Anyone in the surfacing industry, unless they've been living in a cave, knows that engineered stone products are becoming very popular and are moving into many solid surface and stone shops.
Numerous companies have jumped on the e-stone bandwagon, and not surprisingly, several of them are also solid surface producers.
One such company is Hanwha L&C Corp., based in Korea. Well known amongst solid surface fabricators for their Hanex 100 percent acrylic solid surface product, which was developed in 1995 and introduced to the United States in 1999, Hanwha now offers HanStone Fine Quartz Surfaces.
So how does a company like Hanwha get into the engineered stone marketplace?
A Lot of Hard Work
Introducing a new quartz surfaces product to the U.S. market is no small undertaking, requiring a commitment of millions of dollars. But the company, which was established in 1952, has been developing and marketing new products all over the world for decades and is currently ranked in the Top 5 conglomerates in Korea with $20 billion in annual sales.
A pioneer in creating PVC culture in Korea, Hanwha L & C Corp. has over 30 years' experience in the high polymer and compound processing business sector.
"We … produce everything from everyday commodities to industrial materials,"notes Kevin Park, vice president of sales and marketing at Hanwha Surfaces."HanStone represents the best of our accumulated experience in surface materials and the chemical field, all the technology we've gained from developing our other products."
Product Synergies and
When Hanwha decided that quartz surfaces would be the next new product in its continuing expansion, it realized that a valuable synergistic effect could be obtained thanks to its existing surfacing business division, Hanex."Our experience with Hanex was particularly helpful in developing a quartz surface product,"explains Park. The developers also took advantage of the unique strong points in their manufacturing process thanks to its long-term experience with flooring, window and PVC products. Park cites the accumulated R&D database regarding color trends for products as another advantage when developing HanStone.
Overall, the central R&D division of parent company Hanwha group tests and studies many different items consumers use in daily life, from building materials to auto parts. The company also performs continuous research into the processing and development of plastic materials, particularly in functional high polymer and compound technology. All this knowledge has helped the company differentiate its quartz product.
While researching the overseas market, Hanwha noticed the burgeoning U.S. market for quartz surfaces was growing at a brisk pace, as consumers searched for a low-maintenance alternative to granite. Additionally, quartz surfacing was garnering interest in European countries including Italy, the Mecca of the stone industry. This accelerated the company's plans to develop HanStone — but the emphasis always remained on design and quality, no matter how long it took.