Marble, From Quarry to Project - Temmer


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My name is Jade, and I’ll be presenting this CPD to you today. I shall just start the slideshow now. 


Aims and Objectives

So, this CPD is to help you understand the journey that marble takes, starting from the quarries, to then the process at the factory, to then the finished project. I'll be explaining the methods and processes involved, from extraction from the quarries to block cutting, and finishing at the factory, to then packing and logistics, so you can better understand and learn what is required to fulfil your projects.


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Marble is a metamorphic rock that is composed of recrystallised carbonate materials. Due to its natural formation there are many different colours and styles and it's particularly popular, because it can take a very high polish or sheen, which makes it a good choice for commercial hotels, shopping centres, as well as domestic use as flooring, cladding, reception desks, vanity tops etc. It is sourced in many countries around the world, as it's one of the oldest natural building materials known to man. Its life cycle for a commercial project is, if specified and selected correctly, should be assumed to be a minimum of 20 years, before it will need cleaning and polishing and then as long as the building is standing, there are many historical examples of marble staying as fresh as its installation day for hundreds of years.


The other advantage of marble, that we will talk more about, is that it can be used to be applied to any project, and any situation. There really aren't any unsuitable applications. There are unsuitable finishes of marble, for example you wouldn’t put polished marble around a swimming pool, or use polished marble on a patio in a country with high amounts of rainfall, but the same stone can be used with a different finish such as bush hammering or comb chiselling and then be suitable for those areas.


Temmer Overview

Temmer owns and operates full large quarries of the factory in Turkey and has partners in the UK, America, China, India and Russia. Temmer supplies material to other marble suppliers around the world for projects in different countries, in block and cut to size formats. And also processes imported block materials from other quarries.



Here are some photos of our quarries at Temmer, these quarries are based in Turkey and there are four main ones that we actually own, and we extract material from. They are called the Turkish Carrara, Jaguar Afrodit, Affumicato and the Rosalia quarries.

Here we have some photos and images from Temmers factory. It is one of the largest of its kind in the world, it can cope with large volumes monthly and exports to over 40 countries around the world. And Temmers supply marble for projects in many many different ways and you can see here from some of the examples that the marble is being used in hospitality, residential, commercial, education and public sector spaces. 


The Journey from Quarry to Project - The Process

This summarises the steps marble goes through before it ends up at the project site, and it gives you an idea of the work that goes into the manufacturing of the finished article. I will now break down each step and give you more information, so that you are able to understand the whole process.


First of all, we're going to play a film which highlights the block extraction and block moving process pre to going to the factory. This gives you an understanding of the process from the quarry to the processing factory. The blocks are then extracted, after they are extracted, they are transported to the factory by lorries as you can see on the picture on the right hand side. 


Blocks can be around 20 to 25 tonnes each so have to be transported separately or in pairs as they can be very heavy to handle. And then when the blocks arrive at the factory the first thing that happens is that they are allocated, measured, scrutinised for any possible defects that may require repairs. Then they are numbered on each side, photographed on each side, and images are stored on our database. This allows us and colleagues in other locations and countries to know what's available in the factory, and use these livestock images as a reference when speaking to architects and contractors.


Each face of each block has to be photographed, so that we know what the finished slab will look like, so that each piece is unique as each piece is unique. This can be important to knowing what the customer will receive before it's cut.


Quite often the customer wants a specific grain or feature, and this is a good point to discuss these requirements. And then measuring the length, width and height of each block allows us to determine how many slabs we can get from each block, and then allows us to understand what the finished slab dimensions will be.


Some finished slabs can be as big as 3000mm to 2100mm others can be much much much smaller of course. Once we established the information for each block, and done all the necessary checks, any blocks that have issues such as natural faults will be moved to a separate section to be repaired.


This section is called the marble hospital, where holes are drilled into the blocks and injected with resin. After that process they are then shrink wrapped and they put into these large circular chambers that suck all the moisture out from them.


Then they shrink wrap the block, which then hardens the resin that has been injected into the holes. A block can be 20 plus tons and if it has a problem instead of wasting it because it has a crack, or has the risk of cracking on cutting slabs, repairing it is the best option. This can be done very effectively with no obvious signs that it has ever had a fault.


After that process the blocks are then grouped and put into queues ready to be processed further. Once it's decided which direction it is going to be cut, the block will go into the cutting section of the factory. Here you have two examples of different cutting styles and what results they will bring out. As the blocks are so heavy, of course they're moved from area to area on these big wheeled tracks, and guided by men on the side.


