Next Generation Lockout Tools was started in 1995 when ROMACO Lockout Tools, founded by Ron Bolton in the early 1980’s, was going out of business. As his family members, we had been involved with doing trade shows for ROMACO Lockout Tools since the mid 1980’s and were already familiar with his company and products.
As a small family owned business, we are personally involved with all aspects of running our business, and have a deep commitment and care for our customers. We understand that we would not even be in business if not for our valued customers. One of the business fundamentals that we have continued with is that we make the highest-quality lockout tools possible, and, we proudly make them here in the USA. Our spring steel, chrome-plated lockout tools are heat treated for strength and durability. In seeing the other brands of lockout tools, it assures us we are wise in taking the time and expense to make quality lockout tools that last. With today’s economy, I personally would not want to purchase "disposable tools". We firmly believe that we make the best lock out tools available in our industry, period! Many competitors’ lockout tools look similar, and even identical, but they are made with less expensive materials. Some tools are made out of the country, and are not heat treated or chrome plated. When you, your employees, or your customers have access to Next Generation Lockout Tools, you have “The Ultimate Lockout Solution™”.
A personal thing that many in our Industry have learned over the last 5 years, is that Darrell has been very involved with taking Mission trips. He has been to 20 countries so far, and many cities within those countries. He has been a help to many of the poor and unfortunate around the world. I (Joanie) have starting traveling with him and have been to 5 countries as well. We are thankful for Jennifer our shipping manager who is great at keeping things running smoothly so we are able to take these amazing and fulfilling trips. We are thrilled how Darrell’s Air Force career has prepared him for travel, and also for myself to already be used to my husband being away for a month or more at a time. There are children all over the world that love him, his puppet, and his balloon making skills. You can keep up with our mission travels on our Facebook page, MVPMissions. He also has a website at www.sites.google.com/site/mvpmissionary.
This past fall, Darrell nearly lost his life in a 3rd World Country due to the mistreatment at the hands of an Anti-American doctor. He actually almost died twice. Darrell had a near-death experience where he was in a realm he can only describe as being half-way to Heaven. This tragic trip, where I lost my dear mother within hours of almost losing my husband, was also filled with miracles of grace. Though not saying goodbye to her in person, or going to her funeral, Darrell and I both have many remarkable stories to share where the grace of God brought us much peace through the fiercest of storms. A book in in the works called "Half Way To Heaven" should be out in the spring of 2013.
It is amazing how a specific part of your life in earlier years can prepare you for a whole new life’s adventure. Just like Darrell’s AF career paved the way for an easy transition to his more recent Mission work, so too did working for Darrell’s dad doing trade shows, prepared us for continuing his lockout tool product line once his business ended. We had no idea years ago that this would have ever happened, yet that involvement helped us with our transition into Lockout Tool Manufacturing business owners!
Another thing that we have continued was the warranty started by his father. If any wire lock out tool ever breaks, then it is replaced for free…that’s our Lifetime Warranty. You can ship us the broken tool, and as long as it is in its original shape (not bent from being stuck in a door) we will replace it for free. Please call us for our mailing address, and make sure to add your complete company name, address and phone number inside with your tool.
We have been involved with the introduction of many new tools in the lockout industry over the years. Early on, ROMACO received a patent on the Slide-lock wire tool. It was one of the first lockout tools introduced to easily unlock vehicles with horizontal lock linkages. Later, the Illuminator™ was created; it’s the first lighted wedge in the industry. Other innovations have been to improve on other lockout tools that were already on the market. One example is the ReZolver™ tool. Its design allows it to be used on horizontal or vertical linkages, either reaching over, or underneath the linkage. Other manufacturers would have you buy two of their tools; one that reaches “over” and another that reaches “under”. Our “all in one” concept is both novel and it saves you money.
One great way to recognize quality is to compare tools head-to-head. Our One-Piece Reach-It™ tool is comparable to the Steck®Big Easy® tool. Our material is slightly smaller in diameter making it more lightweight and easier to bend as needed. Both tools are powder-coated so they should hold up to the elements about the same. All of our Reach-It™ lockout tools come with a glow-in-the-dark vinyl tip which shines very brightly after just a few moments near a light source. Our Long Reach Tools can come with or without a comfort grip handle.
Many of our wire tools look exactly the same as Best Tools®, and Pro-Lok® and have many similar names. But if you give their tools the ‘bend test’, and then try and bend ours, I imagine we will have then gained you as a new, loyal customer. Looks can be deceiving, lower prices may gain some attention, but nothing can compare to our great quality lock out tools.
Our Rhino™ Pry Wedge can be compared to Access Tools® and High Tech® Tools One-hand Jack® wedge. Our Rhino™ has a broader contact pry area which spreads the force over a larger space on the door frame, thereby decreasing the possibility of creasing or damaging the door.
As the years went by, car manufacturers have changed their linkages, so lockout tool companies also needed to make changes in order to gain auto entry. Of course, years ago virtually all automobiles had a vertical linkage locking system. The “Slim Jim” was the tool of choice and most cars could be opened by manipulating the cam, the lazy-cam, or the vertical linkage itself. Another popular method was to lift the lock button from the top area of the linkage. Once horizontal locks were introduced into the marketplace, we had to come up with lockout tools that made sliding the linkage a simple task.
In the mid-80’s some automobile manufacturers actually enclosed the lock linkage inside the door cavity making the linkage unexposed for anyone to easily manipulate. We then designed a lockout tool that actually went down along the glass into the door cavity from the outside of the automobile, and then came up the other side of the glass right into the vehicle! Our version of this popular tool is the Wonder Tool™ line. Once inserted, the tool was is free to move up and down, left and right to either slide the lock into the “unlock” position, push the electric unlock button, or pull on the door handle, thus unlocking the vehicle.
We have seen a lot of changes in the Lockout Tool Industry since 1986, and we are excited to see what will be in store for us down the road. Please feel free to contact us with any new ideas you might have with lockout tools, as we have been able to make a few specific tools for customers, and are happy to do so. You never know, your new tool idea might one day become a huge asset to our industry!