Peter Marcucci

Photos Courtesy Terminator and Larry Hood

Vincent Salemi Terminator Diamond Products, Inc.
The diverse selection of products in Terminator’s 2018 catalog is a testament to how far the company has come, and to a tribute to Vincent Salemi’s contributions to the stone industry.

The diverse selection of products in Terminator’s 2018 catalog is a testament to how far the company has come, and to a tribute to Vincent Salemi’s contributions to the stone industry.

2005 production model of the sandwich segment blade that put Continental D.I.A. on the map

2005 production model of the sandwich segment blade that put Continental D.I.A. on the map

2005 production model of the sandwich segment blade that put Continental D.I.A. on the map

Have you ever tried to define personal success? Just a month ago, when interviewing Vincent Salemi, I was given the answer. Personal success is achieved by the simple act of perseverance, focus and the desire to succeed against all odds.  In this interview, Vincent Salemi, founder of Terminator Diamond Products, shares how he got into the stone industry and how he defines personal success. There is no doubt that Vincent is a Rock Star in the stone industry. 

Prior to 1992, Salemi was working with his family business in the granite and tile industry in Florida. In late 1992, he decided to move to California with the vision and desire to start his own business. He had worked with diamond tools for years as a fabricator, and his research and experience led him to believe that a tool distribution business was a good fit. A few months later, in 1993, Continental DIA Diamond Products Inc. was established.

A Diamond Company in the Rough

“My first products were diamond blades and grinding cup wheels,” said Salemi. “These were standard products of the industry, and the only products available to me, to market. At the time, I never thought I would be a tool supplier for North America, and just figured I’d sell tools locally like any normal tool vendor.”

However, a big break came when he met Doug Slocum, who was the purchasing manager for Vic Industrial at the time.  After testing  his  products and liking the results, Doug began ordering products to private label and a business relationship with Vic Industrial began. Slocum eventually went on to start his own company, Braxton-Bragg, and they continued to work together.

For many years, both young companies grew and supported each other. Now things have come full circle: once again, Terminator and Braxton-Bragg are stone industry partners.

Salemi went on to tell about one of his big early innovations. At this point in time, the blades of the day were a standard segment where the top would eventually round over. But, explained Vincent, his next generation of blades would not round over due to the improved segments. “With my experience in the fabrication industry, I felt that there were a lot of things missing, or at least could be improved upon.
In those days the work was much more labor intensive. One of the first products I developed and introduced was the Terminator 20mm “Sandwich” Segment Saw Blade. A common issue with available saw blades of the day was ‘leading-edge segment round over,’ a characteristic which would dramatically decrease the cutting speed and result in a heavily-chipped cut requiring the segments to be redressed. The ‘sandwich’ segment construction resolved this issue by always keeping the edges of the segment square, resulting in much cleaner cuts.”

The blade was a huge success and in the years to come spawned a number of innovative products from Terminator.  

Salemi’s next challenge was to develop abrasives for polishing edges, he continued. “I started working with Park Industries in 1997 by developing abrasives for their Pro-Edge machine. We developed a system to do edges in five steps instead of seven steps, cutting down the cycle run time. It was a big improvement and was very effective. Don’t forget, you had a lot of big diamond abrasive companies back then, and I was still very small compared to them. But to me, if you have the passion and you have the drive, there is nothing that you cannot accomplish.” 

The Terminator Brand Becomes an Industry Force

It was around this same time that Continental Diamond Products changed to Terminator Diamond Products and began producing automated edging products to fit all brands, including CNCs. “It’s like anything else,” said Salemi. “It’s very important that we continually improve our tools and not become complacent. With that being said, in all manner of life you seldom get it right the first time, so you try, fail, and try again. Failure to me is simply a learning experience. And I’ve ‘learned’ a lot in my life,” Salemi chuckles. 

“We pride ourselves on the consistent quality of our products. The quality of the product you buy today will be the same quality in the future because we have full control in the manufacturing process from A to Z.” 

Located in Inchon, South Korea, Terminator Diamond Products Korea Co. LTD is Terminator’s manufacturing arm, producing both sintered metal products and resin-based polishing products. 

Salemi said, “Having direct control over the manufacturing process provides a superior advantage over our competitors, allowing us to better quality control and develop the products our customers want.”     

Over four years of intensive testing Terminator has assembled a comprehensive product line for ultra compact material (UCM) and natural quartzite.

Such products include high performing bridge saw blades, wet/dry core bits, cup wheels, small diameter dry cutting blades, and much more. And all while, Terminator has kept improving its existing product lines for granite, engineered stone and marble.

Staying Ahead of the Curve 

As technology continues to drive efficiency, no better place is this seen than in manufacturing, specifically CNC automated routers and saws. 

“In 2014, during a family dinner with my wife, Maria, and sons Sebastian and Michael, we brainstormed over a traditional Italian meal on what would advance the industry, perhaps better expressed as what would help the industry. The discussion continued late into the evening, and that’s when the idea surfaced to open an educational CNC training center for CNC tool set-up, tool maintenance and calibration.”

Salemi went on to explain, “Often times operators are taught with second- or third-hand information, which results in a lot of confusion and uncertainty of how or why certain things are done. We wanted to provide a systematic approach for new operators entering into the stone industry as well as existing operators. Providing real hands-on cause and effect techniques, and explain why they are important. We pitched the idea to Eric Pate, our CNC Technical Director, who excitedly agreed, and we moved forward.” 

The Terminator CNC Training Center came to realization in 2016 when it opened its doors in Charlotte, North Carolina. Currently the training facility offers a Level 1 Certification Course, great for both new and experienced CNC router operators who are passionate and willing to advance their skills. Eric Pate is a veteran of the stone industry and highly regarded for his real world knowledge and experience spearheads the course. (See our interview with Eric Pate and a review of Terminator’s Zares II starting on page two.)

Celebrating a 25-Year Anniversary and a Diamond-Clear Future 

“I never thought I’d be in this business for 25 years when I started it,” continued Vincent, “but it seems like yesterday. My wife says, ‘I think you should slow down!’ And I tell her, if I slow down, what am I going to do? I do think, however, that 25 years is a remarkable feat for any company, and for me, this is a real accomplishment. Before 2009, everybody knew us for our blades. Today our business is well recognized for all types of tooling and solutions, including introducing a revolutionary machine, the Zares II 3D Optical CNC Measuring System.   

I asked Salemi if he could attribute his success to one thing.

“I don’t have a specific answer, 25 years in business attributes to many things. There are no short cuts, if you don’t have passion for what you do it’s difficult to achieve any level of success. Secondly, one individual can’t do it alone. You need a great team around you, and thankfully I have incredible people working for Terminator.”

“I also want to say thank you to all of our customers and supporters of Terminator, and that they still believe in the brand. We are here because of them and they are number one.”  

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