Cutting Edge Cutlery

French flatware manufacturer, Zorayan produces timeless tableware designs from its state of the art facility at the Jebel Ali Free Zone

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  November 2, 2005

|~|ZorayanL.jpg|~|Zorayan’s production line includes welders, grinders, waching machines and mirror polishers.|~|It is a blend of old and new, traditional meets cutting edge. Zorayan, the French cutlery manufacturer, moved its operations from Cairo to Dubai in 2003. Part of the move saw two manual presses, dating back to 1914,installed at the Jebel Ali plant. The traditional units sit beside a US $980,000 high tech polishing system that replaces 45 workers. It also acts as the unique selling point for the French supplier in the competitive Middle East market. “Our main offer is that we give a twice a year free polishing on our products,” explains Jean Luc Cariteau, sales director, Zorayan FZCO. Zorayan produces six standard models of flatware, and can offer hotels bespoke services on request. “We offer custom made designs. The conditions depend on if the customer wants an exclusive design or if he wants a specific design that will not be exclusive,” explains Cariteau. In addition to offering custom made items, the flatware specialist also offers hotels and restaurants the option of having their logo or name stamped onto all items, a service the company is able to offer because of its regional location and quick turnaround time on orders. “First of all, we are offering a very short delivery time for the standard models (about a week from order). We also offer to stamp the logo of the hotel or of the restaurant free of charge. We can also exchange the existing flatware on the base of two taken against one given, provided that the existing quality is acceptable. This exchange can be done only after our engineer’s check and approval,” Cariteau says. The company decided to switch its operations from Cairo to Dubai when it saw the rapid growth taking place in the UAE and GCC-wide hotel industry. “We chose to open here for two main reasons. Firstly, because the UAE is a fast growing country in terms of hotels and restaurants and the Jebel-Ali Free Zone offers a wide range of facilities to cover the GCC first and then the rest of the world. “And secondly, because we had been looking for local partners to help us finance our expansion and we thought that the UAE should be the right place, and in fact it was,” Cariteau adds. The company has not yet started to supply hotels from its Jebel Ali plant, but Cariteau is confident that the orders will soon be pouring in. “We have had quite a number of contacts and a lot of interest, and we already started a number of deals but it is a bit early to name some of them. We already supplied major groups such as Accor, Hilton, Mövenpick, Oberoi and Sheraton,” Cariteau says. Zorayan offers a lifetime guarantee with all items it manufactures. It backs this up with an after sales service that includes the twice-annual polish and partial renewal, when required. The stainless steel used in the manufacture of all Zorayan products comes from Europe, mainly Germany, Italy or France, and most of the equipment used in the Jebel Ali plant is sourced from Italy. According to Cariteau, the market is divided pretty evenly between restaurants and hotels. By having a local production plant, Zorayan claims it can cut costs and still deliver a comparable quality to European manufacturers. “Most hotels are getting their flatware either directly from the manufacturers in Italy, France, Germany or Austria, or through local distributors. Of course, they keep a high standard level but at heavy costs and long delivery time,” Cariteau says. “Most of the restaurants are getting their flatware from local distributors selling generally products from Far East. They are getting cheap products, but they are having problems when it comes to partial renewal, since there is a very poor follow up of the models. “Zorayan is an excellent compromise between the two, and that is one of the reasons why we believe that starting production in the UAE was a good move,” he adds. Production line To create its flatware, Zorayan passes 18/10 stainless steel sheets through five main stages: forming, welding, grinding, washing, and polishing. Thirty network-connected machines, manufactured exclusively for the company’s Middle East operation, make up Zorayan FZCO’s two production lines. During the forming stage, the 1m x 2m stainless steel sheets are cut into strips before they take on their respective preliminary shapes by way of the 200 moulds available at Zorayan FZCO. The front parts of the cut-out shapes of the forks and spoons are then laminated before the final shape is cut out. The designs of all the flatware items are then embossed onto the pieces using another machine, while hydraulic machines are used for the embossing on the ladles and the bigger pieces in the Zorayan sets. Additionally, soldering and brazing machines are used to spot weld the knives in order to create the points on them. Zorayan uses two types of machines for the grinding: an automatic system for the loading and unloading of forks owing to the detailed areas that require grinding, and manual grinding machines with belts. “All pieces in Zorayan FZCO’s six designer sets then go through the massive washing machine equipped with a control panel and pumps for pressured water. The washing stage includes a smaller machine responsible for the re-circulation of chemical detergents and water,” Cariteau explains. “The polishing machine utilises a real-time networking architecture that allows any element [stage] of the polishing system to share any piece of information about any number of other elements of the system with a central point of control, in Italy, that distributes and collects information to and from the machinery being operated. Zorayan FZCO’s polishing system, including the machinery in Jebel Ali and central control point in Italy, is essentially a self-healing and self-monitoring network that automatically detects any internal faults within its system,” he adds. The cutlery is then electronically loaded and unloaded for the final polish without ever being touched by human hand. It passes through seven stages, a translation system and then a final three stages before it is mirror-polished and ready for the table. With a quick turnaround time, low transportation costs, and a comprehensive after sales service, Zorayan believes its cutlery production line will cut through the European competition like a hot knife through butter.||**||

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