Experiencing What the Tool Industry Has to Offer

Experiencing What the Tool Industry Has to Offer

ETI held its annual ToolTech conference April 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the Equipment and Tool Institute’s (ETI) ToolTech 2023 conference, held April 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

ETI had a full itinerary planned for guests in attendance. The night before event kickoff, guests were invited to the Tamaya Veranda to enjoy cocktails and quick bites, all while enjoying a scenic view of the Sandia Mountains. As if it couldn’t get any better, two of the Hyatt’s property horses made an appearance and guests got to snap photos next to them throughout the evening.

Day 1 presentations engaged attendees with a variety of topics including, “The Future of Automotive Retail,” “How Artificial Intelligence is Impacting the Automotive Aftermarket Service Experience” and a “Legislative Update.” There was also an informative OEM Panel discussion.

At the conclusion of presentations and panel discussions, attendees had the opportunity to schedule one-on-one meetings to network with industry professionals.

Following the first day’s presentations, ETI held a Company Spotlight Trade Show, giving ETI member companies the opportunity to highlight products and services for attendees. This was a perfect way to connect with individuals in the industry about their latest innovations and, to simply put it, catch up!

After a productive first day, guests took a bus off the property to Kaktus Brewing Company for an offsite party hosted by OPUS IVS.

On Day 2, a second round of presentations included discussions about “Automotive Connected Mobility,” “Intelligent Transportation Systems and the Future of Travel,” “International Perspectives,” and “Legal Perspectives on Intellectual Property.” Shop owners highlighted the panel of the day, where a wide variety of topics were discussed among the elite show owner group.

That evening, guests took another shuttle off the property to Cottonwoods for the closing reception and dinner, sponsored by Snap-on.

One of the key takeaways of this conference was the growing importance of our industry being prepared for electric vehicles (EVs). It’s great to hear that people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of EVs, and as we move toward a more sustainable future, it’s certain we’ll be seeing rapid growth and emerging repair and service opportunities in this segment of the industry.

Our industry is constantly changing and adapting to new technological developments. Attending events like ETI’s ToolTech is just one more way for us to stay connected with the technology, the tools and the people that make this the exciting industry it is. And, did I mention they sure know how to throw a great party? Best of all, there are many more industry events in the near future, and I’m looking forward to attending them for the knowledge and the networking, but also so I can share the experiences with you. TS

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Open Up Your Scan Tool Options

Buying a scan tool can be difficult.

In today’s competitive world of business, considering the coverage of a scan tool is an important decision that directly affects the productivity of technicians, but can also open opportunities for your shop. Buying a scan tool is difficult. In the past, we had more concerns over operation and operating systems, as the technology wasn’t up to par.Today’s scan tools leave that concern behind, with computer technology rarely in question, but now it’s important to shift our focus on what we can ultimately do with our scan tool. Initially, we ask, is the coverage adequate for the cars we work on? But, we also need to consider the additional benefits a scan tool can offer to a technician, such as technical data, repair information, repair times, technical service bulletins, recalls and troubleshooting procedures.Features such as this hold considerable value at the fingertips of a technician. But, there’s still more to consider. What direction will your shop, or you take in the future? As mechanics, we always knew we could fix anything. If need be, we’d work on a lawnmower, motorcycle, boat or tractor.Our mechanical skillset hasn’t changed, but multiple industries have faced the same challenges and advancements as automotive. And, while it’s probably out-of-sight, out-of-mind, if you decide to work on anything outside your normal repertoire, you’ll find it’s equipped with just about the same technology. Except one thing, the protocol.When you buy a scan tool, will it have options for motorcycle, marine and offroad vehicles? What about heavy trucks? They’re all valid ways to make money. They’re broken, and you can fix them. That is if your scan tool supports the protocol.Protocol is nothing more than an electronic language; the way in which a scan tool can communicate with different types and makes of vehicles. While all automobiles sold in the US since 2008 follow a standard CAN protocol, there are still different aspects of it depending on vehicle manufacturer, and there were multiple protocols pre-2008. Motorcycles, commercial trucks, off-highway vehicles, and marine all utilize a common type of CAN network which we are familiar with, but again with different protocols.When considering a scan tool, your primary concern is automotive diagnostics. But what else is it capable of? Can it open other options for service opportunities? Does the scan tool manufacturer support additional protocols and is this scan tool compatible with other equipment to capitalize on these other industries? Depending on your vision for the future, these are all important questions to answer.Another important factor is Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) service and calibration. This is the hot topic in the industry, and the expanded need for service will be coming quickly. Your scan tool will need to not only perform the diagnostics on these systems, but will it need to have compatibility with ADAS calibration equipment. Technology isn’t slowing down, and you can’t afford to buy two scan tools. Make sure your next purchase has the options you need now and in the future. TS

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