Frank Stearns is the President and co-founder of Stedlin Manufacturing. He is a lifelong engineer, inventor, creative thinker and visionary. With numerous inventions to his credit, Frank devises really cool things to solve previously unsolved problems.
An expert designer, craftsman and fine metalworker, Frank has more than 30 years of experience in high tech development and project management. Frank has routinely used compressed air in the development and production of his various inventions. Years of repetitive noise from various types of equipment left Frank with significant hearing impairment.
One noise repeated thousands of times over the years may have contributed to Frank’s hearing loss – the sound of pneumatic tools being disconnected from compressed air systems. Traditional old-school couplers and plugs release pressure with fast and furious force, creating a crushing noise upwards of 125 decibels – about the same as a jackhammer, rock concert or cymbal crash up close.
Frank figured there had to be a better way, which led to Stedlin QuietPlug® technology.
Stedlin = Stearns + Medlin
Concept and design is only part of the equation. Bringing QuietPlug® technology to scale required an extraordinary partnership. So, the Duluth, Minnesota-based inventor partnered with the experienced team at Medlin Construction. A longstanding and reputable builder/contractor, Medlin also has exceptional project management, design and testing skills, along with equipment, physical space, and ability to scale. They also share the same deep commitment to bring meaningful improvement to workshops and jobsites everywhere.
Unified as Stedlin Manufacturing, the team embarked on exhaustive development and ultimately built the proverbial better mousetrap…well, a better standard fitting.
Ingenious in simplicity, yet complex in physics, the team developed the Stedlin QuietHose®, QuietPlug® and Orbital Quietplug® fittings. A specially designed interior bore, combined with a unique Quiet Ultra-Efficient Freeflowing Muffler, allows maximum airflow to the tool. The muffler is essentially a unidirectional flow limiter that releases air pressure in a highly controlled, slow manner when disconnecting from high pressure systems.
The result is remarkable. With Stedlin fittings, air tools can readily tap into compressed air systems with the same tough, reliable connection, but with far less noise and virtually no kickback in the air hose. Stedlin pioneered a better device that sets new standards in workplace ergonomics and helps improve workshop, garage and job site safety.
Today, Stedlin Manufacturing operates from a newly expanded production facility just steps from the shore of Lake Superior. The facility includes state-of-the art, automated fabrication and machining systems, allowing the Stedlin team to mass produce its unique, problem-solving fittings. The team churns out thousands of connectors, each one destined to make it easier, safer, and more pleasant to connect and release air-powered devices.
All Stedlin fittings are designed, sourced and manufactured at the Duluth facility, machined from high quality metal to exacting tolerances. Stedlin fittings undergo rigorous testing to ensure quality and consistency needed for professionals and hobbyists alike.