A unique feature that Toolkeepers provides is variable depth for the tool cavities. For instance, for large, heavy tools, the standard 1/2” foam depth is not sufficient to keep the tools in place, and cavities need to be made out of thicker, heavier foam. Yet the same drawer could hold smaller tools, which would be hard to reach inside the deeper, thicker foam depth required for the larger tools.
“In such cases we adjust the depth of the cavities for the smaller tools so the mechanic doesn’t have to dig deep into a cavity for the tool,” says Plummer. “This is the type of ergonomic customizing that sets us apart, and our customers certainly appreciate our attention to detail.”
Indeed, Toolkeepers’ commitment to meeting the customer’s needs can take them even further into the realm of custom-designed kits. For example, an Iowa manufacturer of hydraulic and electro-hydraulic controls for off-highway applications had a need for their kits to be constructed of oil and water-impervious materials.
“Because their engineers work in an extremely oily environment, they wanted a harder material than foam to house the tools, a material that was impervious to oil, a material that they could power-wash,” says Plummer. “This was a case where we worked with their engineers to try to figure out how to solve this problem. We did some prototypes, they did some prototypes and with a bit of back-and-forth, we came up with a solution that they could use.”
Toolkeepers ended up replacing the foam with rigid black expanded PVC, which is much harder and will take more abuse than the foam would. Then they fastened the layers of expanded PVC with screws instead of the pressure-sensitive adhesive they usually use, as the adhesives would not hold up when exposed to oil and power washing.
“They also wanted handles, and so instead of attaching handles, we cut handles out of expanded PVC as one piece,” says Plummer.
Their efforts paid off, as years later, Toolkeepers is still producing the kit.
“This is the fun part of the job, to get to work on a creative solution to a problem,” says Plummer. “Every job is custom, but sometimes a job is even more custom than others.”