Re-Tooled

Nov 22, 2011

When times are tight, upgrading your shop’s tools and equipment may not be a high priority. But staying up-to-date on the latest technology can be critical to long-term success for any business.

New tools and equipment keep shops productive, competitive and safer. As the old saying goes, if you want to make a wise investment, invest in yourself.

Shop tools suppliers understand that the economy is just one of many challenges speed shops and builders currently face when considering retooling their facilities. They can also explain how wise investments can more than pay for themselves through increased speed, accuracy and flexibility.

We asked representatives of shops tools and equipment big and small what’s new and what’s hot. Their answers can help educate shop owners and managers on whether it might be time for them to take a look at upgrading their facilities with the latest tools of the trade.

Rottler Manufacturing
Kent, Wash.
Anthony Usher
Vice President of Sales

Our hottest shop tool/equipment is…

…the new F79A Multi-Purpose CNC machining center for small- to mid-range diesel blocks as well as performance racing industry machine work. The F79A is designed to accommodate dual workstations, so a second job can be set up without breaking down the first job.

For example, the F79A can be set up with a 4th axis programmable auto-rotate V block fixture as well as a line bore system or cylinder head surfacing system.

Its best features include…

…simple operation and programming. Rottler’s exclusive Windows Touch Screen software allows novices to learn to program and operate this machine in just a few hours.

The biggest benefit shops see from upgrading their tools/equipment is…

…CNC gives fast and accurate results. CNC machines are complicated, but Rottler has made them easy to learn and operate.

The biggest challenge facing shops looking to expand/upgrade their equipment is…

…operator skill and the wide variety of machine work. The ease of Rottler’s Windows Touch Screen control and multipurpose dual workstation machine allows small shops to do many operations on one machine with little learning curve.

Technology has impacted today’s shop tools/equipment by…

…allowing CNC control to be affordable and profitable for small shops such as race teams and one-man engine rebuilders.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools/equipment is important for shops because…

…their competition is upgrading and they need to keep ahead in productivity and accuracy.

Phoenix Systems, LLC
St. George, Utah
Ben Martinsen
Marketing Director

Our hottest new shop tool/equipment is…

…Phoenix System’s patented Air Assassin Fully Automated Fluid Pump.

Its best features include…

…its ability to attach to most types of pressure bleeder machines that shops have already purchased and may not be using because of lost parts. The Air Assassin also allows the user to control the rate of fluid flow.

It also allows access to Phoenix Systems’ patented Reverse Bleeding Technology in addition to pressure bleeding, bench bleeding and cross bleeding methods. All of this is possible without having to pump a handle.

The biggest benefit shops see from upgrading their tools/equipment is…

…they are able to increase productivity in the shop by upgrading their tools and equipment.

The biggest challenge facing shops looking to expand/upgrade their equipment is…

…deciding when to upgrade and which tools and equipment to upgrade. They need to stay within their budgets so that they are able to offer the same service for the same price.

Technology has impacted today’s shop tools/equipment by…

…allowing even the smaller shops to stay up with technological advances in tools and equipment so that they can stay competitive. It also allows for communication between specialty shops to coordinate in getting projects completed in a timely fashion.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools/equipment is important for shops because…

…they are able to reduce the risk of downtime and they are also able to increase productivity. It also provides the customers the peace of mind in knowing that their shop is keeping up with the advances in tools and equipment.

Scotchman Industries
Philip, SD
Jerry Kroetch
President

Our hottest new shop tool/equipment is…

…Scotchman Industries is now the North American importer for the Almi line of tube and pipe notching machines. They are all designed for notching the ends of tube and pipe to be saddled to another piece of tube or pipe. Examples: gas lines, roll bars, roll cages, hand railings and so on.

Its best features include…

…it makes a perfect saddle that eliminates extra welding of joints.

The biggest benefit shops see from upgrading their tools/equipment is…

…by upgrading equipment, in most cases it allows the operator to make better parts faster. For the company it means more profits.

