MarShield is one of three divisions of Mars Metal Company, located in the industrial centre of Canada: Burlington, Ontario. It enjoys the area’s proximity to major power and nuclear operations, access to resources and raw materials and capitalizing on the region’s extensive infrastructure, including rail, highway, air and marine transportation options. It also has a highly-skilled local workforce from which to draw.
Mars Metal Company started as a small ‘one-pot’ foundry, established by Philip Milne, whose son Kevin Milne is now serving as company president. The company initially produced lead solder for automotive and plumbing applications in addition to manufacturing custom castings. It quickly evolved into three divisions with three distinct purposes, all centred on lead casting. Mars Metal Company began producing lead keels for luxury and competition boats, such as sailboats and yachts. The MarsKeeldivision developed a large repertoire of clients, first solidifying its place in the Canadian market and entering the U.S. market in the mid-1980s before becoming a player in the international market.
MarsKeel is involved from the early design phases to execution and has had great success working with companies worldwide. It has earned recognition for its customized work, as some of the keels can exceed $250,000 and are used in boats valued at $8 million to 10 million. Each year, MarsKeel maintains a presence at industry shows, such as the Monaco Yacht Show. MarsKeel can transfer 200,000 pounds in a single pour, although its largest single pour was just under 155,000 pounds. This project was for Hogdgon Yachts of Maine and was the biggest single-pour keel in North America.
MarsKeel has also become a supplier of choice of Southern Winds Yachts of South Africa, breaking into that market just under a decade ago. At that time, the production boat market had weakened and the custom super yacht market was gaining momentum.