14.12.10

Chinese quartz

Chinese quartz plants are starting to bloom and we start seeing Chinese quartz in the market, Why is Chinese quartz appearing cheaper? Does Chinese quartz have the same quality as other International brands? I figure a lot of readers of my blog have this question in mind, and today I have made this post specifically to discuss this current market issue.
I have some experience in production of these products and have had the opportunity to visit several facilities, in several countries, including China.
What I have seen in China was a world where you find 2 parts in the same whole, one with some high tech, and the other old fashion, non appropriate working methods. In truth Chinese quartz comes out cheaper, due to  some important factors:
  • Breton charges too much money for know-how: a whole slab plant can cost as much 5-10€/sqm, the Chinese copy of Breton technology is called KEDA ... and it's costs less than 30% compared to Breton
  • Most Chinese plants use Chinese machinery (polishing, calibrating, cutting, bevelling and other equipment), which is greatly cheaper than Breton technology, who diplomatically forces their Breton plants to buy Breton equipment
  • Chinese plants use cheap local workforce in the factories
  • The Chinese local economy is a very strange thing to foreigners, they worship value not price.

Regarding the quality of the product, I have no doubt that Chinese quartz producers have lower quality standards. I've personally seen, block production plants with high quality production, but with a deficient industrial infra-structure. So basically some problems that can arise in quartz material are as follows:
  • dark smudge or spots on light materials
  • bad polish: in dark colours it may cause shade difference on the same slab
  • pin holes or porous surface: caused by vacuum and mixing problems, this is very difficult to see due to the superficial shine of the material, but if you drop some dark ink in the slab and clean it ... you'll see the black spots on the surface which are in reality small pin holes on the quartz slabs surface
  • bad mixture and bad compaction: the end of the slab may appear damaged or with missing filling
  • thickness problems due to non calibration: measure the slabs thickness in several points
  • tainted surface: some producers taint the surface to solve some difficult polishing problems
  • surface filling: some producers use mastic filling lines to hide the porous surface of the product, basically they apply a superficial coating of resin. Although the edges will not be corrected, you'll always face that problem with working the slab.
  • Chinese quartz has more resin in it's composition which helps solve most of the production problems, although creates a product which physically has a different behaviour than the ones made with Italian Technology
These are signs of bad production, and some mechanical malfunctions. I'm not saying it can't appear in European facilities, I just think that European facilities are more responsive in dealing with these problems, and most of them are either avoided or detected before loading in to the container.

3 comments:

Gabrielle said...

thank you for the great article. So. would you say that there is NO Quartz company at the moment that can be trusted in China? I'm heading over to China in a couple of months and wanted your oppinion over which should be worth looking at. thanks.

Tomson said...

Answer to Gabrielle. Thanks for your comment. Not to long ago I asked a friend the same question, and I'll share his answer with you. If you want to get a distribution going, be very careful, it's much easier if you have people in China working for you controling the shipments and the quality. Chinese quartz is cheaper, but still you have to buy material capable of being used to be worth while. I also figure that sooner or later Chinese quartz producers will have to comply with International rulings, like CE Markings in Europe and others all over the world. Good luck with your venture.

tony wu said...

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