Natural stone is one of the oldest buildings, decoration or utensil materials. It has been used for a long time, and natural stone has been used since human origin. Today, natural stone and its products are still synonymous with high-end architecture, high-end decoration, and some rare and precious decorations.
On the other hand, after entering the modern industrial revolution, with the excavation of various technologies, the progress, and improvement of various processing methods, processing machinery and tools, more and more new materials have been developed. Each material has its own personality and advantages, and it also shows its best side to consumers, giving consumers more choices. In the face of too many choices, consumers sometimes get confused. This phenomenon has become more prominent in recent decades.
So, what are the types of these materials? What are the main characteristics of their performance? What kind of inspiration or impact can these materials bring to natural stone? In the face of such market conditions, how does the natural stone industry need to deal with it? It is also worthy of attention and attention from the natural stone industry.
The unique advantages of natural stone
Advantages of Natural Stone
The formation process is long-lived and non-renewable, and every natural stone is very precious;
The use of time is very long, such as decades or even hundreds of years, most of the stone does not deform, does not change color, does not age; under certain special circumstances, such as measurement standard block, calibration table, etc., the stability requirements are very high, only Natural stone can be satisfied;
- Natural Attributes
The use of natural stone can satisfy people’s psychological expectations of returning to nature;
- Low Carbon and Environmental Protection
Natural stone mining and processing are basically carried out under normal temperature conditions, using ordinary cold processing technology, and the processing energy consumption is very low.
Natural stone is involved in people’s lives, it is used in such places as construction, decoration, indoor and outdoor, floor and wall, sheet-shaped, kitchen and bathroom, craft accessories, funeral supplies, garden landscape, environmental art and so on.
The Alternatives Materials
Ceramic Stone Tiles
Whether it is scale, influence, brand or business model, building ceramics is a very large industry! In the development of traditional ceramic products, one of the key points in the design of surface color and texture. Many ceramics will invest heavily in this area and even hired European big-name industrial product designers to lead the work.
An obvious feature of product development is that the main products have been changed to high-quality imitation natural stone varieties, and even the well-known “no marble, use tiles” propaganda language! Then, the product development of almost all branded ceramic companies has turned to this direction, including at least one or more “marble tile” product lines.
A special series of ceramic products—ceramic thin slabs, commonly known as “Sintered Stone”, has been developed by many brand ceramic enterprises in recent years. These products have two important characteristics: “sintering density” and “originating from stone” “.
The two basic characteristics of this type of product: one is a large size, the longest is more than 3200* and the widest is more than 1600mm, the thickness is thin, which can reach 12mm/6mm/3mm respectively; the second is that the surface color of the board is mainly the best-selling varieties of natural stone. Such as a variety of black, white, gray, wood, beige series.
It has high density, no deformation, no discoloration, high-temperature resistance, anti-wear, zero water absorption, pure natural environmental protection, antibacterial and antibacterial, health and safety, anti-graffiti, no need to care, rich colors, and can be customized. Typical imported brands for such products are Techsize in Spain, Laminam in Italy, Belotti, etc.
Nano White Stone
Nano White Stone is a kind of product characteristic between ceramic, glass, artificial stone and natural stone, but different from any one of them. It is a special product branch with a relatively small mass – hard texture, the same as the surface, the crystal structure is dense. The density is extremely high (solid non-porous), high-temperature resistance, can be cut, polished, processed into a variety of furniture countertops, kitchen countertops, and handicrafts.
It has the same processing, installation and intrinsic properties as natural stone; it is suitable for all places where natural stone can be used; it has the advantages that natural stone does not have: zero water absorption, no pollution; high gloss; high density, high strength, never Pan-alkali; green, no radiation damage, etc. More representative brands such as Italy Stoneglass.
The types of artificial stone are Terrazzo Stone, Engineered Marble and Quartz Stone, and can be classified into organic or inorganic depending on the adhesive used. It has developed rapidly in the last 20-30 years, especially for the granite floor of indoor commercial space, wall decoration, and quartz stone for kitchen and restaurant countertops. According to relevant statistics, the total capacity of the Chinese market has quickly exceeded 200 million square meters per year, and the proportion of total usage to the natural stone has been reduced by 20% from the original less than 10%.
The performance of quartz stone products: scratching, pollution resistance, fire resistance, high-temperature resistance, acid and alkali resistance, impact resistance, non-toxic and non-radiative, food grade, anti-aging characteristics are sufficient to illustrate the advantages of such products. The current Engineered Marble has gray series, wood series, jade series, quartz stone “Statuario, Calacatta” and other white series, are all the best-selling varieties in artificial stone.
A subdivision of the natural stone industry itself. Many people know that developed countries in Europe originally developed stone composite panels to meet certain special places, such as aircraft cabins, cruise ships, luxury cars, elevator cars, etc., both want the texture of the stone and the weight is very light. Requirements, typical suppliers such as the famous German brand Grama Blend.
Then more of this series of products has been derived – mainly made of natural stone slate that is particularly suitable for such products. The core technology of these products is still led by Germany. The main feature is that it can be bent. , natural, flexible, ultra-thin, common brands include Nalexible Stone/ R&D/ Newdeco, etc.
The composite panels independently developed by the Chinese market are integrated around materials, cost, home decoration, brand and certain special functions such as indoor floor heating and exterior wall insulation. European composite panels pay attention to the “light, thin, strong, big” more emphasis on product branding, standardization and marketing channels. The ultra-thin board in the composite board, in recent years, another high-end process based on watches, mobile phones, lighting accessories The product line, “Boseaw—Thinstone Culture Gifts” is its representative.
All kinds of stone substitute products are an imitation of natural stone without exception, indicating that the advantages of natural stone are recognized by many industries, so they are imitated.
The technological innovations made by these alternative products during the development process are worth learning from the natural stone industry. Of course, the emergence of these alternative products will certainly compete with the original natural stone market and bring pressure to the natural stone industry.
Natural stone itself has many unique advantages, such as its natural attributes; its scarcity and non-renewability, we can continue its preciousness; easy processing and a wide range of applications, we can give full play to human creativity, as well as cultural and artistic talents, breakthrough thinking, and the development of a variety of pioneering new products with modern means.