The Newest Tool Every Technician Needs
All great inventions start with a spark of an idea. For Tim Stover, it all began while he was in a TIA training course to become a certified instructor. About to clean a lug stud, and with wire brush in hand, Stover thought, “there has got to be a better way to do this”. And with that, the ARLIE Tool was born.
Since the first spark of an idea, the invention journey has been ongoing for over 15 years. With help of Stover’s brother and a close friend, the ARLIE Tool (named after Stover’s father) is now available through Infinite Concepts & Manufacturing.
Modern Tire Dealer sat down with Stover to discuss the creation of the tool, along with how the ARLIE Tool is speeding up efficiency within shops, along with ensuring safety on the road.
The ARLIE Journey
Stover noticed the need for a tool in the tire commercial arena that would clean lug studs and hub assemblies more efficiently. He recognized that service technicians were being trained to clean the lug stud and mating surfaces of truck wheel components with a wire brush, which is both time-consuming and not entirely efficient. His idea was to create a tool that could be used with a piece of equipment already on a truck, entirely speeding up the process.
“The ARLIE Tool eliminates about 75 percent of the time necessary to clean the components before doing the final torque in order to achieve proper clamping force,” Stover explains.
To create the tool, Stover teamed up with his brother (also named Arlie), who is a mechanical engineer by trade, and his friend Chris Pickrell, who is the owner of Cutting-Edge Tool & Design. The design process included creating over a dozen prototypes before landing on the current tool design.
The base of the ARLIE Tool (or Advanced Rim Lug Internal Exterior Cleaning Tool) is made of solid aluminum and completely manufactured in the United States. The tool is designed to incorporate a slip-in replaceable brush on the interior that is covered by an abrasive head used to clean the hub. The ARLIE tool was released to the public in the beginning of 2020 and designed to be utilized for a lifetime.
A Tool for Safety
“The primary focus of the tool is to ensure that these components are clean, so when technicians apply torque to the lug nuts, the desired clamping force is achieved,” Stover says.
This desired clamping force is vital, he explains, because without it, the potential of a wheel-off becomes a danger.
“A wheel-off means that a truck and trailer is going down the highway and two wheels separate from the unit because the lug nuts have backed off,” he explains. “This event creates unguided missiles heading towards an unknown target—which could be you in your car.”
This means that on top of speeding efficiency within the shop and with technicians, the ARLIE Tool also acts as a key safety tool for those on the road, and your business.
In Industry Hands
To say releasing a product in the early months of 2020 was a challenge is an understatement. With the COVID-19 virus quickly approaching the United States, the ARLIE Tool didn’t have much contact with the industry before the pandemic hit. But Stover has been able to lock down three large distributors to get the tool in the hands’ of technicians across the country. The tool continues to help shops speed up their efficiency and ensure road safety.
For more information on the ARLIE Tool, including diagrams and videos, please visit infiniteconceptsmfg.com.