ISSFA’s approach to management is based on five key words: “Plan,” “Organize,” “Implement,” “Execute” and “Evaluate.” Following through step-by-step on these essential concepts ensures the greatest chance of success in any venture. The ISSFA training philosophy combines theory, best practices and real-life experiences. Attentive students leave equipped with the tools for success.
The first day of Total Fabrication Training introduces the student to the fundamentals of solid surface materials and the basic principles of productivity. Safety gets a big emphasis from the beginning, as it should in every solid surface shop. Both physical and electronic techniques for templating of countertops are explained, and seaming and seam reinforcement procedures are introduced and demonstrated.
The students work in teams of two, and each team has a fully equipped workstation with the latest tools and technology. Over the four-day period, each team completes the fabrication and installation of a typical kitchen countertop.
On the second day, students are introduced to decorative edges, and the program covers both structural issues and design aspects of edges. Various types of countertop cutouts are explained, with a particular emphasis on the special requirements of cutouts for heat- generating appliances such as cooktops. Countertop support systems are demonstrated, including special provisions for cantilevered overhangs. Each team learns about sink installation options and installs a seam undermounted solid surface sink.
Day three covers major backsplash options, with particular attention to coved splashes. Thermoforming, decorative inlay techniques and an introduction to solid surface repair procedures are also covered.
The final day includes sanding and buffing techniques used to produce surface finishes ranging from matte to semi gloss to high gloss. Quality control is discussed, along with systematic installation procedures. The course closes with a summary of the course material and a rededication to profitability through efficiency and high-quality workmanship.
The shop facilities are neat, clean and very well organized. Working in teams, the students in the program use the sort of production power tools used every day in real fabrication shops, and fabricate actual countertops with donated solid surface materials. Companies I’ve written about for years, such as The Pinske Edge, Specialitytools.com, Monument Toolworks, Andreas Templates and ETemplate System, have donated equipment to the ITEC. Many other companies also offer support for the program.
Next year, ISSFA will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Now representing 878 companies worldwide, its dedicated staff and volunteers can be justifiably proud of its accomplishments.