Automation – “Why I Automate”


Marlin Steel automation

Marlin Steel automation

Association for Advancing Automation created a new website that features Marlin Steel’s commitment to growing jobs and improving safety through a heavy investment in robotics and automation. They created a tremendous video that captures the critical path that all manufacturing companies must pursue to grow.


By investing over $3.5 million dollars in the last couple of years in the latest technology for sheet metal fabrication and wire forming fabrication, Marlin Steel has made its employees more productive and this has allowed the company to win more jobs, hire more people, pay better wages, offer more benefits and most importantly provide a safer work environment. Robotics and automation has contributed to Marlin Steel’s 1,850+ days without a safety incident. 

Automation propelling quality, productivity, safety and speed

Nice article this month about the impact of automation on Marlin Steel in Area Development Online, a website that focuses on site selection, facility planning and economic development.

As Beth Mattson-Teig writes:

… Automation is taking root and changing the face of manufacturing among companies both large and small. Case in point is Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire. A decade ago, employees were bending wire by hand to make steel baskets. Owner Drew Greenblatt saw demand plummet as the company’s primary clientele, bagel shops, shifted their orders to cheaper Chinese manufacturers. “He made the decision to transform his business and invest in automation to build baskets for many different industries,” says Bob Doyle, a spokesperson for the Association for Advancing Automation. Today, Marlin Steel Wire makes baskets for the automotive, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries. Those clients have significantly higher design specifications compared to the bagel shop owners, notes Doyle. “The only way [Marlin Steel Wire] could do that was to invest in automation, both in robotics and other types of manufacturing technologies,” says Doyle. …


The article points out that 2012 set a record for the North American robotics industry, and sales and orders for the first half of 2013 continued at record pace. About 230,000 robots are in use in U.S. factories, second to Japan, according to the Robotic Industries Association.

How safety and sustainability align

From Drew Greenblatt’s latest column on on why safety and sustainability go hand in hand as important objectives for business — with help from the American Society of Safety Engineers. Thanks, ASSE:

I recently Googled the word “sustainability” and these are the headlines I found: “Global Environmental Change and Sustainability,” “5 Traits Essential for Sustainability Leadership,” and “Top 10 Cities Leading in Urban Sustainability.”

Then I Googled the word “safety” for the same period and a dominant story was “Pittsburgh Steelers Score in 3 Seconds on Titans Opening-Kickoff Safety.”

At 1,765 consecutive days without a lost-time accident at Marlin Steel

We’re now at 1,765 consecutive days without a lost-time accident at Marlin Steel

Safety — that is, preventing injury or worse — isn’t the hip, eco-friendly topic that sustainability has become in recent years. But in workplaces like ours sustainability and safety are both essential and in fact go together: Sustainable practices seek to avoid waste, and the risk of injury is greater in places where mess and waste fester.

Many companies have gotten religion on sustainability. They realize it’s good for their mission, their operation, and of course their public image. Safety might seem an objective less easy to rally around. But I think smart companies grasp its importance and go above and beyond what is required.

David Coble, who runs a safety consultancy in North Carolina and chairs the Manufacturing Practice Specialty Group of the American Society of Safety Engineers, points out that safety and sustainability have gone hand in hand for a long time. The general industry standards of OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he notes, include dozens of references to “housekeeping.” And they were written in 1910, long before the concept of sustainability had the cachet it does now. Continue reading

What a safe workplace says about the quality of its work

From Drew Greenblatt’s latest column on about the importance of workplace safety:

Marlin Steel Drew GreenblattOn a recent visit to a Fortune 100 company, one of the world’s largest manufacturers, I asked the company president how he assesses the performance of his company as well as prospective vendors. He mentioned market share, cash flow and profit — key indicators all — but I was astounded at what he mentioned first: Safety.

“Have you ever heard of an unsafe shop being clean or making good quality products?” he asked.

It’s true. An obsession about safety in a workplace is a pretty reliable signal that the company is compulsive about other processes, such as making a quality product. If cleanliness is next to godliness, it’s also pretty close to industriousness and dependability. Continue reading

Safety First: 1,700 straight days accident-free

Marlin Steel Safety 1700 Consecutive  DaysWe crossed the 1,700-day mark for consecutive days without a lost time accident this week. Among the folks pleased by that milestone: Our insurance carrier (understandably) who wrote us a letter of congratulation.

On a recent visit by Marlin Steel to a Fortune 100 company in the Midwest, the host company’s president related how safety is one of the top four metrics he pays attention to every day at his global organization.

His reasoning?: A safe shop is more likely to be a clean shop and a clean shop is more likely to produce a high-quality part. “Have you ever heard of an unsafe shop being clean or making good quality?” he asked. Continue reading

Ten Talent Tips for Success

From Marlin Steel President Drew Greenblatt’s presentation today to the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) in San Antonio, Texas. His keynote address was titled “Beyond Bagels: How a Basket Company Remade Itself Through ‘Quality Engineering Quick’”: