2016 August – September

Every contractor loves getting a brand new tool. After all, you rely on tools to install, repair, and service your customers. Every faucet, pipe, valve, and water heater requires proper tools for installation or repair. If you have been to a trade show recently, some of the favorite gathering centers for plumbing contractors are the Read More

Every contractor loves getting a brand new tool. After all, you rely on tools to install, repair, and service your customers. Every faucet, pipe, valve, and water heater requires proper tools for installation or repair. If you have been to a trade show recently, some of the favorite gathering centers for plumbing contractors are the tool manufacturer booths showcasing their latest modern tools with grand presentations and hands-on demonstrations.

Here in 2016, we certainly have some of the latest power and hand tools to make a contractor wish they had an unlimited budget to simply buy them all. New technology, materials, and innovation has driven manufacturers to develop tools that make your job easier, faster, and in the end, more profitable. The days of low powered batteries with short life cycles are gone. Advancements are made in power, torque, battery life, speed, durability, and innovation has even come to the pipe wrench.

Plumbing Perspective reached out to several wholesale plumbing supply companies to find out some of the latest trends in tools contractors are purchasing. We spoke with Ally Steinke, Supply Chain Manager of First Supply in the upper Midwest. Their top three new selling tools are Milwaukee’s M18 Super Hawg, M12 Drain Snake, and the M18 Press Tool. Steinke said, “Contractors like the Super Hawg because it has the capacity and long enough run time to get them through the day. They no longer need cords to run their tool and it has a slipping clutch where it won’t grab if it hits a knot in the wood. And the Drain Snake runs off the M12 battery system so contractors can get through an entire day of service calls on one battery charge.” She notes that contractors should be on the lookout for a new M18 battery from Milwaukee. “This will have the longest run time on the market which will be needed for the high capacity tools.” Steinke added.

We also spoke with Jeff Puckette, National Counter Alignment and Implementation Manager for Ferguson for a view on some of their top selling new tools for plumbing contractors. One of their top new sellers is the Ridgid RV 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum. Puckette states that “Ridgid has re-launched their professional-industrial grade wet/dry vacuum cleaners. The unique feature of this model – originally launched in late 2015 – is the motor is positioned on the bottom, providing stability and easy access for filter maintenance and debris removal.” Milwaukee’s latest tools are hot items with contractors also as Puckette adds, “Milwaukee has launched a significant amount of innovative new products in multiple categories over the past two years. Two prevalent products for our customers are the M12 drain snake and a pipe wrench with an integrated cheater bar. And you cannot have a discussion about new Milwaukee tools without mentioning their One-Key™ Bluetooth technology and app which allows owners to customize, track and manage tool performance and location.” There are some exciting new tools launching soon says Puckette, “DeWalt has many product launches scheduled for the upcoming months, with a lot of excitement building around the release of their new FLEXVOLT battery platform. These batteries can alternate between 20V and 60V, depending upon the tool platform needs. The technology also allows tools that previously required a power source to be able to run cordless. Another item worth mentioning is the new 20V Max* Cordless Thread Rod Cutter which allows for cordless cutting of steel bars in the field.”

As a contractor, tools are your livelihood. They need to perform effectively under the most rugged and stressful conditions. They must be reliable and perform the function they were purchased for effectively every time. In the end, each tool should come with a return on investment. Some allow you to install products for customers that would be difficult or impossible to install without the proper tool. Others simply save you time and efficiency, allowing you to finish a job quickly and move on to the next job to take on additional business. In some cases, this allows you to offer reduced pricing to customers to win a bid over your competition and still provide the same quality with reduced installation and service time. This is especially key for commercial contractors that can couple a product and an installation tool that can offer lower construction cost because of the reduced labor costs on a job. For residential plumbers and contractors, imagine being able to fit another job in every day with tools to help reduce service time.

Plumbing Perspective has reached out to some of the top tool manufacturers in the trades to compile some of the hottest trends in power and hand tools for contractors in the plumbing trade. These names have become staples in the industry such as Milwaukee, Ridgid, DeWalt, Bosch, Rothenberger, and Hilti. In another article, we show you the Top 15 New Tools that have been introduced in 2016 to improve service performance and your bottom line.

