Automotive Industries speaks to Peter Egelund, managing director, Active Tools AS
Danish “tire repair solutions” firm Active Tools, was founded in the late 90’s with a promise to change the way people dealt with flat tires. Today, the company is the leading supplier of 12-volt, high-pressure air compressors and temporary tire repair solutions. Its main businesses are tire repair solutions for the automotive original equipment manufacturers, quality tire sealant products and multipurpose high-pressure and high-volume air compressors.
The company says that its product development process is governed by three principles – simplicity, proven technologies and safety. So its products have simple pictograms to tell end-users how to operate the products. At the same time, they are thoroughly tested and certified, and have good safety features. Such as safety for the user as well as safety for tires – Active Tools promises that its tire repair solutions will not damage tire rims, valves or valve sensors.
“We have branches on six continents, situated so we can manufacture our products economically and get them to our clients fast. The Active Tools head office and product development remain in Denmark, while actual production occurs in China. Our testing facilities are in Germany and our financial headquarters in Hong Kong, while our sales and distribution offices are strategically located around the world in the US, Canada, Brazil, China, Spain, Denmark, Germany and Russia,” says the company.
The company was founded by Danish engineers, and therefore Active Tools prides itself in being a leader in design, development, innovation and manufacturing. One of Active Tools’ recent products is a NANO-based tire sealant which can be blown into the tire through the valve core without conflicting with any tire pressure measuring equipment (TPMS). The single unit can of course also be used for inflating the tire normally.
Active Tools divides its tire repair solutions into three segments – integrated systems, comfort systems and manual systems. Its integrate tire repair systems is a convenience system where the company’s compressor and Active sealant are combined into one unit in the same housing. Active Tools is the world leader when it comes to 12-volt tire repair solutions. “The backbone of these solutions is our versatile range of innovative sealants. We develop, manufacture and sell sealants for tire repair as well as for preventive use. The sealant is squeezed or blown into a tire and evenly distributed by the centrifugal force, when the wheel is spinning round. When there is a puncture the sealant will seek to the damage and seal it, so that the car can continue its journey immediately after,” says the company.
Active Tools offer NANO-based sealants as well as LATEX-based sealants. Some are for use in comfort systems and others for manual injection. Active Tools have supplied compressors and inflators for the retail market for more than 10 years. The products are sold under the AirMan® brand and the product program includes high-volume air inflators as well as high-pressure air compressors.
Says the company: “Being a worldwide company also has advantages in terms of logistics: the sun never sets on Active Tools. So someone is always working on your behalf, getting things from A to B. All our processes have firm foundations to ensure smooth transitions from one stage to the next. The bottom line is that you get your things exactly when you want them. Not later, of course, but not sooner, either; we know the kind of storage handling manoueuveres you need to execute. So even if we need to go that extra mile to reach you, we will.”
Automotive Industries spoke to Peter Egelund, managing director, Active Tools AS.
AI: How did Active Tools become the world’s leading provider of tire repair solutions to the automotive industry?
Actually we started our development already in year 1998 in cooperation with Dunlop and Continetal, but as a second tier supplier, providing our products to these two companies, who then dealt directly with the Automotive industry. But in 2002 Active Tools decided to go directly towards the Automotive manufactures in order to get more control of the development process. At that time, this new concept hadn’t taken off among the automotive manufactures and only small projects were in the air. But in our believe that this concept would take off one day, we followed our strategy to go after every single project to become the world leader within this industry.
AI: Please tell us a little about your OEM clients and how your products had to adapt to each one’s requirements.
Because there were no real standard for tire repair solutions on the market, all OEM’s had different idea how to test and what performance the system should fulfill. But one thing was equal for all, the current could only get to a limit of 15 ampere and the inflating time had to be maximum 5 minutes. This of cause gave a lot of different solutions as the tires differ a lot in size and air volume. But having the large flexibility in our production and assembly processes, we could manage to make a large range of custom made solutions for the individual vehicles.
AI: How innovative are your sealants compared to others in the market?
Our sealants are actually totally new – state of the art – products as they are based on non organic materials like natural rubber – latex. This is giving a lot of advantages for the sealant, such as longer life time, friendly to the environment and also a lot easier process for handling the tire and the repair afterwards, as all these solutions are only temporary repair. The latex based products are very sticky and difficult to clean in the following repair process at the tire garage.
AI: How do you manage quality standards in your worldwide manufacturing locations?
All our productions are followed by the latest standards given by the OEM’s – TS 16 949, ISO 14 001 and internal SPC systems in all assembly processes. In parallel to these standards, our customers do regular audits inside our production facilities.
AI: What kind of new technologies are you working on for the tire repair market?
For the tire repair market, we are focused on convenience, cost, weigh and space. These elements are basics for going in the direction of exchanging the spare tire and in this light we are now developing the Active All Inclusive – AAI - concept which will be announced in the end of 2008. Our new sealant technology will be the base in this concept. As we say in Active Tools, we do not only build compressors and sealant, we create solutions.