Blocks that don't have any problems and they are a regular cuboid or cuboid shape will first go to the gang saws, where large machines with around 20 blades and the assistance of water will cut the block into 20MM thick slabs. If the block is a lot smaller or an irregular shape it will then be cut into cubes or cuboid shape using a circular saw. Wire cutters are also used to help cut blocks into a shape that is more specific. Sometimes the slabs ordered need to be a specific size for example 2000 by 400 by 100MM for a column. So, in these instances the wire cutters will cut a block into a long cuboid for those types of slabs.


Having been cut into 20 to 25 slabs at this stage, the slabs are still in their raw format and the true colour and beauty of the marble cannot be seen. So, then they are checked for any problems, damage or cracks and are transported to the finishing section of the factory. To get the slabs to show their true beauty like this one or the next one, like these two examples, they need to go through the finishing process. So, from Raw to finish there is another process.


In this finishing section, the slabs will be brought in and each slab will be individually fed through a tile line machine that will polish the surface of the slab with water and a different grade polishing head, depending on what finish you want. When they come out the other side, they need to be stored upright and dried before they go through the next check. At this stage, some of the slabs go through a mesh back process with epoxy resin which then strengthens the back of the slab making sure the strong enough to take further cutting it will go through when it reaches the stone contractor.


When dry enough each lab gets scrutinised in detail to make sure they have been polished evenly and that the quality is at the highest level all over the surface and it's equally polished in the same way all over. Then the slabs are all measured, numbered and photographed and archived in the database as available product, so they can be proposed for projects and the right colour, size and finish can be chosen for the architects or customer.


Then bundles of slabs, of about 10-12 slabs, are created to make them manageable and easier to move around. Further to this, each bundle is stored, each bundle is then numbered with all the information about it archived on the database as well.


Quality Control and Testing

Throughout the process test certificates are also created and these are very important as the responsibility of choosing and specifying the right stone can come back to you as the architects. Test results are categorised by variety of stone and are different for each type of stone that comes out of each quarry, as it’s a natural material you can’t kind of say it will be the same all throughout for every type of stone.


All manufacturers and suppliers now offer CE relevant test data which includes technical information about frost resistance, slip resistance, breaking strength, porosity, density and flexural strength.


It really is important that you check these tests when your specifying a particular stone, particular type of marble because as I said earlier on it will come back to you if there’s a problem, and you have to make sure you're using the right stone in the right type of project for example, if your using some stone for commercial environment like a hotel lobby or shopping centre you as the architects need to be concerned about its slip resistance and strength or if you're specifying marble for the use of external cladding depending on which country that is going to be used in you need to be concerned about the test results on its porosity, its frost resistance, its density, it's flexural strength, and it's breaking strength to make sure that no problems occur after it's been specified and put in place.


About five years ago there was an example of a large project on which a large quantity of limestone was ordered. The stone contractors who won the project, they had an issue with supplying the exact stone the architect had specified. So, the manufacturers then decided to find a similar stone and chose one that was similar in looks but not the same in technical characteristics. They installed millions of pounds of stone but due to its technical differences, it did not live up to the environment and failed. As a result, it had to be placed at really huge amounts of cost, loss of time, so you do need to be careful.


So now I'm going to show you a video of the process in the factory which will give you a visual summary of what we've been talking about.


Create the different finishes

On this slide now here, we can see the different heads that we use to create the different finishes that we've been talking about.


Here is an example. Well, here are some photographs of different finishes, if you would like us to send you a pack of samples of the different finishes, we can do that. It's quite nice to actually feel different...different finishes and then imagine you know which ones would understand in detail which ones work best for which type of projects.


The most common and popular finishes are the polished ones, the glossy or shiny ones and honed matte finishes.  With a polished finish, you might want to use that on a wall and a honed finish is good for the floor. Bush hammered, bush hammered and patinated, flamed, flamed and patinated, sandblasted, sandblasted and patinated are all very good for steps or for external patio areas. Patinated is very good for adding a different texture to wall features also. Antiqued is good for creating a distressed worn look, and leathered creates an individual look, a bit like couches ones as well. So sometimes these finishes are good for decorative purposes, and sometimes for practical purposes.


You can achieve different edge finishes as well by using different pieces glued together and finish can look like it's thicker that’s going round edges or seem or even seamless depending on the material application how when these pieces stuck together most of the time they look totally seamless and it looks like they have just one big block of marble which makes the finish very effective.


