Worktop company Planet Granite near Arley, Coventry, is looking forward to expanding into contract carving, architectural stonework, fireplaces and bespoke monuments with the four robots it has bought that were formerly used by Yorkshire company J Rotherham, which went into Administration in February last year.
Planet Granite owner Steve Murphy says he has to build a new workshop to house the robots and he and his team will need training from Italians T&D, which supplied the equipment to Rotherham. “If I get the robots running by Christmas I’ll be happy,” says Steve.
He says he bought the robotics, which includes all the software and diamond tooling that goes along with it, because he found the opportunity too tempting to resist. He says he has acquired the equipment, which would cost millions of pounds to buy new, in order to enable him to expand his business into new parts of the market.
The package that arrived in January included the diamond tooling needed for just about every stone processing job the robots are capable of.
Steve's son has catalogued all the tools. Steve says to buy them new would cost about £700,000 on its own. “You would never, ever be able to amass that amount of tooling,” he told NSS.
A safe without a key was included, which Steve had to cut his way into to recover a digital scanner. And there were many linear metres of powered conveyors that were brand new and had never been installed at Rotherham’s. There is more than Steve needs and he expects to sell them on.
There were also small trains on tracks, which Planet Granite plans to use to bring stock into the factory because they will be more efficient than the forklifts currently used.
Steve expects Planet Granite sales in 2020 to run out at about £100,000 down on 2019, but says a strong pick-up in the fourth quarter provided some compensation for the loss of business during the first Covid-19 lockdown in the spring. He is optimistic for 2021 and the expansion the robots can bring after that.