Check out the Top 15 NEW Tools for 2016

Contractors are very passionate about the tools they use and the brands they buy. After all, every installation and repair needs one.  Plumbing Perspective reached out to contractors, wholesalers, and tool manufacturers to find out what the top new power and hand tools are for contractors and plumbers. We’ve listed each one of them for Read More

Contractors are very passionate about the tools they use and the brands they buy. After all, every installation and repair needs one. 

Plumbing Perspective reached out to contractors, wholesalers, and tool manufacturers to find out what the top new power and hand tools are for contractors and plumbers. We’ve listed each one of them for your benefit.

 

1. Milwaukee: The Cheater™

milwaukee-tool-cheater-pipe-wrench

The Cheater™ Pipe Wrench is the first adaptable pipe wrench in the industry. Through its new-to-world, 3-length adaptable design, the Cheater™ gives users ultimate versatility on jobs that previously required multiple sizes of traditional pipe wrenches. The Cheater™ is joined by a full line-up of entirely new steel and aluminum pipe wrenches.

 

2. DeWalt: Press Tool DCE200

dewalt-plumbing-press-tool

Capable of pressing pipe fittings from 1/2″ to 4″ in copper and stainless steel pipe. The Press Tool is capable of completing the full range of presses listed above and is compatible with a wide range of crimping heads and attachments for different materials and applications. The head of the tool pivots 320° to maneuver in tight spaces and the crimping jaws are protected from corrosion with a black galvanized coating. This tool also features the Crimp Connect™ System, a bright LED work light that helps to illuminate the workspace and an LED panel which powers on or off the tool, indicates battery state of charge, cycle completion, and if recalibration or service of the tool is needed. It also includes a shoulder strap for convenience when transporting around the jobsite.

 

3. Rothenberger: ROCAM 4 WiFi with Touch screen

rothenberger-rocam-4-wifi-with-touch-screen

Compact, self-contained pipe and drain camera inspection system ideally suited for plumbing and pipe work contractors, drainage technicians and emergency maintenance companies.

The ROCAM 4 is suitable for pipework 40-300 mm diameter and supplied with the 30 m x 7mm pushrod as standard which can be extended by 8m with the addition of the optional mini module. 30mm diameter self-levelling, waterproof with 25 LEDs, which all capture both video and still images which can be viewed on the 10.4 removable touchscreen monitor.

The system is housed in a tough ABD body and is powered by a Li-on 18v 3Ah rechargeable battery and an optional 230v, 50-60Hz mains pack is also available.

Key Features:

  • Direct recording both still and video images with in-built editing options
  • On-screen keyboard and menus for making, naming and highlighting damage
  • Wi-Fi transmission of both picture and video to external devices such as Tablet/Phone
  • Mini-USB connection and SD Card for data storage
  • Self levelling camera head
  • Transmitter frequency 33HZ for use with the ROLOC PLUS locator or other receivers

 

4. Bosch: HMD200 Daredevil™ Hole Saw

bosch-daredevil-hole-saw-for-contractors

Bosch’s premium carbide teeth mean greater speed, time savings and a better result on the job. This results in fast, clean holes in multiple materials: wood, drywall, tile, brick, block, cement block and aluminum. The new Daredevil hole saw offers up to 10x greater speed, longer life than a Bi-Metal hole saw. The cup is 50 percent deeper than standard hole saw to accommodate more applications. Plus, the multipurpose pilot bit is optimized to material so the right bit always fits the right application.

 

5. Milwaukee: M12™ Drain Snake Kit

milwaukee-tool-m12-drain-snake

The ultimate service plumbing solution for tough jobs through 2-1/2” drain lines; and weighing only 10 lbs., it’s the lightest professional drain cleaner on the market.  It’s unique, hybrid design provides the benefits of both handheld and floor based drain cleaners in one machine.  The tool’s fixed drum shield with flat base protects users and fixtures while providing maximum tool support for easy cable feed. Powered by REDLITHIUM™ Battery Pack which delivers more work per charge and more work over pack life.

 

6. RIDGID: STRAPLOCK® Pipe Handle

ridgid-straplock-pipe-handle

This Pipe Handle simplifies the installation and maintenance of large diameter plastic pipe by helping
users securely grip the pipe and apply force in all directions.

The Pipe Handle grips plastic pipe 3 to 8 inches in diameter, features rapid size adjustment to quickly move between pipe sizes and has a specialized strap that provides maximum grip while minimizing marring. Its fixed handle position helps align and hold joints in place while glue sets.

