Special to CONTRACTOR
CHICAGO — Saying its mission was to create the best-in-class power tool line for professionals, Ridgid introduced a line of 35 handheld corded, cordless, benchtop and stationary power tools Aug. 9 here to magazine editors.
“We designed this tool line for the professional without compromise,” said Jay Gatz, supervising director/ brand and channel marketing, for Ridge Tool Co. “We’re committed to meeting contractors’ needs.”
The new line includes reciprocating saws, drills, circular saws and sanders. The tools will be available Oct.1 at 3,500 U.S. and Canadian plumbing, industrial, and electrical supply houses and at 1,500 Home Depot locations. The Home Depot will be the exclusive hardware home center retailer for Ridgid’s power tools.
The tool line is the result of a partnership between Ridge Tool and One World Technologies, a manufacturer of home-improvement products with extensive experience in private-labeling tools for other companies. OWT will manufacture the products under a trademark license from Ridgid. OWT is a wholly owned subsidiary of TechTronic Industries Co.
Getting contractors to switch from their favorite brand of power tools is going to be a challenge, conceded Bob Gautsch, OWT’s director of business development
“We knew we had to out-feature and out-perform whatever the market leader was in that category, and add innovative technology,” he said. “We wanted to be sure to connect with the pro user. We wanted that connection physically and emotionally, so we looked at issues such as ergonomics and balance.”
Noting that it spent thousands of hours talking with contractors and other users in designing the tools, Ridge Tool said it sought to understand the challenges they encounter as well as their power tool needs. The company said that it translated this information into products that boost productivity, enhance user comfort, and offer exceptional power and durability. The company highlighted the following features of the new tools:
- On cordless tools, the Rapid Max Twin charging system will feature a dual-port charger that charges two high-capacity batteries simultaneously in 30 minutes or two standard batteries in 20 minutes.
- A sliding, self-ejecting battery pack will be commonplace through the cordless lineup.
- Ridgid standard cordless drills will have single-sleeve locking chucks, a 24-position clutch and 20-minute chargers.
- Auto-stop brushes will be featured on selected Ridgid tools. These brushes halt the drill’s operation when they are worn and before they can damage the motor, the company said.
- Selected corded tools will be powered by EML (extended motor life) motors, which are engineered to withstand extreme conditions and last up to five times longer than other motors.
- An exclusive power cord package will be comprised of a 12-ft. durable, all-rubber cord with lighted plug to indicate when the tool is “hot”; a backlit icon of the tool for easy identification when multiple tool cords are plugged into one power strip; and a Velcro cord wrap.
- For greater comfort and durability, a resilient over-mold will be placed strategically on user interfaces and points of impact.
Interestingly, one of the most critical areas of research was in the color scheme of the new products, Gautsch said. Researchers developed a color wheel depicting well-known brands of power tools. The chosen colors are distinctive from other brands, he added.
“The Ridgid orange and gray has its own strong identity and will not be confused with Porter-Cable and DeWalt,” he said. “The goal was to create a unique identity in a very competitive landscape.”
The power tools carry a 90-day satisfaction guarantee and a three-year warranty. All power tools sold in the introductory period through December, however, will have a lifetime service warranty on normal wear.
Customers can call 800/4-RIDGID to speak with a technical service representative and obtain service part ordering information, or they can visit www.ridgid.com. An additional toll-free number, 866/539-1710, is aslo available to further facilitate customer inquiries.