By combining hard work with ingenuity over three generations, Orbel, maker of custom light-gauge metal components and assemblies, quietly contributes to progress around the world.
From precision parts for U.S. fighter jets to electric cars and tomorrow’s self-driving cars, this three-generation family business has grown from a man-in-a-garage operation started in 1961 in Glen Ridge, N.J., to become one of the longest-running and successful design and manufacturing houses of its kind. It now conducts business out of its 57,000-square foot, full-service facility in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Current company president and CEO Ken Marino, son of Orbel founder and electroplating pioneer Daniel, and Ken’s team including daughter Danielle, accounting manager, and son Steven, marketing manager, are making plans for further expansion and growth as the company turns 60.
Marino and his team create custom products for more than 300 customers each year and furnish a complete catalog of standard EMI/RFI shielding products.
“My father started the business doing reel-to-reel plating of wire and strip for the local metal forming companies, which at the time was quite innovative,” Marino said.
Today, Orbel makes products for an array of industries. “Our local facility services the needs of the U.S. market. We also have a factory in Asia to support the markets in Asia.”
Orbel’s components and assemblies are used in mission-critical applications from military to aerospace to automotive to commercial and industrial applications. Product lines include EMI/RFI shielding, photo-etched precision metal parts, precision metal stampings, and electroplated metal foils.
“Most people don’t know the things we make – but they benefit from them nonetheless,” said Marino. The company has proven to be an essential supplier for the aviation industry, for example. “Orbel’s components are onboard airplanes, from military planes to commercial jets. You can’t fly from point A to point B without us,” he said.
Orbel is not only a success story because of its growth, but also because it has survived the trend of family businesses being sold and dissolved.
It’s also one of only a few companies left in North America doing what it does. Since 1961 when Orbel opened its doors, 97 percent of all competitors are no longer in existence.
Today’s plant is equipped with the highest state-of-the-art technology and employs 60 people in roles from engineering to chemistry. Marino has a plan to keep the positive momentum and trajectory.
“Over the past few years, we have made new capital investments, including in new technology, that is allowing us to enhance the quality of our products and offer our customers an even higher level of quality assurance on those products,” said Marino.
“We’ve also created an assembly area where we can take both internally manufactured components along with outside supplied items to offer customers completed subassemblies. This area is the fastest-growing facet of Orbel,” Marino added.
While he’s making plans, Marino said he’s also looking to the next generation.
“We have an outside team helping our younger future leaders get ready to carry Orbel well into the future. While it’s important to be successful today, it’s also critical to think about the long-term future of the company and the people who work hard every day. Our customers are looking for stable, predictable supply, with many planning their products seven years out. Orbel offers them the opportunity to sleep soundly at night.”
For more information, go to www.orbel.com.
Orbel is dedicated to manufacturing custom precision-engineered light-gauge metal products, specializing in designing and fabricating small, intricate parts from thin strip materials such as beryllium copper and nickel silver alloys as well as gold and silver plating.