I figure that most of you are unaware of the size the Chinese manufacturers have currently in the engineered stone business. Their internal market is huge, their exports of quartz slabs and other engineered stone are still very little compared to their great potential. Currently there are more than 100 manufacturers in China alone, few use Breton Technology and most use Chinese Keda technology.
As I have mentioned a few times before, Chinese engineered stone is unavoidable to the International markets. However, the main problem with Chinese engineered stone is quality.
You may find great pricing, excellent colours, but I advise you to be very careful, choose wisely your supplier and make sure you personally inspect the quality of your shipments prior to loading.
What may you encounter in quartz engineered stone from China?
- Excess resin: while Breton plants have been using less than 10% of unsaturated polyester resin, Chinese manufacturers tend to use bigger quantities of resin.
- Raw materials: some Chinese manufacturers either use inadequate raw materials, or low quality materials, which have caused some International incidents with some customs
- Inefficient Compaction: the Italian production lines does a better compaction, this means the product is more resistant and has a better performance.
- Claims: you might have problems for your Chinese supplier to accept claims due to poor quality
- Delivery delay: most common in Chinese manufacturers, they either receive pre-payment or by L/C and delivery may take a while, emending L/Cs is common.
- CE Marking Compliance: most of the manufacturers are not complying with these terms yet;
- Health and Safety Issues: while European and other Worldwide manufacturers are looking at these issues seriously due to local and regional legislation, namely they are far from VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) certification of their products and production facilities.
- They didn’t comply with the last shipping date on my L/C, which I had to exchange, actually looking back this happened a few times.
- Due to the fact that I did not trust their quality, I had the slabs come in sawn, I did the final surface finish at my local factory, my quality index for first choice material was far from 100%, I actually had a lot or two which barely did 75%, so I ended up buying 75% first choice and 25% of problematic material;
- My claim was initially treated professionally, until they figured out that it was totally their poor quality that caused the whole mess, after that they didn’t actually give me a direct response on how I would be compensated, so time passed and until this day no compensation was given for those quality claims, nevertheless we did not import anymore from that supplier
- Non-existent CE Markings or even knowledge of the regulatory status
- Laboratory testing, I asked them for their laboratory testing and they sent me a few pdf files in Chinese for me to translate, I ended up doing my own testing locally.
- Price: I was importing a pure white fine grain which is very difficult to make, the price was good on a few thicknesses, although some thicknesses had an awkward pricing … a very non-proportional price, so I just avoided that thickness, although I did have a common and constant question coming from my clients: Why don’t you have 30mm slabs in this colour?