Members of the Mac Tools Top Fuel Team crew on hand for the press conference are, at left: Mike LaJoice, Will Reed, Jim Oberhofer, Duston Cowen, Anddrew Waits, Jesse Snyder and Rachel Brunner.
Brett Shaw welcomes attendees to the Mac Tools press conference.
Robert Holmes, right, and John Castelino expand on Mac Tools' commitment to product innovation.
Jeff Connnell demonstrates new a 1/2" cordless impact tool.
Paul Zarlengo demonstrates a new heavy duty light.
Mac Tools' new thematic wraps include a Chip Foose race car.
Mac Tools' new thematic wraps include an autograph design featuring racer John Force.
Mac Tools' new thematic wraps include a "genuine quality" design.
Bob Blue reviews Mac Tools' different screwdrivers in presenting the screwdriver line.
Tom Jech presents the new utility cart.
Jim Oberhofer of Kalitta Motorsports describes the importance of tools to the racing pit crew.
Guy DeCara explains the Mac Tools distributor training program.
Mac Tools has been on a roll with new tools this year, and as 2013 winds down, the company recently held a special press conference at its Westerville, Ohio headquarters to take the wraps of several new tools that have been introduced to the market. On hand for the special unveiling were Mac Tools executives, product managers, leaders from Mac Tools’ parent company Stanley Black & Decker, Kalitta Motorsports and representatives of 15 automotive media outlets.
Brett Shaw, president of Mac Tools, welcomed the attendees and noted the company’s commitment to new product development. “It’s all about innovative products. It’s also about operational excellence,” he said in pointing out that product innovation is the company’s first objective as a tool distributor franchise organization. After product innovation come financing, branding and marketing.
“We think we’re posed for magnificent growth,” he noted.
Shaw turned the program over to Robert Holmes, director of marketing, and John Castelino, director of product and marketing. Holmes noted that the Kalitta Motorsports team was on hand to demonstrate that Mac Tools tools are being used in one of the most demanding automotive maintenance environments. He noted that the Kalitta crew, which was on its way from its headquarters in Ypsilanti, Mich. to Indianapolis, Ind. for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, works on the best cars using the best available tools.
Holmes noted that with a new program called Top Fuel Team Tested and Approved, as Mac Tools develops new tools, Team Kalitta is first to test them. “Ultimately, it’s about making the tool the best possible for the technician,” Holmes said.
Castelino seconded this observation: “We are all about building the best product for the automotive technician."
Castelino said the new tools being introduced are among 500 new products that came to market in 2013. The attendees were then treated to special demonstrations of new cordless power tools, new utility carts, a new screwdriver, new shop lights, and thematic tool boxes.
Cordless Power Tools
Jeff Connell, product manager for power tools, explained the cordless impacts, ratchets and drills built from glass-filled nylon and other quality materials. The tools are built tough to withstand harsh automotive fluids in a shop environment and are powered by DeWalt’s advanced battery, switch and electronic technology.
Connell noted that Mac Tools was able to share DeWalt’s technology in designing professional power tools built specifically for high-torque automotive applications. He said Mac Tools and DeWalt batteries are interchangeable.
Available in both the 12V Max and 20V Max battery platform, Mac Tools new cordless impacts feature die-cast aluminum housings for reduced weight and maximum durability, and a feather throttle for maximum operational control. The impacts also feature an ergonomic handle design with a forward center of gravity to provide superior balance and control that reduces fatigue and improves productivity. Connell demonstrated the impact by removing lug nuts.
Four new world class air tools designed and built tough for automotive technicians.
The new AR Titanium Series close quarter sealed head ratchets include a 3/8" drive (AR038B) and ½" drive (AR050B) models. These tools’ sealed head ratchets were thoroughly tested and approved by professional technicians at automotive, truck, diesel and independent shops, as well as dealerships servicing heavy equipment.
“The new AR Titanium Series ratchets are the most durable and best balanced ratchets we’ve ever designed and built,” said Connell. “Professionals require ratchets that are not only fast, but live up to the rigors of the shop. The AR Titanium Series will change the way technicians view air ratchets.”
The new Mac Tools air ratchets are constructed with titanium sealed heads for reduced weight and maximum durability in the garage. The titanium has superior strength and is more durable than composite and aluminum parts and lower weight than other metals. Mac Tools’ close quarter sealed head design grants better access to tight spots and provides improved durability and reduced maintenance by eliminating the number one issue binding gears in the industry standard pear head design.
The sealed head design also allowed the forward/reverse control to be removed from the head of the tool which prevents trapped tools and allowed for an innovative quick socket release to be added where others put their forward/reverse. Beyond power and speed, technicians stress ergonomics when operating tools on a daily basis. The soft rubber grip combined with the lightweight titanium head delivers superior comfort and balance that reduces operator fatigue during prolonged use.
When high torque requirements are the need in those difficult to reach applications, the new Mac Tools AWA angle impacts will provide the solution. The AWA Series of angle impacts includes the 3/8" drive (AWA038B) and the ½" drive (AWA050B) models. With 200 ft-lbs of nut-busting breakaway torque the AWA050B provides impact wrench power in a ratchet style body.
Heavy Duty Lights
Paul Zarlengo, product manager for diagnostics and lighting, explained the new heavy duty lights, which use both LED and fluorescent lighting. The lights come with hooks and safety warnings, he noted, and have a magnetic base.
The new lights feature a higher wattage of light output to illuminate the work area brighter than normal work lights. Available in 36W and 18W models with 25’ and 1’ SJTOW sub-zero cords with rubber-like jacket, all models offer increased brightness over traditional 26W and 13W lights.
The 36W models provide 1700 lumens light output and the 18W models provide 1130 lumens light output.
