DALLAS - The tools of the HVAC trade extend beyond air conditioners, people skills, and work trucks. Technicians require tools that not only get the job done, but also make their work easier and faster. Many new tool products were shown at the 2007 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), but manufacturers concentrated this year’s tool offerings on dependability, safety, and technician comfort.


Act Fastening Solutions(www.actfs.com) featured a cable tie removal hand tool that ensures wire bundle protection. According to the company, the safety guards slide behind the tie, easily protecting the wires. Available in three different models, it fits all cable tie sizes, has a scissor action cutter, an auto return spring, and is made from heat-treated, alloy steel.

Duro-Dyne Corp.(www.durodyne.com) showcased its new line of reciprocating saw blades. Each blade is constructed of a bimetal alloy that increases its life span and flexibility, according to the company. It fits all reciprocating saws using a 1/2-inch universal shank. The blades are available for five different applications: general purpose, plaster and drywall, wood with nails, heavy duty, and metal cutting. The teeth are hardened, giving the blades a high-speed cutting edge. Available in sizes from 6 to 12 inches long, increased blade thickness also helps the blade resist overheating and embrittlement.

Superior Tool Co.'s UltraCut™ cordless tubing cutter is a hand-held rechargeable tool that cuts 1/2- and 3/4-inch pipe.

General Tools Mfg. Co. LLC(www.generaltools.com) introduced its new UltraTech™ line of specialty tools. Currently consisting of over 150 different tools, this line features the Versa-Grip™ handle. Versa-Grip has an eight-sided cushion grip and contoured head. It is ergonomically designed to offer four distinct grip positions. The precision grip is for low-torque fastening and delicate jobs, the palm control grip is for normal fastening, the positioning grip is for accurate placement and precision cutting, and the power grip is for high-torque fastening.

Klein Tools®(www.kleintools.com) expanded its insulated nut driver product line to include nine new drivers with 6-inch shafts. These drivers have a full hollow shaft, allowing full engagement with the nut to hold fasteners securely in place and provide additional distance from energized sources. The nut drivers have two layers of insulation to protect against electric shock and feature Tip-Ident® - color codes that quickly identify the driver size.

Leica Geosystems(www.disto.com) displayed its new Disto™A8. The laser distance meter is combined with a three-fold, digital zoom and a tilt sensor. Measuring up to 200 meters with a target plate, this tool will also measure up to 100 meters without any aid, using Power Range Technology™. The unit has 16 greyscales and is equipped with on-screen zoom level display, crosshairs, and adjustable brightness settings. The A8 also measures indirectly and can function in spite of obstacles.

The PODLight® is a 3-in-1 cordless, rechargeable, hands-free LED work light, flashlight, and flashing safety probe that is virtually shatter proof.

Lenox®(www.lenoxsaw.com) showcased a new line of snips and HVAC tools at this year’s expo. The six new snips include left, right, and straight aviation snips; bulldog snips; and left and right offset snips. The new HVAC tools include a 3- and 5-inch blade crimper, a notcher, a snap lock punch, a seamer, and a pipe duct cutter. According to the company, the snips line is equipped with a reinforced chrome silicone spring, over-molded handles that won’t slip or twist, and color coding on both the blades and the handles for quick tool recognition.

Lujan USA(www.lujanusa.com) featured its new PODLight®, a 3-in-1 cordless, rechargeable, hands-free LED work light, flashlight, and flashing safety probe. It has a 360-degree repositional collar with a magnet attachment and a fully rotating nylon hook for hanging. The rubber housing makes the light weather resistant and reliable in all indoor and outdoor weather conditions, according to the company. The PODLight is also impact resistant and its LED bulbs will not shatter or fail when dropped on hard surfaces.

Malco Products Inc.(www.malcotools.com) introduced its newly redesigned foamboard stapler and multibarbed staples. The patent pending stapler operates from a standing position, is lightweight, and has an ergonomic D-grip handle. It is designed to prevent jamming by using magazine loading strips of staples joined with a plastic weld, allowing the staples to separate cleanly. The nonjamming system also employs a leaf spring controlled stop that automatically adjusts to set up a staple and guide it through the fastening mechanism.

The MicroRay™ IR-100 thermometer is a noncontact infrared thermometer that provides temperature readings via a Class II laser.

The new multibarbed staples increase the “bite” and holding power of each staple. According to the company, these 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-inch staples actually double the holding power. The staples can be used for PEX and foamboard insulation installation.

Midwest Tool and Cutlery Co.(www.midwestsnips.com) highlighted its new Power Cutter™. This 3-inch, serrated blade, long cut snip is a multipurpose compound leverage cutter for use on materials such as vinyl, carpet, heavy gauge plastic, reinforced industrial hose, gasket/belting, and metal. The snips have hot drop-forged blades that, according to the company, are virtually unbreakable, hold an edge best, and won’t spread when cutting the toughest materials. It has an 8:1 power ratio and cuts all the way from pinch point to the tip.

Ridge Tool Co.(www.ridgid.com) introduced the Ridgid SeeSnake micro™ and the MicroRay™ IR-100 thermometer. According to the company, the SeeSnake micro inspection cam-era allows contractors to see into almost any space such as inside ductwork and walls, around equipment, and behind wiring. It comes with three attachable accessories that allow the tool to look around corners, retrieve objects, and pick up small metal items. The high-resolution camera sits at the tip of a flexible 3-foot cable and relays images back to a 2.5-inch, color LCD screen attached to a pistol-grip handle. The camera is equipped with fully adjustable LEDs.

These full hollow shaft insulated nut drivers from Klein Tools protect against electric shock and allow full engagement with the nut.

The MicroRay IR-noncontact infrared thermometer provides temperature readings via an ultra-sharp, Class II laser. It has a sensitivity reading from –22° to 932°F (-30° to 500°C) within 2.7° accuracy.

The MicroRay also features a 15:1 optical spot range ratio. An emissivity setting allows users to measure the temperature of multiple material types without applying tape or paint to the object being measured, in order to standardize temperature readings.

Shook Manufactured Products Inc.(www.shookmfg.com) displayed its “Jiffy” Tuff copper tubing bender. The bender may be used on soft copper pipes 3/8 inch to 7/8 inch; thin-walled pipe; coated soft copper tubes 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch; and multilayer composite tubes 10 mm to 22 mm. A hard plastic case is available.

Superior Tool Co.(www.superiortool.com) showcased its UltraCut™ cordless tubing cutter. This hand-held rechargeable tool cuts 1/2- and 3/4-inch pipe in three seconds, according to the company. After snapping the tubing in and pressing the button, the tool automatically repositions itself for the next cut. Its small turn radius makes it ideal for tight spaces. A nickel-metal hydride battery, charger, and storage bag is available for the UltraCut.

Publication date:02/19/2007