It is ideal for wet and cold environments where getting a grip on pipe can be difficult, gives maximum leverage in tight quarters and has an innovative locking design for quick applications. The handle can also be used in pairs to aid in complex installations.

 

7. ROTHENBERGER: ROBEND® 4000 Bending Tool

rothenberger-robend-4000-bending-tool

This new tool comes with all of the same features and benefits of its predecessor, the ROBEND® 3000, this new tool offers precise cold powered bending on pipes with a larger diameter (up to 1 3/8 inch).

The ROBEND 4000 makes easy work of production bending, eliminates the purchase and storage of unnecessary fittings, and increases work safety with few joints. ROTHENBERGER’s patented ROLUB system has less friction and creates smooth, precise bends each time.

Other features include:

  • Production of repeated alternate angled bends
  • Automatically shuts off when desired angle is obtained
  • Strong enough for bending stainless steel

 

8. DeWalt: Threaded Rod Cutter DCS350

dewalt-threaded-rod-cutter-tool

Capable of quickly and cleanly cutting a range of threaded rod sizes including 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ mild steel rods and ¼”and 3/8” stainless steel rods. The four sided rotatable cutting die allows the user to cut each of the three different sizes of threaded rod with the same tool just by rotating the cutting dies to the size needed. The unit does not create chips or sparks while cutting, providing a burr-free cut that can easily be threaded onto fasteners. The Threaded Rod Cutter is part of the DEWALT Perform & Protect™ line of power tools which is designed to provide a high level of one or more of the following: control, dust containment, or low vibration, without sacrificing performance. The Threaded Rod Cutter eliminates fast moving cutting blades or wheels which can bind up when cutting or trimming threaded rod.

 

9. Milwaukee: M18 FUEL™ SAWZALL® w/ ONE-KEY™

milwaukee-tool-m18-fuel-sawzall-one-key

Cutting faster than corded, the M18 FUEL™ SAWZALL® w/ ONE-KEY™ delivers over 40% more run time and 5X longer tool life – making it the most powerful 18V cordless reciprocating saw on the market. Compatible with ONE-KEY™, users will be able to customize the tool’s performance for unrivaled productivity, as well as track and manage the tool through the app.

 

10. Bosch: PS42 12V Max EC Brushless 1/4″ Hex Impact Driver

bosch-12v-brushless-impact-driver-for-contracotrs

The Bosch PS42 is the first 12V EC brushless impact driver from Bosch, and the smallest in its class. The Bosch PS42 delivers a maximum torque rating of 975 In.-Lbs. and weighs just under two pounds (and that’s with a 2.0 Ah battery). The EC brushless motor provides improved motor efficiency, which results in longer runtime, a more compact size, and lighter weight. In addition, the EC brushless motor provides 2x the life of the previous generation due to less heat generation and fewer components that can wear down. The PS42 also sports the Bosch Performance Control System, which allows users more control by adjusting the maximum speed and torque. An included belt clip provides quick and easy storage, while the three-ring LED light illuminates even the darkest work spaces.

 

11. DeWalt: 20V MAX* XR® System

dewalt-20v-max-xr-system

The Drill/Driver and Hammer drill, each feature a powerful brushless motor that supplies 820 Units Watts Out (UWO) for a faster application speed. DEWALT’s proprietary 3-speed transmission delivers maximum power and speed for the tough applications, including 2-9/16” self-feed bits. At just 8.4 inches long and 4.7 pounds, DEWALT’s Premium 3-Speed Hammer drill (DCD996) features up to 2.8X faster application speed at 0-38,250 BPM and 2,250 RPM, is up to 82% more powerful, and provides up to 2.8X more runtime. An ultra-bright 60-Lumen LED light at the base of each unit has three settings, including a spotlight mode with 20-minute delay optimal for dimly lit areas on jobsites. Featuring durable nitro-carburized metal ratcheting chucks and comfortable handle grips, these tools are GUARANTEED TOUGH® for durability on the jobsite and include coated and sealed switches that help to resist moisture and dust contamination.

 

12. HILTI: TE 4-A18Cordless rotary hammer

hilti-te-4-a18-cordless-rotary-hammer

The TE 4-A18 is a hand-held, 18-volt cordless rotary hammer for drilling in concrete, masonry, steel and wood and for driving and removing screws. It has a specially designed hammering mechanism for superior drilling performance up to 1/2″. Features include single impact energy: 1.5 ft-lbs, reduced hammering frequency: 5200 impacts/minute, and rotation speed gear 1 under no load: 1090 rpm.

