If you’re a Lowe’s shopper, you’ve probably noticed the growing number of CRAFTSMAN products that are sold there these days. Ace stores have been carrying CRAFTSMAN tools and accessories for many years as well. The CRAFTSMAN brand — which has been a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker since January 2017 — plans to launch some 1,200 new products over the next year with both of these retail partners, as well as through Amazon. Earlier this summer, we reported on that news, and you can read about it by clicking here.
In addition to a broad range of fresh power and hand tools and yard and garden machines, CRAFTSMAN is bringing more than 80 new metal tool storage and garage organization items to market. All of the tool chests, cabinets and workbenches are made in America in CRAFTSMAN’s Sedalia, Missouri, plant. But, that aspect of this massive product launch actually isn’t new to the brand.
“Sedalia has been proudly manufacturing CRAFTSMAN metal tool storage since 1978,” says Matt Sallee, director of marketing for metal storage. “(The plant) has manufactured everything from small portable products to 75-in.-plus-wide industrial quality items for CRAFTSMAN.”
Part of the reason for the plant’s longevity as a metal storage supplier for CRAFTSMAN has to do with its centralized location within the U.S. and, Sallee adds, “Our talented workforce.”
The Sedalia factory employs around 700 workers.
But, there are other aspects of the more than 900,000-square-foot facility and warehouse that also make it a one-stop solution for quality tool chests and cabinets. Sallee says the plant’s manufacturing equipment is highly automated and designed for efficiency, speed and quality. It offers the flexibility for the plant to change quickly to meet new consumer demands.
“We have both powder and E-coat painting systems,” Sallee reports, and our engineering, design, quality and testing labs are all in house.” The plant also is home base for customer service and service parts for our products.
Massive coils of raw, cold-rolled steel enter the plant on one end, and finished CRAFTSMAN products come out other end, ready for shipment. There are quite a few steps to the process in between, and Sallee simplifies it this way:
“The steel coils are first slit to width, then the sheet steel travels to a press where it’s stamped or cut to size. Parts are then formed and welded. From there, they travel on a conveyor through one of our paint systems and then on to assembly. Here, the product is met by dedicated employees who assemble the slides, drawers and other components to create the finished product. At that point, it travels through final inspection and on to the end of the line to be packed out.”
Steel is, of course, a critical commodity for metal storage products. Sallee says the majority of the steel used for CRAFTSMAN tool chests and cabinets is from the United States, “and we try to source locally when possible,” he adds. Due to the wide range of products made at the Sedalia plant, the thickness of the steel varies from 14 to 24 gauge, depending on the application.
While all of the model options for CRAFTSMAN’s new metal tool chests and cabinets are not yet available, Sallee says there will be three primary quality levels. CRAFTSMAN’s “1000 Series” chests and cabinets have 30- to 50 lb. load-rated drawers with standard ball-bearing slides. These products have 300- to 500 lb. overall load ratings and roll on 3×1-in. or 4×2-in. casters. Products in the “2000 Series” can carry up to 100 lbs. per drawer, which ride on soft-close, ball-bearing slides. Overall load rating increases to between 650 and 1,500 lbs., and the chests or cabinets have 4-1/2-x1-1/2-in. or 5×2-in. casters.
“All of the open-till chests in the 2000 Series also include power outlets with USB charging and gas cover struts,” Sallee says.
At the premium level, “3000-Series” CRAFTSMAN tool storage options have drawers capable of holding from 120- to 200-lb. loads and ride on soft-close ball-bearing slides. Large 6×2-in. casters help the chests or cabinets carry up to 3000-lbs.
“Here we’re offering a new 22-in.-deep platform with an innovative new appearance and design,” Sallee says. “The chests have power strips with USB charging, and drawer liners are included.”
Three tiers of storage solutions with multiple feature sets will enable CRAFTSMAN to offer solutions for a wide range of users. Sallee points out that soft-close drawer slides, built-in power, gas struts, full-extension drawers, heavy-duty casters and I-frame sides are all key elements of the product portfolio. They’re also features customers want, according to feedback and research.
CRAFTSMAN will continue to launch new metal storage solutions through 2019, with warranties ranging from 3 to 10 years, based on the product series. Most of these will be produced in Sedalia. A few tool storage and garage accessories will be produced outside of the USA, as well.
“At CRAFTSMAN, we are proud to be delivering an all-new range of high-quality products at a good value that stand up to the CRAFTSMAN name,” Sallee says. “We are excited to continue to grow this iconic American brand.”
Learn more about new metal storage options and other CRAFTSMAN products by clicking here.