The PipeKnife Company has acquired the VaccuFlex product line from KateCo LLC effective January 20, 2023. PipeKnife founder and CEO Dell Skluzak says the purchase complements the company’s auto glass replacement and installation tools already on the market.
VaccuFlex is a telescoping/extendable vacuum hose attachment used for vacuuming small crevices and places not easily accessed. It’s compatible with a variety of vacuums including shop vacuums, canister vacuums, portable vacuums and more.
Skluzak tells glassBYTEs that his company is always looking for unique products produced by inventors “who have great ideas but lack the ability to market into a broad customer base.”
“The VaccuFlex has had limited exposure in the distribution world for auto glass accessory items,” he says. “The former owner is a commercial real estate broker who invented the product out of necessity, but didn’t have the time, knowledge and contacts to penetrate into the mainstream market. The PipeKnife Company has more than 500 items it sells into the AGRR distribution channel, so the availability of the product will be much greater and it will have a lot of exposure by industry professionals.”
VaccuFlex founder Joe Welchert developed the product out of necessity, as he needed a better way to clean the fixtures on an outdoor chandelier at his home. Skluzak notes the product has applications in the auto glass industry, especially for tempered glass breaks, as many technicians find it challenging to remove broken glass from hard-to-reach crevices.
“The glass shatters all over into small pieces, falls into the interior door panels, underneath the seats and on the floor,” Skluzak tells glassBYTEs. “It is very difficult to get inside many door panels because of the construction of these doors with lots of metal, window motors, air bags, etc. There are small openings and it can be very difficult to access the bottom of the panels. The design of the VaccuFlex telescopic tubes works really well to get into the crevices, and the flexibility of the tubes provides the means to get into corners, snake around interior parts and reach under seats.”
Welchert says PipeKnife has an “excellent reputation” in the market and that VaccuFlex will now see “significant market penetration.”
“PipeKnife is well positioned to take over the VaccuFlex product lines,” he says. “They will do a great job building the brand and servicing existing customers”
One such customer is Alfredo Calva of Alfredo’s Auto Glass in Corona, Calif., who has won three gold medals in the Windshield Repair Competition at Auto Glass Week™.
“I purchased the VaccuFlex and have used it many times,” he says. “It is especially useful working on the sliding doors of the Dodge Grand Caravan. The attachment is easy to use, stores in the provided mesh bag provided and is very affordable.”
According to Skluzak, VaccuFlex offerings for the home-hardware sector will continue and even expand with respect to the availability of replacement parts for tubes and adapters.