As the first days of summer rear their head in sunny Central Florida—with a balmy feels-like temperature of 103 degrees—what better place to be than a 72 degree glass dome. The Gaylord Palms Hotel in Kissimmee hosted the 2016 ISN Tool Expo on June 24th and 25th to show off the latest and greatest automotive tools and products.
ISN (Integrated Supply Network) is the nation’s largest independent automotive tool and equipment specialist serving wholesalers and distributors throughout North America and the United Kingdom. ISN is comprised of over 500 vendor partners, many of which were present at the 2016 ISN Tool Expo. They have 23 locations in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. which enables them to provide 85% of ordered product within 24 hours anywhere they’re ordered.
2016 ISN Tool Expo Venue
No matter where you entered the Gaylord Palms Hotel, you were met with banners acknowledging the Expo and their vendors. There were also vinyl patches that lined the cobblestone paths, advertising the vendors as well. With a large adult pool and large kid’s pool with slides and more, many of the vendors and patrons brought their families along for the trip.
Food and drinks were at your reach in several different aspects, from sports bar, to coffee shop, to steakhouse and dessert shop. Staying under the same roof was not tough to do even when lodging for several days. Of course, if the family wanted to enjoy exciting adventures outside the hotel; this is Kissimmee/Orlando, so there are a few choices to be made, including one that’s centered around a giant rodent with big ears.
PTR was blessed to be a part of a special tour before the 2016 ISN Expo started on Friday morning. This was a great opportunity to see each vendor and hear what they had to reveal at the show. It also ensured that we saw some of the biggest news ISN had to reveal to the Press.
Ingersoll Rand (IR)
Ingersoll Rand (IR) is set on proving they’re not just a compressor and air impact tool company. Their image rebranding and new tool releases are definitely setting standards in the vehicle service industry. Needless to say, the Ingersol Rand booth was a huge hit. Members of the ISN Expo IR team included product managers, global managers, engineers, marketing folks, and more. If you had a question, they could answer it—on the spot. They had a plethora of new tools at the show, but they showcased just three to our media group.
First up was the G1621 12V Cordless Polisher/Sander. This is a very handy tool for polishing headlights, working around small areas like side-view mirrors, removing gaskets, or even removing pinstripes. The next tool they showed us was the 35MAX 1/2″ stubby impact wrench. It’s just what the name implies—a short and handy 1/2″ air impact. For getting into tight spots, this is the tool you want. Forward and Reverse switching is made easy with the IR proven push buttons that are easily depressed with the user’s thumb.
The last tool we saw from IR was the new Ingersoll Rand IQ V20 Series 3/8″ impact wrench. The cordless W5132 was just released on June 20th, so there was quite the buzz around the booth concerning this new brushless impact wrench. This is the first 3/8″ cordless impact that delivers the torque of a 1/2″ impact. The dial selector on the back of the tool has 4 settings: hand-tight (2-9 ft-lbs), wrench-tight (10-24 ft-lbs), mid power (240 ft-lbs), and full power (340 ft-lbs). The shadowless task light is integrated into this tool as well. It surrounds the entire font of the driver, and its multiple modes can be programmed easily using the trigger when the gear selector is in neutral.
The first stop at the 2016 ISN Tool Expo was to see a first-to-market tool by Milwaukee. Clint, Kenny, and Adam got to see the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL 7″ Variable Speed Polisher (2738-20) at the 2016 Milwaukee New Product Symposium, but it was great to see it for myself. This tool offers the tried and true M18 FUEL platform in a 7-inch polisher. Now, detailers don’t have to worry about that pesky cord that is determined to ruin that perfect finish you’ve worked so hard to get. One 5 amp-hour battery is good enough to polish a full size car. The polisher can be purchased as a bare tool (2738-20), with two batteries and charger (2738-22), or as a full polishing kit with batteries, charger, pads, and cover.
Sunex showed us their Full Drawer Professional Duty Service Cart in special colors: Camo and Pink (Model #8057). Each service cart ships fully assembled with 6 drawers, powder coat finish, 18 gauge (1.2mm) steel construction, and locking top with gas shocks.
In addition, Sunex also gave us a demo of their new transmission jack that is the first of its kind to offer pneumatic and foot-pump lifting. The Model #7796 is a 1000 lbs (1/2 ton) air/hydraulic telescopic transmission jack. Large casters make this hydraulic jack a very maneuverable product, and it looks like something every auto mechanic would want to have in their shop.
The Atlas ML-4034BC-KIT was definitely the largest and heaviest tool demonstrated at the 2016 ISN Tool Expo. This is a 74,000 lbs ALI Certified Battery Powered Mobile Column Lift System. That’s a mouthful—but it’s not hard to grasp. It seems that battery power has now made it possible to even lift heavy trucks, with or without a shop. The new Atlas battery-powered lift will run for 35 cycles before requiring a recharge. Atlas also showed us their alignment system which integrates with a tablet, either Apple or Android. The new app also allows input from the tablet. This is a huge benefit when working at the wheels. Typically, the technician would make necessary adjustments on the vehicle and then have to rubber-neck to see the monitor or walk up to it. With a tablet in hand, he or she can see the results real-time.
Ford Power Tools and Branded Hand Tools
With the auto manufacturer wars never stronger, it makes total sense for hand tools and power tools to be sponsored by such. Ford has done just that—and not for the first time. This time, however, you can buy a cordless drill, wrenches, jacks, gloves, and more with that big blue oval Ford logo—and the latest lithium-ion battery technology. These tools actually look a bit familiar and we’ll look forward to testing them out at some point to see how they fare.
K TOOL International
Tow ropes were course of conversation when visiting the K TOOL booth at the 2016 ISN Tool Expo. With various sizes available, KTOOL has tow ropes for any of your needs—regardless of what you’re trying to pull. For more regular use, these are even available in a convenient zippered nylon bag.
From an array of LED worklights, to toolboxes, to pneumatic saws and torque wrenches, Monster has the products to arm the best technician. The handheld Monster LED light felt great to the touch (almost a velvety rubber grip) and had tremendous light output. Their toolboxes have a distinct look that are very eye-catching, and we look forward to getting our hands on one of these.
We also got a peek at their Low Vibration Air Saw (MST725) which enables any body man to cut body panels with ease. As you can imagine, anything that can cut down on massive vibration when slicing through steel body panels is going to be a popular tool.
Power Probe Tek
The new Power Probe IV (PP401AS) Diagnostic electronic circuit and component tester allows the user to not only identify a short, but it will also tell you how far away you are from the short. The Power Probe IV includes other functions such as digital volt and ohmmeter for circuit testing, large color LCD screen with easy to navigate user menu, AC-RMS, AC Peak to Peak, frequency and pulse width for signal testing, and even Fuel Injector tester for easy circuit diagnosis. It’s like a Swiss Army Knife for troubleshooting automotive electrical systems.
On the Floor
Walking the floor of the 2016 ISN Tool Expo was never a dull moment. You can see everything from wrenches and cordless tools to knives and…well, beef jerky! All of this can and will be sold in your local auto parts store and/or tool truck. It was a great learning experience to talk shop with those that sell tool boxes, band saws, tire changing equipment, diagnostic tools, and much more.
We look forward to following up with many of the manufacturers we met with. There will certainly be no lack of tools for review—and many of them will be a perfect fit for our new sister site, Shop Tool Reviews, which focuses on automotive tools and larger industrial shop tools.