It even includes an electronic overload protection system. The TE 4-A18 switches off automatically in the event of overloading. When the control switch is released and then pressed again, the power tool immediately regains full power. In addition, the temperature of the power tool’s electronics is monitored to ensure extra-long life. In the event of the electronics overheating, the drive spindle will not rotate even when the control switch is pressed fully. The power tool can be used again as soon as the temperature is within the permissible range.

 

13. RIDGID: MR-10 Magnetic Locator

ridgid-mr-10-magnetic-locator

This Magnetic Locator is designed to make finding buried iron and steel objects faster and easier. The MR-10 provides more precise readings than metal detectors, isolating only ferrous objects (iron-containing), and ignoring non-magnetic metals such as aluminum and copper.

The MR-10 quickly finds buried property-marking pins, paved-over manhole covers, turf covered valve boxes, septic tanks, cast iron pipe and drainage grates, as well as hidden pipes and studs in buildings. It accurately locates objects at great depths.

Its sleek form and ergonomic design make it easy to handle for use in general plumbing and public works. The sensitivity level can be adjusted to identify the precise location of ferrous metal objects at depths of up to 10 feet, depending on the iron content.

 

14. Bosch: GCL 2-160 Self-Leveling Cross-Line Laser with Plumb Points

bosch-cross-level-with-laser-for-contractors

The Bosch GCL 2-160 self-leveling cross-line laser with plumb points delivers all-in-one versatility for the pro who only has room for one cross-line laser tool in his toolbox. The highly visible lines and points can be turned on independently or together for horizontal level, vertical level and plumb transfer applications. This laser has a visible range of 65 ft., and the receiver mode allows it to work with a Bosch line laser receiver for a working range of up to 165 ft. The GCL 2-160 features VisiMax™ technology, which monitors power consumption to maximize line visibility and extend battery life. The smart pendulum system self-levels the tool, and it indicates out-of-level condition. The manual mode locks lines for use at any angle by just switching the tool on in locked mode. Plus, it features a robust construction – IP54 ensures splash water/dust protection for years of dependable operation. It comes with the RM 1 magnetic rotating mount that rotates 360° and includes a ceiling grid clip for use in ceiling-grid applications.

 

15. Milwaukee: M18 Radius™ LED Compact Site Light

milwaukee-tool-m18-radius-led-compact-site-light

Aptly named for its ability to fill an entire workspace with 360 degrees of light, this new high-output area light provides maximum coverage for task, area, or overhead applications. For the most complete control over light positioning, the Site Light’s 360 degree light can be directed through the use of Bay Switches. It also has the versatility to hang upside down or horizontally through the use of integrated hanging features.

 

CONCLUSION
Each of these new tools offer capabilities that can help contractors save time during installation, improved quality, increased durability, and raise profits by being able to service more jobs every day. We look forward to the advancements made next year and show the top tools of 2017.

 

Every four years we see the ultimate triumph of athletes who become the best in the world at the summer Olympics. They defy odds, persevere against hope, and break records to win the gold medal to be crowned champion. We see a brief glimpse of the race, sometimes lasting but a few seconds. But what Read More

Every four years we see the ultimate triumph of athletes who become the best in the world at the summer Olympics. They defy odds, persevere against hope, and break records to win the gold medal to be crowned champion. We see a brief glimpse of the race, sometimes lasting but a few seconds. But what we don’t see is what counts. It’s the four years “before” the Olympics that really set the stage for winning. It is no different for contractors in the plumbing trades.

Olympic athletes spend endless hours every day practicing and perfecting their skills. They set very specific goals, make a plan, dedicate themselves to do it, and then put that plan into action with all their heart. Whether an athlete or a business owner of a plumbing company, it’s the process before winning that’s the key. In addition, past failures and circumstances can stay in the past to press forward toward the mark of achieving your goals. We can take a look at the Olympics in Rio for some great lessons.

The first is from the fastest man in Rugby, American, Carlin Isles.   He begins and interview with a reporter and says, “I should not be here”. He remembers his mom getting hauled away for repeated drug busts and was placed in a temporary foster home when he was 8. He could not read, write or even do basic math. He started playing football at the age of 8 and quickly noticed a talent for both football and track. At the age of 21, Carlin moved to Aspen, Colorado to play Rugby and put all his eggs into this one basket with no money, no parents, and put it all on the line.

