Stanley shows off its tool chest

New York City -- Product managers at Stanley Black & Decker played an elaborate game of show and tell Thursday in a Manhattan conference room.

One of the messages from the company's New Product Media Luncheon held Thursday at the Westin New York at Times Square was that the tool industry is not standing still. Stanley Black & Decker VP Chris Dutra explained competition is alive in the well in the tool business. He pointed to some recent moves at competitors -- such as the introduction of Craftsman tools at Ace Hardware stores and Milwaukee Electric Co.'s expansion into hand tools. Then he stepped aside as product managers from Stanley brands including DeWalt, Bostitch and Porter-Cable took the stage to demonstrate some of the highlights of the company's R&D investment.

Among the trends from its latest display of new product development are compact compressors, cordless nailers and a movement into paint sundries.

Stanley's entry into paint and sundries was informed by research that showed 40 million people are in the buying cycle of painting-related projects at any given time, and that Stanley had a healthy "brand halo" in this area, according to strategic business unit leader Stephen Skeels. The company's launch of paint sundries includes putty knives, scrapers, drywall tools and caulk guns.

Other product introductions from the event:

• Porter-Cable's new four-gallon compressor was an example of the movement toward compact designs with no loss of performance. The 29-pound pancake compressor packs more usable air than previous modes, and supports up to three nailers. It will retail fro about $199.

• At Bostitch, one story was the what it called the world's first cordless 28-degree wire weld framing nailer kit. The gas-powered tool sells for about $349.

• One of the highlights from DeWalt was an air compressor line splitter described as the heavy duty Quadraport Regulated Line Splitter (suggested retail price of $59). The durable quadraport brings flexibility to multiple users of a single air compressor.

• A new Stanley subby multibit screwdriver comes it a ratcheting, or non-ratcheting version, both under $5.

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