Marotta Controls designs, develops and manufactures customized control systems and subsystem solutions for a range of industrial markets.
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Marotta Controls is a third generation family-owned, small business with 280 employees whose products literally reach not only around but out of this world—this New Jersey-based company holds over 200 patents and boasts an ever-expanding portfolio of pressure, power, motion, fluid and electronic controls for shipboard and sub-sea applications, weapons systems, aerospace and defense systems, satellites and launch vehicles.
“Marotta is not an off-the-shelf component supplier,” explains president and CEO Patrick Marotta, grandson of the company’s founder. “We are an innovative solutions provider with the unique ability to build upon legacy products to meet the increasingly challenging needs of our customers’ programs today. In addition to evolving our heritage product lines, we understand the increasing capabilities of the platforms our systems are used on and have adapted to this by designing and developing new technologies to address unique requirements for controlling pressure, motion, fluid, electronics and power.”
To that end, Marotta Controls employs a staff of 80 engineers. While engineers are typically assigned to a specific market segment—aerospace, marine, space, weapons — most of the technologies that they work on are applicable to most, if not all, of the company’s market segments. “Increasingly, our technology isn’t limited to market-specific applications,” Marotta explains. “We’re finding instead that what we’re doing in one segment can also apply to applications found in another. Our engineering expertise and experience provides us with a complete understanding of those market needs and conditions which enable us to design and manufacture optimal technical solutions for each and in doing so develop the fundamental building blocks needed for today’s complex, control systems.”
A key factor in Marotta’s success is its long-standing partnerships with many of its customers, some dating back 50 to 60 years. Marotta notes that, “We have a number of long lasting relationships with customers as well as a reputation as a strategic partner and agile supplier. We place a high value on internally investing in our programs and products as well as on research and development. We place the needs of our customers first and foremost to cultivate a strong, long-standing partnership. As an example, we currently have full time engineering resources at a customer’s facility to co-engineer solutions as well as provide on-site support to ensure aggressive schedules are maintained. Our ability to be an agile, responsive partner coupled with our commitment to invest remain the core reasons that our long-standing partners and customers continue to come to Marotta.
The company’s base of operations is situated on 25 acres in Morris County just 35 miles northwest of New York City. Marotta Controls is currently in the midst of a 25,000 square foot state-of-the facility renovation and addition to its existing 100,000 square foot plant, its first expansion since 1985, scheduled for completion within the next two years. The expansion will not only enable Marotta to take more of its manufacturing and testing capabilities in-house but is will also add facilities and resources that are necessary to achieve its aggressive growth targets.
“Just as Boeing and others in the aerospace industry over the last five years moved from outsourcing most manufacturing to bringing certain capabilities back in-house, Marotta Controls is doing the same,” Marotta points out. “We’ve always done low volume production runs—lots of less than 25 units, However, in 2010 this began to change with our strategic shift to a higher volume of systems and subsystems production. In order to support this shift we instituted a fully staffed, two-shift, CNC machine shop and implemented processes to automate 90 percent of our tooling. As a result, since 2010 we have increased our in-house manufacturing ability by 300 percent.”
Marotta also says that, “The company tripled in size over the last eight years, entirely through organic growth. About two years ago we started planning how to replicate and maximize that growth through 2025.” He adds that a combination of a favorable economy and a broad customer base is helping to achieve this.
“For the past 30 years our business segmentation has been divided equally between marine, space and aerospace. Our diversified mix of capabilities and market segments has provided our company with greater stability; while certain market segments experience slower, longer production cycles such as the marine sector our other segments such as aerospace and weapons are in rapid growth periods.”
Marotta Controls’ considerable reputation as an innovator of new technologies and creative problem solver is another factor behind its continued growth. That is why, for example, Marotta Controls enjoys significant market share for control actuation systems for next generation weapon systems. “We have developed a high profile in offering innovative technical solutions in this segment,” Marotta says. “Out of the last 10 proposals we’ve submitted for our control actuation systems, we’ve won seven.” Additional unique capabilities include electronic motor drives, power supply and power conversion technologies, high pressure pneumatic systems and multi-functional proportional fluid controls.
Commitment to R&D
Marotta adds that, “Since we offer a wide portfolio of products, we tend to have a wide range of competitors who are not necessarily in every market that we are. What differentiates us from our competition is that Marotta Controls invests 20 percent of our revenues back into programs as well as research and development. Our intent is to be on, if not ahead of, leading-edge trends in technology for the industries we serve. Our customers are constantly on the look-out for anything that optimizes size, weight, cost and enhances capability. We provide solutions that address all of these needs and more.”
Case in point is Marotta Controls’ Piezo actuated valves. “A solenoid valve is basically an on/ off switch that is limited to one function. Piezo is a crystal that converts electrical energy to mechanical energy and provides multi-functionality in that it can provide isolation as well as regulation,” Marotta explains. “Instead of needing three mechanical valves in a sub-system to perform three distinct functions, we can design a single Piezo actuated valve to perform the same three functions in one component. The result is less risk in a lighter, smaller system that uses less energy and runs more efficiently.”
While Piezo technology is commercially available, Marotta Controls employs a proprietary system in building its valves. “It’s part of our secret sauce,” Marotta says.
Another ingredient of that secret sauce is employee development. “We partner with vo-tech schools and colleges to offer internship programs. Many of these interns come back to work for us; allowing us to gain new employees who already have Marotta work experience,” he says.
Marotta adds, “People sometimes think working for a small company limits your career opportunities. Our argument is that a small business, specifically one that is growing like we are, offers more career options. Some of our employees have started out in entry-level or administrative positions 10, 20 or even 30 years ago, but as we grew as a company our employees grew with us by gaining more exposure to their area of work and industry knowledge. For example, in 1978 a recent college-graduate started at Marotta as an entry-level engineer. Today, after 40 years at Marotta, he is an Engineering Director heading his market segment’s technical operations and leading a team of engineers. We firmly believe that offering our employees challenges and opportunities provides not only personal and professional growth, but benefits our customers and our business with the support of a highly-skilled, knowledgeable and loyal work force.”