New waterjet robot in Granite America's new space | Photo by Melissa Chipman
New waterjet robot in Granite America’s new space | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Granite America has expanded its headquarters in Louisville, adding 20,000 square feet of fabrication space to make room for advanced technologies, including the first stone fabrication robotic CNC machine in Louisville. A CNC machine employs computers to control, in this case, a waterjet-cutting robot.

This particular robot, acquired at the beginning of the year, is accurate to 1/1000th of an inch. It is used to cut kitchen islands, countertops and vanities out of enormous slabs of granite and other stone. A Granite America technician will come to your home, measure your cabinets with a laser that is also accurate to 1/1000th of an inch. Then a specialist will code those measurements into a computer that “teaches” the robot how to cut out the perfect pieces of stone.

Granite America Vice President Kartik Kamat said the process once took two or more hours, but the robot cuts that time down to anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. This particular waterjet robot is powered by 60,000 pounds per square inch of pressure — for comparison, the rest of the pressurized tools in the shop are powered by 100 psi.

In order to prepare for the grand opening of the new space, Kamat said they brought in around 30 containers of new slabs of granite and other stone. The mayor will be at the grand opening on Saturday, May 14, at 1 p.m. There will be food, beverages, tours and a performance by a dance troupe from Cincinnati. Granite America is located at 1121 St. Louis Ave., in Park Hill.

Rows and rows of exotic stone | Photo by Melissa Chipman
Rows and rows of exotic stone | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Company President Deepa Kamat — Kartik Kamat’s sister — said the goal is to have three shifts at the manufacturing space. Currently the company employs around 20 people in Louisville, and they are hiring new staff with computer design and computer-assisted manufacturing experience.

Kartik said these are high-paying jobs because the people they’re hiring have to be in charge of these super precise machines. “Every mistake can be a $10,000 mistake,” he said.

Granite America also has locations in Cincinnati, Lexington and Indianapolis. They have recently become a franchise and are seeking franchisees. Deepa said she hopes that some day there will be a Granite America in every large city in America.

“It’s in our blood,” Deepa said when asked why she and Kartik started the company in 2002 in the Park Hill neighborhood. The Kamats declined to say how many jobs they do a week. “We are very blessed,” said Deepa. “We keep our crews very busy.”

Granite America has no middleman and imports directly from 37 countries. Deepa said many of the granite colors are “unique to Granite America.”

Onyx | Photo by Melissa Chipman
Onyx | Photo by Melissa Chipman

Insider Louisville readers are probably most familiar with Kartik Kamat as a serial entrepreneur and a frequent attendee (and prize winner) at Startup Weekends in town.

Most recently, he’s been making the pitch competition rounds with CompassioNotes, which is a Salesforce add-on that informs users when a client has a major life event (birth, wedding, death of a loved one, etc.). He also founded Fuelytics, which tracks the fuel consumption of fleets; he said that company is on hold, but Granite America still uses the technology with its own fleet.

In Kartik’s future? A building on the site of Granite America will be turned into a craft distillery. The sign is already up — Distillery America — but no news yet on a time frame.

The grand opening celebration of Granite America’s new space is open to the public.

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