Day One – SEMA Show 2016
We just wrapped up our first day at the SEMA Show 2016. What was supposed to be a day full of video shooting and social media posts turned into just pictures posted to social media. Some moron forgot the mic in the hotel room. Oh yeah, that moron was me! We made the most of it, and, in the end, it turned out very well.
For those of you who haven’t been to the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, it covers the whole Las Vegas Convention Center, and then some. There are 16 different sections where nearly 2,400 exhibitors showcase their latest and greatest products. Included among these 16 is the Tools and Equipment area, where we spent the majority of our day.
SEMA Show 2016 Coverage
This happens to be the 50th year of the SEMA show, hence starting back in 1963. The SEMA Show 2016 provides attendees with educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, networking opportunities and more. Last year, there were more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers. The New Products Showcase featured nearly 2,500 newly introduced parts, tools and components.
All of Vegas is aglow with the presence of the auto-related show. Once we got off the plane and jumped in our Uber ride, we immediately spotted exotic cars on the streets, as well as custom trucks, hot rods and race cars. The Vegas Strip carried even more of the exotics and customs, and everywhere we looked were reflections of performance-related vehicles and parts.
From turbos and superchargers to tools and floormats, the SEMA Show 2016 has it all. If there is a company that deals with the auto industry, there is a good chance they’re here at the show. We’ll give you the rundown of some of the tools displayed on this first day.
Cordless and Air Tools
We spotted the Extractor, which is a modified Milwaukee recip saw made for cutting out windshields in vehicles. This has been a well-tested and proven tool in the auto glass industry for over a decade. Notice the Velcro straps cradling and supporting the M28 battery; this is to keep the battery from detaching itself when this tool violently shakes when cutting through urethane around windshields. I have quite a history with one of those in my hand.
Central Pneumatic (CP) had their CP8848 20V 1/2” impact wrench that provides more than 850 ft/lbs of torque for the technician, using their new 6.0 Ah battery. In addition, CP was also showing off their 30-100 ton air hydraulic jacks; we love how these work. AC Delco Tools continues to add to their cordless line of tools, including their new 20V brushless riveting tool with auto-reverse. Also, they showed us a first look at their compact 20V 3/8” drive cordless impact. We should be getting our hands on one of these soon for testing. AC Delco Tools will be releasing several new tools in the coming months, and they’re striving to penetrate the pro market.
Big Ass Solutions (Big Ass Fans) showed us an interesting concept for the LED cordless shop lighting world. This is the Panzer LED light and stand. The stand can be purchased with as little as one light to as many as you want. The Panzer system runs on AC or DC, and the batteries charge when plugged into AC. These individual LED lights go from 80-5000 lumens each. Batteries for the Big Ass Panzer last anywhere from 1.5 hours to days, depending on the brightness setting. Big Ass is taking this to crowd funding for the next step, before launching.
Compressors and Accessories
Ingersoll Rand has been leading the compressor industry for nearly a hundred years. Their rotary compressors run quiet enough, that we had a full conversation with the IR product managers while standing right beside it. We discussed their SimplAir all metal piping system that simplifies running air lines in a shop, with little need for specialty tools. We should be retrofitting a shop soon with this system, so we’ll have some great firsthand experience.
Products related to keeping your vehicle looking clean and flawless were abundant. With this, there were plenty of polishers to boot. It was obvious that the go-to polisher for the larger majority of detailers at the SEMA show 2016 was the Flex. These variable speed polishers deliver smooth and power dual-action strokes to the finish to ensure an impressive finish. Also to note were the Rupes polishers, as they too are the choice of many car detailers. We spotted a few of the Rupes that were customized, painted and pinstriped.
Knipex is known for their German engineering and quality hand tools. They showed us the new 4014250 pivoting jaws gripping pliers. They have a flexible jaw that grips well on round, flat, or square material. These are yet to be released, so look for them in the coming months. Channellock has an interesting take on a hybrid adjustable wrench. This brand new tool has a reversible jaw that will switch between duties as an adjustable wrench and that of a pipe wrench. The jaws seemed to bite very well on the round galvanized pipe we tried it on. We’ll be sure to get our hands on these new tools from Knipex and Channellock very soon.
Day One Wrap Up
In preparation for our first trip to SEMA, veteran show-goers told us that we could walk for days and not see it all. This is not a lie. After a full day of walking and talking, we didn’t even cover the North Hall.
Our first day was a huge hit in my eyes. We had the opportunity to speak with many product managers, engineers and executives with a multitude of tool companies. We know that we get excited here at STR about tools and reviews, but we always wonder what the manufacturers think. It was very affirming when the companies were both aware and appreciative of the work we do here at Shop Tool Reviews.