Exclusive: Driving tool mount innovation


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Greg Young, Vice President of Pac Tool Mounts reveals the role customer interaction plays in delivering solutions 

Pac Tool Mounts has built a strong reputation within the North American market. Having started out 30 years ago, they work with law enforcement, military and fire departments and have historically driven tool mount innovation. However, Greg Young, Vice President of the company explains how their relationship with those within the industry has shaped how they deliver solutions to the fire industry: “At Pac Tool Mounts, we are well connected with fire personnel here in the U.S and I would like to thank them for the services they provide because this has been a difficult period given the circumstances we have been going through.  

“With regards to what we do with the fire services, we base our understanding of the fire industry on 70 years of building custom fire apparatus through the previous owners of this company which was then known as Young Fire Equipment. This was an extremely innovative truck manufacturer which operated mainly in North and South America. Manufacturing of that stopped in 1991 but in working with all those buyers and fire departments we really managed to grasp what the needs and challenges are as well as what the industry standards are.

“Because of that we develop and test products for the requirements of the fire industry. Our products always align with what we know to be the expectations of the industry. Most importantly, we actively support the fire industry and offer a lifetime warranty.” 

A reliable solution 

Since its inception, the company has grown its product base. The target customer was originally other truck manufacturers, however, Young believes other industries quickly saw the benefits of their products: “The secondary loose equipment dealer market quickly saw the value of pairing tool mounts with the tools that they were selling because if you are buying something brand new on a truck that wasn’t there before, you would need to mount that, so our product fitted nicely.  

“What we are seeing now is manufacturers of thermal imagers, nozzles, struts and other search and rescue equipment coming to us to supply our brackets as an OEM part to go with their equipment. They rely on us, and not only are we able to handle it, but we are also honoured to help them.” 

A dedication to innovation 

The company works with its customer base to continue its drive for innovation. As equipment changes, so too must the mounts that are used. Young explains the importance of the relationship the team at PAC Tool Mounts have with tool manufacturers: “Most of our innovations are internal. Our team of engineers and customer service closely monitor the needs of the industry. We are very close with other tool manufacturers, so we understand the new hand tools and power rescue tools, whether it is hydraulic or electric. As a company we follow the trends and latest innovations closely and we develop our products accordingly. For example, the recent switch to electric rescue tools that prompted us to review and update our line of products accordingly.” 

Using the right materials is key 

When it comes to how they manufacture brackets, it would be easy to focus on a more cost-effective material that would focus on profit. Young reveals how the material they use prioritises quality and not cost and ensures that the product is fit for purpose: “We use mainly a proprietary blend of composites developed for industrial and military applications. Some of our brackets have a lockable strap that can hold tools in a friction type of a bracket, and some of them are positive locking where there are stretchable lock straps snaps closed and keeps that product locked into the bracket. Those straps are from a urethane blend.

“We always get the question about rubber, but we don’t use any rubber in our products. The materials we use are selected for their proper environment that they are going to be used, not for cost. Shock resistance, UV, oil resistance and conductivity are all considered when developing PAC products.” 

How tool boards work with mounts 

For users, ease of use, maintenance and installation can be key when deciding their perfect solution. On this, Young explains the importance of choosing the right combination of equipment: “We do advocate PAC tool boards as the perfect foundation for tool mounts. The reason for this is they are made of aluminium, they allow fast installation with only front panel access required, which means once our tool board is installed our brackets can be installed right to the face of the product and removed or adjusted in space from the front quickly and easily. Other systems require drilling, tapping, or removal of panels when you are placing the bracketsHowever, mounting a bracket to any type of strut or rail is more favourable than drilling through a compartment wall.” 

Challenges for penetration in international markets 

The company has worked within the North American market since its founding; however, Young explains the reasons why they believe they have built such a solid reputation and foundation in the region: “We are well established in North America with representation by both the manufacturers and the secondary dealer markets. In the thirty years we have been a company, we have managed to gain a very strong reputation in the fire industry, and we have become well known.  Part of that is down to the fact that the fire industry has changed.

An increase in electrical vehicles, increased awareness of hygiene has driven change in department policies. We have worked with the departments to help them adapt and organise their trucks to suit their needs. We are here to help affix, secure and organise all equipment. For contamination and hygiene, we want to be part of the solution. 

One thing to note is that fire departments outside of the U.S tend to vary in the way in which they organise equipment. Young explains the key differences between the American and international market: “American apparatus are large vehicles, are very tall and have very large compartments. From what we’ve seen from the international market they are more compact and are a smaller chassis type vehicle, however, the organisation from inside these vehicles are top notch. Precious volume is well utilised. From our perspective it looks like storage has been thought about and developed as part of the vehicle, not developed afterwards to fit. In the U.S the tool storage is often developed after the fire truck.” 

Looking to the future 

With the industry beginning to open up to trade shows, and along with some new product releases, it promises to be a busy year for the company, however, this is something the team at Pac Tool Mounts are embracing: “We are growing in many markets such as law enforcement, military, landscaping and utility, and we’re developing specific products for those markets. Later this year we will be releasing new products in the fields of utility and agriculture.

“For us, the tools keep changing and evolving, and as they do, we continue to innovate to help the customer. As a company we are very excited to be in this industry. There is always new things to develop and there is always a need for us to innovate. 

This year we will be displaying at FDIC and Interschutz USA, and in the future we are planning to go to Interschutz Germany. The future for us means we will continue to collaborate and deliver innovative solutions for all the markets that we serve. PAC is looking to develop its network of international dealers and distributors.”   

This article was originally published in issue 6 of International Fire and Safety Journal.

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