Intermac machines have made all the difference to the success of Dellermay Stone and Tiling.
It is no secret to those in the building industry that while the major companies get most of the press and attention, it’s really an industry made up of a collection of small to medium businesses that, collectively, make putting up buildings possible.
One of those companies is located in Derrimut (VIC), Dellermay Stone and Tiling, a family business that has grown steadily over the past 12 years, going from being (literally) a “backyard business”, to a significant company in building and construction.
For example, Dellermay has contributed to major building projects, such as the luxury CBUS residential tower at 35 Spring Street, Melbourne, and the twin-tower development, designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects, on Melbourne’s Fulton Lane, which provides 804 residential units.
One of the secrets of the company’s growth has been its use of high-tech methods and machinery for the preparation of the stonework it makes. In particular, the company has adopted the Intermac Master 33 CNC (computer numerically controlled) processing centre.
The story of Dellermay begins with the arrival of its founder, Carlos Bezerra, in Australia from Portugal. While trained as a boiler-maker and welder, Bezerra rapidly found a place in the construction industry, working for Grocon and specialising in building stone finishes (one of the highlights for him was his work on the ANZ Gothic Revival bank building in Melbourne). He moved on from that to become a sub-contractor for a major Victoria-based builder, and this work eventually led him to form his own stone business in 2005, Bezerra Stone, operating out of the back yard of his house.
The company was successful enough that neighbours began to complain about the noise. The fledgling company leased a small factory in Williamstown North, in Melbourne’s industrial west area, and changed its name to Dellermay Stone and Tiling. At the time, Bezerra purchased a bridge saw and multi-tool inline cutting and polishing which it still has today.
According to Carlos Bezerra’s son, Hugo, who is general manager of Dellermay, while the company’s success seems assured these days, in the beginning it was a question of taking some chances and big career choices. Hugo Bezerra had trained as an architect, but had not found that work as inspiring as he had hoped, while the stone business seemed to offer much more.
He explains, “After the backyard shed we thought of going in different directions, but Eurico [Hugo’s brother, who studied commerce] didn’t want to be an accountant, and I didn’t see myself as an architect. I was drawing Officeworks buildings. I spent most of my time cutting and pasting. It wasn’t what I thought architecture would lead me to. I found my hands were moving, but my brain wasn’t. We both liked the stone business, so we decided to give it a shot.”
It was a gamble that paid off well. The risk was that Dellermay did not have an extensive manufacturing record, which made some businesses cautious in accepting their bids. However, the business caught a break when construction company Hickory Group gave them a contract on a major project.
The initial problems the company faced are common in all construction. The business’s first four years were spent working for only a few big companies, which meant Dellermay followed their highs and lows.
As Hugo Bezerra explains it: “We learnt a lot about quality back then. We also learnt a lot about producing quality at a fair price. You find in the construction industry that it’s a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of pricing, so it’s essential that you can produce an item that’s priced well, and that also allows you to get into the high end of the market, where quality means a lot more.”
Within two years it was evident the space it was working in could not accommodate the company’s growth, so Dellermay began plans to move north to Derrimut. Dellermay took three years to complete building the current factory on the site.
One of the key drivers to the rapid expansion of Dellermay was its adoption of the latest technologies. Dellermay’s work is mostly in high-rise residential apartments. They can handle all of the stonework and tiling including the public spaces of the buildings. They use granite, marble and engineered stone. They have also begun to use a lot of porcelain, which often replaces glass splashbacks, as well as tiles on some surfaces.
Hugo Bezerra explains, “A lot of people depend on us so we’ve diversified over the last few years.” In meeting the varying demands of this work Dellermay has come to rely on its Intermac Master 33. “When we moved out to Derrimut we thought about the equipment we needed so we looked around for a machine to profile our stone tops and also replace most of our hand-finishing,” he says.
“Dust from stone processing has always been something we care about. The health of our people is very important to us. Getting the hand finishing onto a machine was a top priority, so we needed a machine that would give us a good output while reducing our labour costs and solving our dust issues.
“I’d read a lot about the Master series machines so we called Intermac, who gave us a really good deal. Now most of our benchtops come off the Master 33 ready for dispatch with little if any hand finishing.
“If I’d known the difference the Intermac makes I’d have bought it sooner. Benchtops are 40% of our business, so a lot of work goes through that machine. It’s a great help with health and safety and you really do have to make the investment to minimise the dust.”
As the company continues to expand, it is quite likely going to acquire more Intermac machinery. “We have some Chinese machines we bought when we were starting up but we wouldn’t go there again. There’s a lot of difference between those and the Italian machines – especially our Intermac,” Hugo Bezerra says.
It’s not just the machine itself that is so important. Downtime is the enemy of every manufacturing company, and Intermac helps to minimise any problems that do occur. Hugo Bezerra sums up his experience with Intermac: “The service is quick, the techs are very competent and the machine runs very, very well.”
It is evident that the Intermac Master 33 delivers the output and quality Dellermay expects from a top machinery supplier.
Hugo thinks that the current apartment boom will slow down, so Dellermay is going into the residential housing market. A move to glass splashbacks and shower screens is also likely, as the company wants to offer a more complete service to clients. They’ve not ruled anything out as they continue to grow and new opportunities arise.
Hugo Bererra admits that another Intermac machine as well as some glass processing machines could be needed sooner rather than later. All of which will require (of course) a new and larger factory, probably by mid-2019.
All this success still seems to surprise the Bezerra family a little. As Hugo Bezerra describes it, “We wanted to create something small together — but it just grew and grew.”
Their many clients have confidence in Dellermay’s ability to deliver quality at a fair price and Hugo, Eurico and Carlos have confidence that the machinery Dellermay uses will continue to help them meet their client’s deadlines and quality standards.