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SawStop acquisition could change the safety landscape

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Merger and acquisitions have been the talk of the woodworking industry in recent months. Let’s start with SawStop’s purchase by Festool parent company TTS Tooltechnic Systems.

I’ve had a front-row seat to watching SawStop grow from an idea into a manufacturer of high-end cabinet saws. Stephen Gass invented Active Injury Mitigation technology, which prevents saw operators from suffering serious cuts and wounds by stopping the blade within a few milliseconds if the saw blade comes in contact with the operator’s skin, in 1999 but couldn’t find a saw manufacture willing to license it. SawStop eventually decided to build its own saws and has been selling them with great success since 2004.

In June, SawStop announced a purchase agreement with TTS. It’s a surprising development that suddenly makes sense for a safety-conscious brand (Festool) that doesn’t make table saws.

“For TTS and the company’s subsidiaries, it has always been a top priority to deliver precision results with maximum operator protection. The newly acquired technology, which TTS will continue to develop together with the SawStop team, supports these priorities and prepares TTS to face stricter safety requirements that are likely to be imposed on power tools,” the company said in a statement.

The acquisition is expected to close in July. SawStop will be integrated into the TTS group as a separate legal entity and both the name and brand will be preserved. The company’s current management team will continue to operate SawStop. For more on the purchase, see our story on Page 8.

Axalta Coating Systems recently completed its acquisition of the Valspar Corporation’s North American industrial wood coatings business, which includes the Zenith, Ultraguard, Lifeshield and Color Choice brands. Valspar divested the business in connection with the antitrust approval of its acquisition by the Sherwin-Williams Co.

In July, Rev-A-Shelf acquired Glideware LLC of Grand Junction, Colo., a manufacturer of home organizing solutions. “The acquisition of Glideware is a perfect fit for Rev-A-Shelf,” Rev-A-Shelf general manager David Noe said in a statement. “These are versatile products that resonate in many applications and we expect our broad exposure to provide even more success to the line.”

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Festool recently announced it started producing its FS guide rails, an integral system component and accessory of many of its power tools, at the company’s North American headquarters in Lebanon, Ind. Festool plans to expand its Lebanon-based manufacturing facilities for additional production lines and other products in the future.

The guide rails, produced with U.S.-sourced material, will begin shipping throughout the U.S. and Canadian markets later this year, according to the company. The guide rails are aluminum tracks that work in collaboration with some of Festool’s most popular products, including its track saws, routers and jigsaws.

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The Cabinet Makers Association scheduled its first national conference to celebrate the trade group’s 20th anniversary for March 1-2, 2018, in Denver at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.

Presentation topics will include pricing strategies, transitioning to CNC, technology tools, workforce development, succession planning, and sales and marketing training.

For more, visit

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue.

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