Jim Zelloe, CEO, John Halinski, President, and Suzanne Daniels, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President
The military capacities of a nation have always played an essential role in defense matters. And these capabilities are led by technological superiority in manufacturing innovative defense equipment. Raloid Corporation, a secure defense manufacturing facility, has been a force multiplier for their defense clients for over six decades. The company offers them the much-required military capabilities with its full-service, certified components for more than 25 major Defense and Aerospace programs, assemblies, and vehicles. Since 1964, the U.S. has trusted the company to manufacture mechanical and other sophisticated parts and components for some of the most critical defense and aerospace programs in recent history. In fact, the company’s products accompanied Neil Armstrong to the moon.
In their 93,000 square foot facility, Raloid is equipped with various CNC machinery, including CNC mills and CNC lathes. The company has seven 5-axis machine vertical centers, horizontal machining centers (one with lights out capability), vertical mills with full 4th axis capability, Reishaw in-machine probing, and an integrated lathe with Fanuc Robotic loading and unloading capability. Additionally, their facility and personnel work with exotic materials such as Beryllium and Albamet. The company is also capable of sheet metal fabrication, welding, and assembly and partners with various organizations to accommodate customers’ plating and heat treating requirements. “We bring everything in-house, so we do not need to outsource any of the manufacturing processes, which is a big factor for our prime contractors and customers,” adds Zelloe.
“We are a very diverse organization, and we believe in partnering with different players in the industry. Raloid follows the fundamental belief that a true working symbiotic relationship with customers should be coupled with long term planning and outlook to achieve their goals,” asserts Jim Zelloe, CEO of Raloid. The company indulges in daily communication with its customers to understand their perspectives, budget, and needs. Based on these criteria, Raloid builds the right designs and strategies to accomplish the required task. This is to align Raloid’s vision of maximizing efficiencies for all parties and global outlook to the demands of the industry in the complete production process while minimizing costs.” We focus on the demands of our clients, working with them to formulate strategy and production methods to deliver everything according to their requisites,” states Suzanne Daniels, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Raloid.
Long Term Planning and Maximization of Efficiencies
Raloid welcomes technological demands with open arms and has implemented robotics to help run machines instead of having individuals stand in front of each machine. This way, the company can allocate its qualified production workers to other areas that require hands-on experience. In fact, Raloid has developed a robotic system whereby two different machines are run by the robotic arm creating 24- hour production that operates in a lights-out manner. To further maximize its efficiency, Raloid recently added two Horizontal machining centers contributing to 35 percent of its lights-out machining capability. In addition to doubling product output, this investment will further stabilize Raloid’s ability to meet the customers’ ever-increasing demands on delivery.
Moreover, Raloid is working on combining three or more machines to automate them so that the operators have less task of managing them, which will again enhance productivity. “Automation and robotics are seen as replacement for humans and have brought a fear of losing jobs among workers. But for us, automation is about augmenting the tasks of workers rather than replacing them,” says Suzanne. As Raloid enhances its productivity on the factory floor by supporting manpower to manage important tasks with automation, it can offer products to clients at much lower prices which further gives the company a competitive advantage.
Quality above All
With high quality at its core, Raloid has an AS9100 quality management system in place, which encompasses all the aspects of manufacturing. The company’s team gets trained on the floor to follow the required procedures and documentation to assure compliance with stringent regulations all along the product development process. Besides, the facility is in full compliance with the NIST 800-171 requirements and is a trusted steward of government data. Raloid adheres to the new CMMC (cybersecurity maturation model certification) per DoD regulations. Similarly, Raloid has first-piece inspections at every step of the production process to verify dimensions and record variable data to ensure that the actual dimensions meet the ones in the print. In addition, the company trains its CNC machine to allow for redundancy and consistency during manufacturing components. Along the way, Raloid’s quality control department works hand in hand with the manufacturing floor to ensure in-process inspections are maintained. In the end, the products go for a final assessment and validation before being shipped to their clients. This way, the company ensures that quality is its core differentiator.
Driving Customer Success
A general sketch of the customer success story is best to describe how Raloid has been able to mitigate its clients' challenges. One of them is WheelTug, an in-wheel electric taxi system under development that will enable airplanes to taxi forward and backward without needing a tow tractor or using main jet engines.
The client approached Raloid to help them with the development process. As it diversifies its offerings, Raloid partnered with WheelTug through the development process in its quest to bring its revolutionary aerospace product to market after almost 20 years of the formulation. Awaiting final FAA approval after successful tests in Memphis, Raloid will be the sole assembly facility for WheelTug in meeting the worldwide commercial aviation needs and desires for this product.
Similarly, Raloid has helped another of its client cut down production costs by over 25 percent. After more than three years of painstaking, methodical analysis for maximizing efficiencies of all inputs necessary for reducing total costs for its products, Raloid and its customer recently entered into a multi-year sole-source production program. for another product.
The Right Balance of Industry Experience and Business Expertise
Raloid’s journey and evolution over the years have been truly inspirational. Realizing the need for complete retrofit and revitalization with the newest in technologies, the reins of the company were sold from its founder to an ownership team led by Jim Zelloe, CEO, a seasoned business lawyer, and John Halinski, President, a retired Marine Corps Officer and former Deputy Administrator of the TSA. Their mission is to not only commence the multi-million dollar 21st-century revitalization but assist in the renaissance of the manufacturing base in the Baltimore metropolitan area. Moreover, Zelloe and Halinski tapped a 35 plus year aerospace veteran Suzanne Daniels, as its Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President to complement and help coordinate the day-to-day management of their vision and direction.
Besides, the company also promotes the development and advancement of its employees. Raloid trains and fosters advancement as employees learn and accumulate knowledge. “So again, it’s the diversification of everyone’s skills, bringing it together to ensure that we are on top of every element that solidifies the company’s ability to support the customers,” says Zelloe. The company looks after the health and overall well-being program for the employees and their families. “We are proud to display our employees with 20, 30 and over 40 years working with Raloid!”
The company’s long-standing position is further strengthened by its plans for setting up partnerships to make inroads into Southern California’s aerospace industry. Apart from this, the company is very proud of its workforce as they are empowered to come up with ideas of how to make things better. “Over the years we have developed our capacity and capability not only externally but internally as well. We have also heavily invested in two specific areas—one is machinery and the other is workforce. We have diversified the workforce over the last couple of years and brought in younger people that are interested in developing within the manufacturing base,” concludes John Halinski, President of Raloid.