/waterjet and Destiny CNC stoneworking center — both Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA; a LT-55 Laser Templator from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL; Moraware Jobtracker system, Reno, NV; Gorbel overhead crane system from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA; vacuum lifter from Wood’s Powr-Grip of Laurel, MT|
|Number of Employees: seven production workers, four installers and an office staff of eight, including programmers, sales people and a templator|
|Production rate: 60,000 square feet of product per year|
Source: Stone World Magazine
We have begun shipping Acer’s new w500 tablet with all LT-55 XL’s. Although the Asus T101MT which we have been shipping until now was a very versatile computer, we believe this is a far superior tablet that can offer more speed and ease of use. If you have a previous LT-55 XL with either an Asus or Samsung tablet PC, and would like to upgrade to the Acer w500, you can do so by calling us or visiting out online store and purchasing it here.