Let Marlin Steel’s Expert Engineers Answer Your Questions

Over the years, the Marlin Steel team has evolved. Back in the ‘90s, when Drew Greenblatt first acquired the company, we were a simple commodity manufacturer of wire baskets. Today, we are a highly advanced manufacturer of products that require extreme precision.

Where we once dealt primarily with bagel shops who products could handle a margin of error that was over an inch, we now make parts and products for industries that require accuracy to 1/4000 of an inch or less. A large part of this transformation was in our investment into automation, to be sure. However, it is our investment in our employees that has truly helped Marlin Steel rise above the challenges posed by cheap foreign labor and the ever-changing manufacturing market.

Workers Turned Expert Engineers

When Drew Greenblatt made the decision to invest in automation in order to make Marlin Steel more competitive as a company, he knew that it would take more than simply bringing in a robotic arm or two to make a true difference in the company, he needed people who could run those robotic arms and other manufacturing equipment in order to make them work at peak efficiency.

After all, without guidance from a qualified engineer to tell the robot arms what to do, they would be little more than extraordinarily expensive paperweights. Drew needed qualified engineers to create CAD files and turn them into programs that the equipment could use to turn designs into real-world parts and products.

But where would Drew find the engineers he needed?

Simple, they were already working for him. When the time came to find new engineers to run Marlin Steel’s automated manufacturing equipment, Drew put his existing work force through specialized schooling instead of just hiring on new workers to replace the old ones.

Practical Knowledge and Training Combined

The investment in re-training his existing workforce was high, but it is one that ultimately paid off for Marlin Steel’s owner. With their years of experience in bending, shaping, and using metal in a variety of applications being paired with the expert knowledge and training earned in their technical schooling, Marlin Steel’s newly-minted engineers returned to the workforce with a level of experience and know-how that is incredibly hard to come by.

Not only can these highly-skilled workers operate our automated processes and perform maintenance on both the software and hardware as needed, they have the accumulated knowledge that comes with specialized training and years of real-world experience. Because of this, our engineers are able to answer a number of questions about your needs.

For example, one of our clients had a question about using stainless steel in their high-temperature process. When they had initially been designing their process, they expected to be annealing parts at a temperature of 1,600 °F. To match this temperature, they had chosen to use grade 330 Stainless Steel in order to gain a longer service life for each basket used in the process. However, they had also began testing their process at temperatures of 1,200 °F, and wanted to know if a different, less expensive alloy could be employed in their process at this temperature.

While a treatise on the properties of the different grades of stainless steel (and the variants of each of these grades) and how they react to different temperatures and pressure environments would be long enough to fill an entire book, the basic question of “what is the right temperature” for any given alloy is one that Marlin Steel’s engineers are familiar with.

This client’s question started a short back and forth conversation between our engineer and the client, as they discussed the longevity of different alloys in the customer’s specific process at the lower temperature. One of the key points that was made is that while grade 316 or even 304 stainless steel would work at 1,200 °F, there would be noticeably more scaling with those materials than with the grade 330 stainless steel.

Through the discussion, the client was able to come to a better-informed decision that balanced their short-term costs against the long-term needs of their process.

In the end, our automation allowed us to manufacture the custom wire baskets for the client to microscopic precision to fit their exacting needs quickly, but it was the knowledge and expertise of our engineers that lead to those baskets being the right fit and material to make them perfect.

Take Advantage of Our Knowledge and Experience

If you have a question about your order, or need technical help, the team of engineers at Marlin Steel is here to help you. Whether you want to know what the right temperature for grade 316 stainless steel is or whether you’re better off with a wire basket or a basket made from custom-cut sheet metal, our people have the knowledge to answer your questions. Contact us now so we can help you.

Do special finishes make sense for stainless steel?

Yes. Electropolishing of stainless steel is commonly used for food, drug, medical and semi-conductor applications and for those where high fatigue strength is needed. It removes burrs and sharp edges and lessens strains by removing microscopic nicks from the surface.

Sources: Professor Roger Wright of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dr. Jack Grubb of Allegheny Ludlum; Dr. William H. Cullen Jr. of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Dr. Shui Lee of Central Wire Industries; websites of AK Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Carpenter Technology, Sandmeyer Steel and Haward Corp.

How we make mesh baskets for precision cleaning systems and parts washing

Marlin Steel Parts Washing Basket_Slide 1

Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6 Slide7 Slide8 Slide9 Slide10 Slide11


Is 316 stainless steel worth the extra cost over 304?

For most applications, 304 grade has the best combination of corrosion resistance, mechanical properties, and cost. For high corrosion resistance in food, biomedical, marine, and heat exchanger applications, 316 can be worth the price difference. The resistance to solvents, chlorides, acetic acid, and especially to salt water can make 316 the preferred choice. The quality of the surface finish and the amount of cold work (most often referred to as the hardness, as in quarter-hard or half-hard) influences the corrosion resistance greatly.

Sources: Professor Roger Wright, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dr. Jack Grubb, Allegheny Ludlum; Dr. William H. Cullen, Jr., Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Dr. Shui Lee, Central Wire Industries. Also, web sites of AK Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Carpenter Technology, Sandmeyer Steel and Haward Corporation.

What makes stainless steel stainless?

Compared to plain carbon steel, stainless steels – there are more than 300 grades — contain at least 12 percent chromium. When the chromium combines with oxygen in the atmosphere, a thin, invisible layer called the passive film forms on the surface of the steel. The protective layer is so thin – a few atoms thick — that the metallic, grayish coloration of the underlying steel is visible. If it gets scratched, the oxides quickly form again to repair the invisible layer.

Roll of 304 Stainless bound for Marlin Steel

18,000-pound roll of 304 stainless bound for Marlin Steel being sliced into sheets at Maryland Metals Processing, Baltimore

On plain carbon steel, by contrast, the layer that forms in ambient environments is a different oxide that is orange, thick, loose and porous — better known as rust. Also, stainless steel isn’t technically stainless; rather, it “stains less.” The passive film needs oxygen to repair itself, so the “self-healing” is hampered in environments of low oxygen or high salinity like seawater.

Stainless’ distinctive look is responsible for such dramatic landmarks as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Cloud Gate in Chicago and the Chrysler Building in New York.

Sources: Professor Roger Wright, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dr. Jack Grubb, Allegheny Ludlum; Dr. William H. Cullen, Jr., Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Dr. Shui Lee, Central Wire Industries. Also, web sites of AK Steel, Allegheny Technologies, Carpenter Technology, Sandmeyer Steel and Haward Corporation. 

How robots create jobs here: Let us count the ways

incFrom Drew Greenblatt’s latest column in Inc. magazine on the connection between automation and job creation:

… A dozen robots on our shop floor form steel wire baskets at the rate of 20,000 bends an hour, or about five per second. The precision is light years beyond what we were capable of before, with tolerances measured to the thousandths of an inch. That craftsmanship allowed us to expand beyond bagel baskets into industrial containers for sensitive material for clients in automotive, aerospace, military, and health care. And with robots tacking the most brutish work, our employees’ well being has dramatically improved as well: Our last lost-time accident occurred during the Bush administration, more than 1,500 days ago. (And workers now get health insurance.)

That doesn’t mean we don’t need people. The argument by some, including on a recent “60 Minutes” segment, that robots rob jobs is overly simplistic. It echoes the old adage that generals are always prepared to fight the last war–to use old tactics to win new battles. Without robots our company would be out of business. Here are six ways robots have created jobs at Marlin Steel Wire Products … Read more