Packaging Process

So, when it comes to packaging there are different things whether you're transporting tiles cut to size or big slabs. For tiles cut to size we create these box crates and then tiles are put into bundles that are shipped shrink wrapped and put into the crates tightly using polystyrene to protect the edges and the surfaces, then they're all banded together.


In each crate is shrink wrapped and the top is put onto each crate which makes it more manageable to move around and place into a container. Each one of these crates will hold up to about 20 to 25 square metres cover size tiles and packed into a container the container will hold approximately 400 and 600 square metres of stone tiles. When it comes to the big slabs there transported within bespoke bundle packaging depending on their size on transporting slab bundles you can only send so many in one go as their weight could be too much. You can fit approximately 400 square meters worth of slabs in a container which is a bit less than the cut to size ones. When it comes to transport stones mostly transported by sea, the containers are taken to a port by lorry and then shipped to the country of the project. Shipping is actually the most economic way of transport.


Here you can see the different thicknesses within the bundles of slabs, large slabs depending on how thick they are, that will determine the amount of slabs you can put in these large bundles.


And here’s an example of the bespoke package in a container for the big large slabs or different types of bespoke packaging for the interior of the container.


Examples of Marble being used

So, when it comes to examples I'd like to show some different examples of marble being used in different projects. This one is a great example of marble being used in a large hotel project where different stone has been used to create a contrasting effect on walls, floors, vanity units, shower and bath surrounds. This slide here gives a great example of large slabs of marble being used to create a floor design, that looks like one large whole piece. The application of a seamless finish when laying the slabs has made the flow like it's one whole block which is very effective, especially in the reception area.


With regards to this residential project the type of marble that’s being used is applied to different parts of the house which includes the bathroom and the kitchen, which pulls together the scheme and the whole of the design for the interior. And this honed matte marble has been used on the exterior of this residential project in a hot climate.



Here we have different types of marble that have been used for flooring, wall cladding, vanity units and furniture which creates a nice flow throughout the house. Another great example of marble being used for multiple purposes and creating different effects within the same residential project.



When it comes to sustainability of marble and how sustainable it is, well marble is one of the oldest materials known to man and there are many buildings that are thousands of years old and still erect so it is one of the most long lasting and sustainable materials. It's extracted under license and every quarry has to have a license to extract marble. The local government authority that the quarry is under has to agree to the licencing of the quarry before any extraction can happen, making sure the extraction will be useful and not harmful to the environment and towns nearby.


Natural stone lasts forever so you know, durability, endurance and engineering flexibility of using natural stone that allowed so many ancient landmarks to stand the test of time for example the great pyramids of Egypt, Machu Picchu and the Mayan city of Tikal are just a handful of examples not to mention, lots and lots of Greek and Roman temples that are still erect. There are no synthetics used in manufacturing natural stone, it comes out of the earth and it's used in its unadulterated form which makes it very eco-friendly and when you recycle natural stone it’s still stone.


It can be recycled many more times than plastic or other materials and unlike plastics or other harmful materials, stone doesn’t hurt the earth when it returns to it. Additionally, natural stone is being salvaged from buildings hundreds or thousands of years old and reused in modern buildings. And with its structural integrity intact. Then there’s the subject of maintenance. I mean the only real maintenance natural stone may need from time to time is a power washing to clean it of the environmental pollution it might have attracted. However, in these cases less porous stone veneers can even make this form of natural stone maintenance unnecessary for long periods of time.


Wood, metal and cement all experience some expansion or contraction throughout seasonal temperature changes so these changes even have the potential to damage or warp the materials which requires them to undergo extra chemical treatment to be used to keep them from warping. Whereas natural stone can remain consistent with the most extreme temperature changes.


Alongside all of that the stone industry uses electricity water and transport for its manufacturing but very minimally and there is nearly no wastage as any extra pieces and small leftovers that are used in landscaping, ornaments or even building motorways. In many cases the electricity and water that's used is from recycled sources which again is a positive impact and when marble is used on a building its life span is at least 100 years and then the stone can also be taken out and used again.


When a quarry has reached its capacity and can no longer be used, it can become a natural wildlife habitat and many many places around the world have been utilising this effect. The hole that has been created then fills up with rainwater which then becomes the naturally formed habitat for plants and a huge variety of animals.


And then some stone companies will also take the responsibility of planting trees to offset the imbalance they might have created in the habitat they have extracted from. So, all in all marble, whilst it has its wastage and usage of electricity water and transportation, it is actually one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly building materials.


That brings us to the end of our CPD. Please do get in touch with us if you have any questions or you would like to find out more or you would like a pack of samples.


Thank you for listening.

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