On the lookout for invention

Aug. 9, 2019
The results are in. See which tools pulled top marks in the 2019 Innovation Awards

Which tool have you used in the last year where you thought to yourself, “This is a gamechanger”? Which tool do you believe has yet to be invented?

In this month’s Big-Time Boxes [p. 62] Curtis Detweiler, owner of Redz Auto Body in East McKeesport, Pennsylvania, houses a great many tools in his 60-foot long, L-shaped Snap-on Mr. Big toolbox, including PDR tools, diagnostic products, metric and standard auto body tools, and mechanical tools. In addition, each one of the stainless steel top boxes has a built-in power supply to ensure his amped-up arsenal is always ready to go.

As vehicles change, a technician’s collection of tools grows -- for reasons of necessity as much as convenience. But what makes a tool truly "inventive"? Sometimes a new product or update is a clear departure from what was used in the past. For example, today shop owners are beginning to use thermal imaging devices to detect heat signatures in vehicles as part of the diagnosis process. You wouldn't have seen this just a few years back.

At other times, the devil’s in the details, and whatever the tool’s innovation - say a new socket design, lighter weight protective gear, expanded software capabilities ... these details may still manage to offer a significant improvement when it comes to time saved, energy put forth, and dollars earned.

This explains why each year PTEN celebrates new and innovative products for shops with its Innovation Awards. We are always looking for the 'What's next' ... big and (seemingly) small. 

In previous issues (May and June) we published all of this year’s nominees. Now the scores have been tallied and the results are in, and I'm excited to share with you the winners for 2019. 

The Innovation Awards are no small feat. This year our editorial team took receipt of nearly 150 entries across 31 categories, solutions for ADAS to Welding and everything in between. In this list, there's sure to be something for everyone. Each entry was a product either introduced to the automotive aftermarket or significantly updated within the last year. Each product is evaluated by a panel of judges made up of technicians and shop owners across the country on their ability to make vehicle diagnosis and repair easier and more efficient … and shops -- like yours -- more productive.

Award-winning companies will accept their Innovation Award in-person at the Automotive Aftermarket Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas at the PTEN booth in November. Be sure to look for more coverage of the 2019 PTEN Innovation Awards and the AAPEX Show this fall.

If you’re attending the show, stop at the PTEN booth to say hello, and tell us which products have made a difference to your business this past year. Even if you won’t be in Vegas, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

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