Patented technology and plants for manufacturing the BRETONSTONE® BLOCKS
Large-sized blocks using calcareous aggregates bonded with polyester resin.
WHAT BRETON HAS ALREADY MADE A REALITY IS STILL JUST SCIENCE-FICTION TO OUR COMPETITION
Today’s BRETONSTONE® block plants are the result of a ceaseless technological evolution which began back in 1963. Thanks to the modern and sophisticated techniques for preparing and treating mixes and for moulding blocks, called “Breton Comprimex Process”, and to the innovative and ecofriendly technologies for block composition and hardening, called “Catrix Tech” and “Ecodrolic Tech”, BRETONSTONE® blocks are light-years ahead of any other product manufactured in blocks in non-Breton plants. In fact, BRETONSTONE® blocks feature the following exclusive advantages:
• the final product guarantees an optimum “indoor life quality” since it does not produce any hazardous substance and can be installed in any location
• the manufacturing process is “eco-friendly” and ensures respect for the strictest health and environmental regulations in all areas, even down to the muddy runoff from production
• the finished product is always ultra-compact, free from microporosities, homogeneous and isotropic in its outstanding physical-mechanical characteristics
• the finished product can assume the aesthetic appearance of the most precious natural marbles: from brecciated to veined marbles, from Botticino to pure white marble
• the finished product is nonflammable and in case of fire, will not produce toxic fumes
• the finished product has a low electrical resistivity which inhibits the accumulation of electrostatic charges*
• the final product has a high resistance to UV rays and limited thermal expansion
CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE AND BRETONSTONE® MARBLE BLOCKS
Throughout the centuries, marble has globally dominated the world of architecture and sculpture due to its quality, value, and appeal, and it will surely continue to hold a position of prestige in the future. However, through the years, it has become more and more evident that there are major limitations both to the industrial utilization of natural marble and to its ability to express the innovative aesthetic and functional ideas of the architect. For example, the massive exploitation of many stone quarries has nearly caused the total depletion of several prestigious marbles, leading to justified stricter environmental protection legislation and enforcement. Moreover, marble is everincreasingly fissured and often cannot be used unless impregnated with resins through a complicated reinforcement process. It is also true that natural marble, by nature, varies greatly in color and hue, making it very difficult to find large quantities that are aesthetically the same and perfectly uniform in appearance as required by modern architecture. Therefore, it has become necessary to offer new industrial solutions and new technical and aesthetic options in building materials.
Today’s market needs innovative “stone” materials which can be designed and produced according to the specifications of the end user, aesthetically pleasing in appearance, durable over time, environmentally friendly and adaptable to modern construction and design techniques. Today’s demand is for BRETONSTONE® compound marble: an industrial product with exceptional technical and functional features, which can be designed in a great variety of aesthetic styles. It is unique in that it gives a modern look to the timeless appeal, prestige, warmth and value of the marble man has used throughout history to build some of its most ancient and beautiful buildings.
BRETONSTONE® BLOCKS CLASSIC, YET ORIGINAL IN APPEARANCE, VERSATILE IN DESIGN
The imagination of the designer is the only limitation to the possibilities offered by BRETONSTONE® blocks. The exclusive and sophisticated technology called “Breton Comprimex Process” allows for the creation of innovative and exquisite looks, whether monochromatic or multi-colored, and even with “classic” effects resembling the most beautifullyveined natural marbles, while maintaining outstanding physical–mechanical properties (ultra-compact and free of microporosities). Calcareous stone aggregates are used (like marble, dolomite, or colored stones) during the manufacturing process of these compound blocks, to which it is possible to add small amounts of any original and extravagant stone-like material (mother of pearl, colored glass, pieces of mirror, etc.) to fit any décor and to give the finished product a rare beauty and uniqueness. BRETONSTONE® blocks are perfect for both large and small projects, public or private, residential or commercial. They can be used for interior flooring and stairs, raised floors, furnishings, sinks, and for interior and exterior wall cladding.
BRETONSTONE® BLOCKS HIGH-PERFORMANCE, MULTIPLE SURFACE FINISHES
The high content of stone aggregate in the mix and the absence of porosity not only gives BRETONSTONE® marble blocks their natural beauty but makes them extremely versatile and highperformance in all their applications. A variety of surface finishes are available to match one’s creativeimagination, for a finished product that can be either polished, honed or matte, sandblasted, bush hammered, brushed for an “antique” effect, or many other personalized solutions, to produce a creative appearance not naturally occurring in nature.
BRETONSTONE® THE MOST FAMOUS AND WIDELY-USED ENGENEERED STONE IN THE WORLD
BRETONSTONE® plants throughout the world are generating an estimated annual production rate of compound stone of several million square meters, demonstrating the commercial success of this versatile product, ideal for modern building.
BRETONSTONE® ENVIRONMENTALLYFRIENDLY AND FAMILY-SAFE
Thanks to the innovative, ecofriendly technologies, “Catrix Tech” and “Ecodrolic Tech” for the formulation and hardening of the blocks, the manufacturing process of BRETONSTONE® blocks guarantees that all non-hazardous residual materials from production are easily disposed of, and that the final product releases no harmful substances. It is therefore suitable for every type of application in any location. BRETONSTONE® marble contains a very high percentage by weight of natural stone which comes from crushed residual materials from the quarries, hence, the bonding agent is limited to just a small percentage. Based on project requirements and intended application, BRETONSTONE® blocks can be manufactured using different types of binders:
• A traditional polyester resin can be used. Modern BRETONSTONE® block plants, due to “Catrix Tech” technology, guarantee a lower content of styrene and BTEX compounds in the final product than is required by even the strictest regulations. This eliminates the risk of any volatile chemical compound being released into the environment and makes the disposal of the nonhazardous residual materials from production easier and economical.