The biggest challenge facing shops looking to expand/upgrade their equipment is…

…at the moment it’s our federal government not coming together to make good sense of what needs to be done to grow our economy. In other words, shop owners are afraid to spend money.

Technology has impacted today’s shop tools/equipment by…

…allowing us to make better parts faster.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools/equipment is important for shops because…

…if we as owners don’t stay  up-to-date with new tools, our domestic competitors-or worse yet foreign competitors-will dominate our industry.

Graham Tool Co. 
Orange, Calif.
Brian K. Graham
President

Our hottest new shop tool/equipment is…

…Vise Soft Jaws. Due to popular request we have expanded our line of polyurethane soft jaws.

Its best features include…

…the age-old problem of damaging parts in a vise has been solved.

The biggest benefit shops see from upgrading their tools/equipment is…

…it’s not so much about upgrading as it is about building a tool set that does the job long-term. We promote the concept of lifetime tool ownership.

Let’s face it-we live in a disposable society. Computers, automobiles, houses are designed to be obsolete within a set period. However, good quality USA-made tools can last a lifetime.

The biggest challenge facing shops looking to expand/upgrade their equipment is…

…the current economy limits the buying power of the average mechanic. The middle class in the U.S. is struggling with the basic financial necessities of life.

We see firsthand that people are limiting their purchases to immediate tool requirements. Gone are the days of frivolous spending!

Technology has impacted today’s shop tools/equipment by…

…when a person thinks of high-technology automotive tools they generally think of diagnostic equipment such as OBDII readers, etc. Graham Tool tends to concentrate on hand tools.

The technology in hand tools comes in the way of modern manufacturing technologies and materials. These technologies include rapid prototyping and manufacturing. The ability to make new tool concepts quickly has become a reality. This benefits our customers by allowing us to make quick changes or custom tools per request.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools/equipment is important for shops because…

…professional mechanics are looking for efficient new ways to do jobs. Remember the old phrase, “Time is Money.” Quality tools that are designed to do the job right are the cornerstone of the modern mechanic.

Mechanix Wear Inc.
Valencia, Calif.
Cory Houston
Marketing/New Media

Our hottest new shop tool/equipment is…

…the all-new M-Pact glove has undergone a major transformation and we are excited for its release this month. We worked closely with NASCAR pit crews and professional mechanics while the glove was being developed.

The result is a fully functional, tailored tool that exhibits our classic fit and feel. This glove is ideal for automotive applications and a multitude of tough jobs.

Its best features include…

…mechanics demand impressible palm padding and sleek impact protection for absorbing hand force and shock. We worked with PORON Performance Cushioning when developing the palm pads in order to prevent hand fatigue associated with repetitive tasks.

The new sonic-welded rubber on the top hand is a crucial feature for protecting the knuckles and fingertips against impact when diving into engine bays and tight working spaces.

The biggest benefit shops see from upgrading their tools/equipment is…

…hand injuries amount to lost production time, medical expenses and worker’s compensation, which can be avoided with proper protection. Aside from monetary costs, the worker must be conscious of the consequences of excessive wear on their hands.

Protecting your people and increasing productivity is the biggest benefit shops see from using our products.

The biggest challenge facing shops looking to expand/upgrade their equipment is…

…shops face the challenge of allocating room in their budget for hand protection or making it a personal responsibility of their workers.

Technology has impacted today’s shop tools/equipment by…

…new technology has fueled our drive for innovation. New fabrics and processes are utilized to improve fit, feel and function, maximizing individual safety and productivity. Design, teamed with new technology and field testing, has enabled us to stay on top of the industry.

Staying up-to-date with the latest tools/equipment is important for shops because…

…it’s important to evolve with this ever-changing industry. The progression of technology has enabled us to improve the product. New developments have led to improved fit, more dexterity, better padding, stronger materials and more protection with less weight and bulk.

In order for shops to remain competitive, it’s important to be up-to-date with the latest tools and equipment, which will lead to better protection for their workers and increased productivity. Our contribution as a company is to empower the glove user to work faster, safer and cleaner.