The high-impact polycarbonate body with bumper and shatter resistant lens will withstand tough shop environments, while the ratcheting/swivel fold-away hook offers flexibility while working under hood or under body.
“The new Mac Corded light family has a Mac Tools design, look, feel and function,” Zarlengo said. “Each of the lights is very robust with safety features like the removable chrome guard for use near hot surfaces such as exhausts and brakes. Technicians need dependable lighting in the shop and our fast acting ballast/switch ensures the powerful lumen light output comes on fast every time.”
New Screwdriver Line
Bob Blue, product manager for hand tools, explained the new Mac-Grip Screwdriver line designed to maximize torque, reduce slippage, and remove fasteners quickly are available in slotted, Phillips, torx, tamper-proof torx, nut drivers, and square tip.
The design of Mac-Grip screwdrivers is the Quad-lobular, four-sided handle which fits comfortably inside the hand no matter the orientation it lands in, allowing the user to apply even more torque than tri-lobe handle designs while providing reduced handle slippage. The larger main body is ergonomically designed to fit large and small hands and provide the ultimate grip to maximize torque.
An extended thumb rest stabilizes the user’s grip and provides additional comfort and control for optimal torque while the tapered nose provides a “speed grip” to remove a fastener quickly.
“Working in a shop environment invariably means you’ll encounter automotive cleaners and fluids.” Blue said. “Mac-Grip screwdriver handles are made of a nylon alloy blended material
providing maximum chemical and impact resistance.”
New Utility Cart
Tom Jech, product manager for storage, explained the new utility cart, which has a split top shelf work surface has separate storage for a laptop computer and other electronic devices such as a cell phone or tablet. Access to a power outlet located in the top compartment provides power for electronic devices such as charging cordless batteries while keeping them secure. These conveniences allow for greater efficiency by keeping tools right where technicians need them. An optional sliding lower shelf provides easy access to the lower storage area.
The reinforced lower panel gives the MB199UC the strength and durability to move over most shop surfaces. Versatile storage features include a 5-1/4” deep top compartment for deep sockets, four pry bar holders, and 16 holes for screwdrivers and extensions. Corner bumpers (12”) help prevent damage to vehicles when moving the cart through the shop. Each drawer is equipped with 100 lb. capacity ball bearing slides with a soft close feature.
The cart is available separately, an accessory platform allows for storage expansion, adjustability and specialization. A 5-drawer side box provides additional storage and add-on holders are available. A power tool holder will hold up to three power tools and the screwdriver/extension holder will store up to 12 screwdrivers or extensions for quick access. Additional accessories include an extension cord wrap, a trash can holder, an aerosol can holder, and a fluid container holder.
“This cart was designed to meet the demanding needs of today’s technology driven automotive repairs. Having quick access to scan tools and a computer is critical in diagnosing vehicle problems,” Jech said. “Our new utility cart combines convenience and quick access right at the job site.”
Mac Tools presented a line of thematic products to honor its 75th anniversary and its relationships with celebrities. The products will be available mid-September through October of 2013 from Mac Tools distributors and franchisees and will include branded apparel, tool boxes with full graphic wraps, creepers and mechanic’s seats, die-cast cars, and novelty items. Relationships with celebrities such as Chip Foose, Kalitta Motorsports, John Force Racing, the NHRA, and Richard Petty team driver Marcos Ambrose, are designed to help Mac Tools to grow brand recognition with today’s automotive technicians.
Mac Tools line of thematic products will also feature Mac Tools “Wrenching for a Cure” theme to support Breast Cancer Awareness. In 2012, Mac Tools donated over $35,000 to breast cancer research through groups such as The Spielman Fund in the U.S. and also the Canadian Breast Cancer Society.
Along with specialty products, Mac Tools is also announcing three new themed toolboxes. Customers can purchase a Mac Tools MB1000A ToolBox in a special John Force race team design or a Chip Foose custom design highlighting his 1956 Ford truck introduced at the 2012 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Customers can also purchase a Mac Tools MB1080 with a Mac Tools exclusive “classic” car design.
According to Holmes, “Mac Tools has some outstanding relationships with celebrities that not only represent the brand but are long time customers as well. We are proud to introduce these products that carry the brand of our long-time friends and users of Mac Tools. Keep your eyes out for the flyer coming out on Sept. 15.”
Kalitta Motorsports Partnership
Jim Oberhofer, vice president of operations and crew chief for Kalitta Motorsports, discussed the work of the race car pit crew. He noted that the crews have 60 minutes to get a car in top racing condition during races. He noted that the need for great tools is “unbelievable.”
“If it’ll work in our environment, it’ll work anywhere, Oberhorfer said. “It’s amazing the drama that these cars go through.”
As new tools are developed, product managers and engineers will forward a working prototype to the Kalitta Team along with a document explaining the testing procedure. Kalitta team members use the tool, fill out a questionnaire and provide feedback to Mac Tools. The design may be modified and testing repeated until a quality tool is ready to launch. At this time, the tool receives the rating of Top Fuel tested and approved.
According to Tony Merritt, director of Motorsports for Stanley Black & Decker, Mac Tools parent company, “Mac Tools wanted to show the automotive world that strength and durability are key for professional technicians in today’s competitive market. That is why they have partnered with mega-drag racing team, Kalitta Motorsports, to create number one tool company is than by testing our products on an 8,000 Horsepower Top Fuel Dragster!”
Mac Tools Training
Guy DeCara, training manager for North America, described the tool distributor training program. He noted the training includes role playing with customers and sales techniques, such as overcoming objections, along with tips on collections.
DeCara also explained the Mac Tools software for distributors.
Shaw took center stage after the product demonstrations and took questions from the audience. During this session, he noted that the company invests more resources in distributor retention than recruiting.