NAILING IT HOME
BCM For Tradies – Words / Jake D. Frost
When it comes to the most advanced and reliable gas and pneumatic fastening solutions, Paslode has been nailing it for decades.
A household name – especially when said house is under construction – the Paslode brand is a driving force in the building industry. Today they are at the forefront of their game, routinely introducing new technology and tools to improve how efficiently we can fasten structures together. And their past holds just as strong, containing a rich history of innovation and invention that has helped our trade progress in leaps and bounds.
“Paslode started in the States in 1935 by a gentleman called JW Leslie,” explained Gavan McKenna, Paslode Australia’s GM. “He was involved in the packaging industry. Paslode actually stands for, or was abbreviated from, ‘Packaging, Shipping and Loading Devices’.”
The company began their long list of breakthroughs in 1940 when they created the first stapling hammer. Then, after a couple of decades of research and growth, they brought out the big guns.
“In 1959 was the launch of the world’s first pneumatic tool,” Gavan described the milestone in his reassuring Irish accent. “That was a light-duty upholstery tacker tool for the furniture industry. In the early ’60s, a year or two after that was released, the first tool for the construction industry was launched: a pneumatic framing tool. So you can see the business goes back a long way.”
A long way indeed: over 50 years since Paslode’s revolutionary nailing system forever changed the way homes were built. Through the ’60s and ’70s they continued to break new ground with more powerful models and updated features, including their patented paper laminated collation tape, which led to fewer jams and greater nail load consistency.
Even though their pneumatic nailers of that time were advanced, they were still cumbersome on the job site, so Paslode continued to look for other solutions. “Then in 1986, through a whole heap of innovation work,” continued Gavan with an air of excitement, “they created a cordless version, or an Impulse model, that they introduced to market.”
Arguably just as important as inventing its pneumatic predecessor, the birth of the first cordless framing nailer, although nowhere near as powerful and needing more development, served as a huge stepping stone for the Paslode brand and the construction industry alike.
Gavan, who has been with Paslode Australia for over four years, has a loaded nailgun full of knowledge about his company as he shot out interesting fact after fact during our candid chat. Through the rapid-fire highlights he summarised things nicely by pointing out: “The focus for us has always been ‘how do we save the builder or the carpenter time and effort?’ That’s always been our objective.”
Carrying this ethos there’s no doubt that Paslode currently stands as the biggest player in the market, with their modern-day products being as popular in Europe and throughout the Asia Pacific region as they are in their birthplace the US. While Australia’s head honcho wouldn’t disclose exact numbers, he did reveal that “Paslode is part of the ITW Construction products business, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has around a 1.8 billion dollar construction product portfolio. It’s a big, big business.”
So where does Australia sit in all of this? You’d think a global juggernaut like Paslode would simply export their existing international range to our little island Down Under, but Paslode has a stronger, longer and deeper connection to Oz than you might expect. In actual fact, Paslode Australia develops and produces most of their fastening products right here.
“Paslode is proud to manufacture in Australia; to support the construction and manufacturing industries in Australia,” Gavan stated with conviction. “We build our coated nails and fasteners at our Ingleburn manufacturing facility. That’s a really important difference between us and any of our competitors in the nail space. While everybody else imports from overseas, we’ve got a commitment to the community here in Australia.”
Gavan estimates that they’ve “got around 90 to 100 staff across Australia just supporting the Paslode brand”. Of course that doesn’t include external sales staff where you can buy their range of products. “We have key partners such as major retailers, independent hardware stores and tool and fastener distribution outlets: those channels that really support the trade.”
And not only do Paslode Australia manufacture their tools locally, they also build them specifically for Aussie conditions. With the backing of their global knowledge and history, they then refine the engineering with localised research, producing the ultimate tools to suit the true blue tradie. “All our products are based off proprietary IP (intellectual property), or technology that we have that we own globally,” clarified the 43-year-old GM, “but we then manufacture all of our products to specification and standards for the Australian and the New Zealand market. By listening to local builders and carpenters, we provide a solution just for them.”
Through a holistic approach this solution is all encompassing and looks at every aspect of the problem. “We’re not just focused on how the tool works, we actively innovate our nails and fasteners as well,” Gavan proclaimed. “We’re improving the coatings to make sure that the nail and tool fire to the optimum performance all the time, also to help drive the nail more smoothly into the timber or the material it’s being fastened to, and, most importantly, so it stays held once it’s fired. We spend a lot of time making sure the complete solution works seamlessly together.”
This is followed up by solid guarantees and ongoing support with “a National network of fully trained after sales service agents that can help you with your tool no matter where you are in Australia”.
It’s not like Paslode is new to Australian tradies either. The world-renowned brand has been on our shores for almost 40 years, being first brought out by a company called Jambro in 1977. “In 1989 ITW acquired Jambro, the Paslode distributor in Australia,” Gavan went on to explain its evolution Down Under. “We then changed the name and rebranded as Paslode Australia around 2000.”
In the modern era Paslode Australia continues to release a myriad of new models and improved technologies. Their latest revelation was the Tool Test highlight and cover star of BCM For Tradies last issue: the Impulse FrameMaster-Li PowerVent. “We increased and improved the performance of our highly successful, market-leading Impulse Framing Tool,” Gavan began to describe the new cordless model. “The PowerVent launched earlier this year; it’s got extended battery life, it’s got improved performance and better balance and weight. The tool is reliable and fires every time, consistently and into hardwood. We’ve taken 18 months to develop and improve it based on research that we’ve done here specifically in Australia.”
It’s so good they’re giving away a Toyota Hilux* as part of the launch!
So what’s on the horizon for the pioneering company that continues to nail it with cutting-edge inventions? Even more surprises by the sound of it. “I wouldn’t say we’re as bad as Apple,” joked Gavan, “but we tend to keep our innovations pretty tight to our chest before we bring them to market. Let’s just say there’s certainly more stuff we’re working on, and all based on the extensive research that we do in Australia and New Zealand about what’s really important to the end user, our customers and BCM’s core audience – the builder and the carpenter.”
*While the Paslode and Toyota Hilux competition is now closed, stay tuned for the next issue of BCM For Tradies to find out who won.