Rock star Mike Oddo, technical sales rep, hilmor tools, jumped out of the hilmor truck to greet me—a huge grin on his face. You could say that he is proud of his job. He has been touring the Midwest with the hilmor truck—decked out with the latest and greatest hilmor products—and he was gracious enough to stop for a Mechanical Hub visit while he was traveling through the Chicagoland area. Let me tell you, the truck is impressive. And, Oddo just had it detailed that morning; it is one sweet-lookin’ ride. The miles, the time, the effort and the occasional white-line fever are paying off for the hilmor™ RETOOL Team. “The response to our visits has been tremendous, very positive,” says Oddo.
Mike Oddo, technical sales rep, hilmor Toos, simulates a HVAC unit test with a Dual Readout Thermometer with Thermocouple Clamps.
Oddo, and five other drivers located across the country (Kansas City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Charlotte and the DC area), are making the rounds, visiting with wholesalers and end users, bringing HVAC/R tool technology to towns across the U.S. In fact, the RETOOL Team, with their customized vehicles, will make appearances at HVAC/R distributors, trade shows and technical schools, introducing industry professionals to the brand and giving them firsthand experience with the tools.
Accompanying Oddo during my visit was Sam Fedewa, director of sales, hilmor tools. “Listening to contractor feedback and frustrations is very important to hilmor. How can we improve on tools that the HVAC/R contractor uses every day?” asks Fedewa.
“A year before we launched hilmor tools, we interacted with thousands of different contractors across the country. We wanted to gauge their opinion of our tools by letting them use and abuse them for testing,” says Oddo.
Oddo opened the truck’s side panels for unfettered access to the products on display. An up-close look at manifolds, bending tools, swage tools and thermostats left me more than impressed. “Marketing and engineering have done their homework,” says Fedewa. (Descriptions of tools on the truck are listed below.)
Besides introducing the new hilmor tools, the vehicle and RETOOL Team also will help technicians evaluate their existing equipment. Manifolds, one of the most used pieces of equipment on the job, are exposed to a lot of wear and tear, causing them to leak. At the thermometer accuracy testing station, technicians are invited to bring in their own manifolds for temperature calibration and can test their own gauges for leaks. Should a hilmor manifold leak in the future, it can be repaired on the spot because the new line is the only one on the market to feature replaceable stainless steel valve seats.
Some of the impressive tools on the truck display include bending tools, a dual readout thermometer, manifolds and swages.
The six premier tools featured on every vehicle are:
• Dual Readout Thermometer with Thermocouple Clamps – This thermometer is the only one in the industry that provides two digital readings to help simplify the calculation of superheat and subcool. It can be used with any manifold or as a stand-alone device.
• Electronic Gauge with Vacuum Sensor – The industry’s first hybrid gauge offers both analog and digital displays for twice the confidence. Built-in features include pressure/temperature data for 39 refrigerants and color-coding so technicians know right away if they’re working with the correct refrigerant.
• Aluminum Manifold (4-Valve and 2-Valve) – Built to last, this manifold comes in two and four-valve combinations and features a forged aluminum body and high-impact gauge boots. Other features include replaceable stainless steel valve seats and front-mounted hose positions.
• Compact Bender – HVAC/R technicians work in tight spaces and need tools designed to access every nook and cranny. The Compact Bender fits where other tools can’t, allowing for tube-bending up to 90 degrees with ease. Additional features include a universal crossbar with color-coded mandrels, a quick-release button to free tubes without damage and a spring-loaded ratcheting lever.
• Compact Swage Tool – With the ability to be operated single-handedly, the hilmor Compact Swage is ideal. Pistol-shaped, it can handle tight spaces and with its hydraulic mechanism, it takes minimal effort to operate. The handle is spring-loaded to control pressure on swages from 5/16” all the way to 1-5/8”.
• Quick-Engage Flare and Swage – A tool that can both flare and swage, this hilmor premier tool also features a clothespin-like clamp to secure tubes, ball detents to easily align the yolk and a comfort grip.
If you haven’t seen the vehicle, you need to check it out when the truck rolls in a city near you. For more information, www.hilmor.com.