April 2022: Ian McKinley, customer of Laser Tech Australia reaches out to see if his 26 year-old, discontinued, and thoroughly used Laser Tech (LTI) Impulse 200 forestry rangefinder can be restored to like-new conditions.
A success story that exemplifies LTI’s worldwide devotion to the phrase “Quality through dedication and innovation.”
Phil Lack, Managing Director / CEO of Laser Tech Australia, recalls the challenging project’s beginnings:
“We received a call from a user [McKinley] who had an Impulse 200 in need of repair. It duly arrived in our workshop along with a hand-written note detailing his use of the device and how he wanted to keep it operational, and what could we do to fix it.”
Ian McKinley reflects on the multi-decade spanning journey with his trusty Impulse 200:
“It came to me as a test unit when I worked for the New Zealand Forest Service in 1996 and I was so impressed I asked to buy it for myself. $4500 New Zealand dollars was a huge amount of money to spend, but I knew it would be worth it. I never imagined I would still be using it 26 years later and with very few problems considering the harsh conditions it has to operate in.”
McKinley has witnessed the trustworthiness and longevity of Laser Tech products firsthand. We have released many new and improved rangefinder products since the Impulse’s discontinuance. Despite this, purchasing a replacement product is not on McKinley’s mind. It’s not hard to imagine that this impulse rangefinder holds sentimental value to the seasoned Australian forester.
Luckily for McKinley, the Laser Tech Australia team had an unexpected resource at their disposal. Unlike most Laser Tech offices, a sizable amount of discontinued devices and spare parts happened to be kept on location. Rather than trying to steer McKinley toward modern products, like rangefinders from our current TruPulse line, the team agreed to take on the project of fixing up the well-worn, but still functional, 26-year-old unit. This required a considerable amount of scouring through the scraps of units past, which fortunately avoided the usual spring-cleaning. Still, the team agreed to give it a shot and demonstrate the 3 values that define Laser Tech across the world.
To start, the Impulse 200 unit lasted 26 years before needing service. On top of that, after an inspection, the service needed would turn out to be mostly cosmetic. Phil Lack recalls the condition of McKinley’s trusted device:
“This unit was a very early Impulse 200 which [McKinley] has continually used daily in his job as a forestry worker and arborist. Upon inspection, we noted the unit needed new rubber button -overs and a new rubber cover for the aluminum body of the unit.”
A surface inspection does not satisfy our team members. They demonstrate a resolve to fully evaluate the device.
“On further disassembly [we] saw it had old-style button housing assemblies, where wires are prone to breakage. The hand strap was also badly worn and the beeper didn’t work, plus a lot of the red anodizing on the body of the unit had worn off leaving shiny, bare aluminum.”
It’s safe to assume that McKinley was unaware of the potential wiring issues with his device’s outdated housing assemblies. Our team would prioritize discovering and fixing this now preventable issue nonetheless. Still, a lot of time has passed since this unit’s discontinuation. Finding the right parts to achieve the repairs is not easy.
After taking the time to thoroughly inspect the discontinued unit, our Australian team starts to act on the repairs themselves. Integrating exclusively current parts and components into a seasoned Impulse is a tricky task. Ultimately, bit of luck strikes:
“Fortunately we had a box of old spare parts and were able to rebuild the unit back to (almost) new condition using some new and used parts, so [the Impulse] was fully operational again. Cosmetically it looked great, and the unit tested fine on our alignment jig [and remained] within specs on the laser output power meter.”
Plenty of companies would choose to insist that McKinley replace his outdated unit with a current product. At Laser Tech, taking the time to search for, find, and implement old spare parts is a source of pride. With our team acting on their dedication to customer service, only McKinley’s happiness could truly measure their success. The good folks at Laser Tech Australia would make sure of this, and received a warm thanks from McKinley, who made a note to appreciate our team “for doing a great job and taking an interest.”
Phil Lack sums up the experience, which “just goes to show that even after 26 years, we can still support an old LTI laser and keep an end user happy to keep using his favourite forestry tool. It also speaks to the quality and reliability of LTI PM products and goes to show quality is remembered long after price is forgotten.”