• An innovative new binder, called Ecodrolic®, can also be used. This product, using a technology called “Ecodrolic Tech”, is dispersed in solvent-free water with a minimum content of organic compounds, and is utilized in accordance with the strictest health and environmental regulations as they apply to both the finished product and its residual processing materials.
TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF SLABS FROM BRETONSTONE® BLOCK
By varying the quality and composition of the stone aggregates it is composed of, the type of bonding agents and additives utilized, and the method of surface finish, it is possible to enhance specific technical characteristics of the finished product. In example, the following tables relate these physical-mechanical specifications.
EXTERIOR CLADDING WITH BRETONSTONE® BLOCKS
BRETONSTONE® blocks are an excellent material to use even for exterior cladding. They can be applied as ventilated facades in large panels of limited thickness. This provides great advantages such as: an economical mounting structure and ease of transport and handling on the jobsite. Thus, these applications still demostrate all the beauty and value of natural stone along with superior physical-mechanical qualities. Since the blocks are manufactured with natural calcareous aggregates, like for the natural marble a non-glossy surface finish and subtle color tones (beige, white, etc...) are suggested for use as exterior cladding. This will avoid the normal wear and deterioration of the finish on colored and polished marble applied on a building’s exterior. Some of the features that distinquish BRETONSTONE® blocks (with Ecodrolic® binder) in exterior applications are a higher resistance to UV rays, the nonflammable nature of the binder, and the limited thermal expansion.
BRETONSTONE® BLOCKS FOR RAISED FLOORING
One of the numerous and particularly noteworthy applications of BRETONSTONE® blocks is raised flooring. Its high resistance to buckling makes this an optimal material for raised flooring. It is practical, easy to install and maintain, and has excellent technical characteristics. In fact, it consists of a single-layer, self-supporting panel with a high resistance to buckling. It is virtually unaffected by humidity, dampness and ambient temperature changes and possesses a noise-dampening capacity. Produced in slabs measuring 60x60 cm with a 25 mm thickness, it weighs approximately 23 kg and can resist concentrated loads up to over 400 daN (class 1, standard UNI 10466). When manufactured with Ecodrolic® binder, this product is non-flammable in case of fire, does not release hazardous emissions and has a low electrical resistance which avoids the build-up of static electricity.
BRETONSTONE® BLOCK PLANTS RAW MATERIALS
The raw materials utilized to manufacture BRETONSTONE® blocks are Aggregates, Mineral Fillers, Bonding Agents, Additives and Coloring Agents, all easily available in the market.
Stone materials are mixed with a bonding paste to create a mixture that needs to be compacted. The aggregates used in the production of the blocks are calcareous stone in nature, such as marble, dolomite, colored stones, etc. Stone-like materials such as glass, shells, mirrors, etc, can also be added to create desired unique effects. The aggregates used can be either in sand form or granular and/or stones of various size. The nature, size and granular scale of the aggregates are chosen according to the appearance and physical- mechanical properties that are desired of the final product. Aggregates can be purchased directly from companies that produce them, dry and already divided into the various granular dimensions required, or, a suitable system for the crushing and screening of materials can be installed next to the BRETONSTONE® production plant.
Mineral fillers are mixed with the bonding agent to form the “bonding paste”. These fillers consist of various types finely pulverised of calcareous stone materials.
BONDING AGENTS AND ADDITIVES
The bonding agents used are either polyester resin or the Ecodrolic® binder previously described (solvent-free bonding mix dispersed in water), according to the intended end use of the final BRETONSTONE® marble product. Any additives are included in the mix in small percentages to obtain specific aesthetic results.
The mixes can be colored by the addition of metal oxide pigments. These coloring agents play an important role in the process, because, combined with the natural color and size of the aggregates, and thanks to special mixing, compacting and treating equipment, they offer unlimited choices in the color and final appearance of BRETONSTONE® products.
BRETONSTONE® BLOCK PLANTS THE PRODUCTION CAPABILITY OF BRETONSTONE® BLOCK PLANTS
BRETONSTONE® blocks measure from 1.8 up to 4.8 cubic meters. The production rate of a BRETONSTONE® block plant, depending on the model and layout, varies from 1,000 up to 8,000 square meters of finished product per working day. Special Breton vertical saws with ultrathin blades are used to cut the blocks into slabs, resulting in minimal waste and excellent evenness of the slabs. The cut slabs have a final thickness which can vary from 7 to 30 mm, or even greater if required (thickness depends on the particle size of the aggregates used in the mix and on the intended use of the finished product). The height of the slabs can vary between 125 and 165 cm, and the length from 306 to 334 cm. The slabs can be sold as they are or transformed into finished products of the size desired. Final calibrating and polishing of the slabs is accomplished by Breton’s famous Levibreton line of machines, recognized for their superior production and quality levels. After the calibrating and polishing lines come other specialized machines as required for cutting and chamfering tiles, which are then bundled and wrapped and stacked on pallets by automatic equipment.
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- WEB LINKS TO THE MAIN BRETON COMPOUND STONE MANUFACTURERS