He remembered a preacher had once told him, “What God puts in your heart, he will equip you to do.” This message clicked when he played Rugby. He runs the 40 yard dash in 4.22 seconds and is billed the fastest man in Rugby. In addition to constant training, you need some financial help for the Olympics however. A gym owner in Canton Ohio heard of him, sponsored his private training, and even bought him a car. The gym owner, Chris Maggiore said he believed in him, and feels like he is a good judge of character. Carlin Isles dedicated himself and found a way to make it to achieve his goal of playing on the US Rugby team.

Gabby Douglas is a famous Olympic Gymnast. She won gold in 2012, and another in 2016 for the women’s team all-around. Her early life was very tough as her family was homeless and living out of a van for almost a year after she was born. They soon moved in with relatives but her father left the family soon after. She and her three siblings were raised by her mom and it was one of the roughest times in her life.

When she was 14, she moved away from friends and family in Virginia Beach, VA. to learn gymnastics in Iowa under the direction of Liang Chow. He is very demanding, but fair, and had this to say about Gabby. “Every athlete has strengths and weaknesses, but the purpose must be there. I can see the ones who have mental toughness and determination and they stand out. Facing tough times may have helped her performance on the gym floor”, said Chow. It can be harder for someone to stay at the top of their game when winning is always effortless, never experiencing disappointment or difficulty. Gabby had the determination to dedicate herself to achieve her goals and held steadfast. She didn’t win a gold after 6 months or a year of training, it took a full four years of hard work most are not willing to do. There are others with great skill like Gabby, but they don’t have the purpose and dedication to continue working diligently day after day for years.

This does not come with trials however. And often there comes a gut-check moment to stay the course or retreat. Just two weeks before the 2012 Olympics, Gabby told her mom she wanted to quit gymnastics. She had moved to Iowa for over two years, was homesick, and ready to move back. She told her mom she could work at Chick-fil-A and run track on a city team. During this emotional trial, it took several mother-daughter talks and determined to stay the course. She has been rewarded with Olympic gold two Olympics in a row. Plumbing Contractors run into this same scenario, stay the course, or retreat while you have a chance because it’s difficult and your reward is not in your hands yet.

Now not every battle or event is won. All the dedication and training comes with zero guaranties. But more often than not, you will come out near or on top. In the 2012 Olympics, Missy Franklin won 4 out of 5 possible gold medals. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio, she finished near last in the 200 meter freestyle and didn’t even qualify for the finals of the 200 meter backstroke event she won 4 years ago. She met a reporter after the race and was asked how she felt. She was disappointed but shared this wisdom. She is a young woman who swims, but swimming does not define her. She also said she had to stay focused for the next race in two days. Franklin said, “It’s incredibly frustrating, I need to keep my head up and I need to keep fighting, and that’s what I’m going to do.” She did win gold in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay with her US swimming team. When a contractor works hard and you follow your plans diligently to achieve your goals, even as a business owner, eventually you’re going to win.

And how could Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in history not be mentioned. He lost to Chad Le Clos in 2012 in the 200 meter Butterfly. Here in 2016, they were both in the ready room with Le Clos shadow boxing right in front of Phelps, who ignores him. Phelps stayed the course even under intimidation and persevered by winning yet another gold. One photo shows Le Clos next to Phelps, looking at him as he cruises ahead to win. Michael Phelps put it all on the line and went all in without a guaranty of winning, knowing what could be said and written about him if he lost to LeClos again, even with all his other triumphs. How often most of us back down in in our business lives under such pressure.

What messages can we get from these stories? It doesn’t matter what has happened in your past business adventures or failures, you can still triumph over what seems to be impossible odds. It takes determination and guts to do what needs to be done when life and business is extremely difficult, especially when it gets close to making perhaps the final big decision that once put in motion, can’t be stopped. It takes a strong commitment to succeed, knowing you win some and may lose some. But without the goal setting, planning, and the many days of hard work, you never win. As they say in poker, sometimes you just have to go all in.

Finally, no one said it would be easy. We may have to make sacrifices and sometimes the cost can be great being a successful plumbing contractor. You may not get the gold sometimes like Missy Franklin. But without following through when it’s difficult or you feel intimidate, you certainly will never win like Michael Phelps.