The KODI KLIP® Story
I was working with my crew wire tying on a footing for what is now a Harley Davidson shop. There were two mats of rebar — big ones — 120′, right up against form boards. The conditions were miserable. As I watched my crew struggle with rebar tying, I remember thinking, there has to be an easy way to do this.
Jon Kodi, a general contractor with 35 years in the construction business whose family built much of Palm Springs, California, was determined to create a faster and better way to make rebar connections than rebar tying.
If there was an easier way, no one had found it. Rebar tying with wire ties — the accepted method for more than a century — had always been a time-consuming process that injured workers, created construction bottlenecks, and produced unstable and inconsistent rebar connections. Generation after generation of inventors had tried to replace the outdated method but none of the solutions worked. Jon had tried them all. The automated rebar tying gun saved a little time but didn’t adequately address worker injury, and certainly not form stability. In addition, the rebar tying gun was temperamental and expensive. Another company came out with a plastic clip that broke easily, had to be applied by hand and was easily pushed out of place during concrete pours. None of the new inventions seemed capable of withstanding the demands of real life construction, nor did they address any of the most pressing issues contractors faced.
I needed a solution that would help my crews to make consistent rebar connections faster without the injuries.
The Ultimate Solution To Rebar Tying Problems
Jon realized that if he wanted a solution, he would have to build it himself. With decades of experience on engineering projects and a deep familiarity with structural issues, he started tinkering. “It all started with some PVC pipe from Home Depot,” Jon remembers. After producing an initial design featuring a swivel, he abandoned that design in favor of a more rigid prototype that featured a simple connection from the top side. “My goal was to create a klip that would eliminate the need for workers to reach under the rebar because that’s where a lot of the cuts and scrapes happen.”
The initial design featured jaws on the bottom of a klip that wrapped around the bottom rebar. The first prototypes were fashioned out of nylon used to fabricate parts in a machine shop. Working with a local plastic injection molding company, he developed a custom mold and then began testing materials. Most of the plastics he tried, including glass filled nylon, PVC, polypropylene and TYVEC® were all too pliable, producing klips that functioned but were too elastic and the rebar dislodged too easily. Jon eventually selected polycarbonate for its memory and rigidity.
The next step was the development of the application tool. Jon knew that a lightweight gun would be the best option. After an agreement with the manufacturer of a battery-powered gun fell through, Jon decided to make the gun himself. “I went to Lowes and bought a brad nail gun because it was small and light weight. I took the gun apart, designed a track to fit the klips and built the track myself. It was crude but it worked.” A local machine shop built five working prototypes and testing began. “My goal was to get a product on the market that was user-friendly and would reduce injury and risk on the job sites. It was about creating something that worked for the workers—while saving money for their employers.”
As Jon allowed construction company leaders and pre-cast manufacturers to test the new system, enthusiasm grew. “The response to the concept has been overwhelming,” says Jon. Business owners and managers aren’t the only fans. Few have been more excited about the launch of this new product than employees and the labor leaders who represent them.
One union steward was telling me about attending his company’s annual service anniversary presentations. He told me how painful it was to see the physical changes in these guys. At five years, they’re still healthy and they’re standing upright as they pick up their service anniversary award. The guys with ten years are slightly bent over and walking a little slower. The guys with 15 and 20 years in the rebar tying business, they limp up to the stage all hunched over and can’t straighten up from a lifetime bending over to do this work.
The union leader was genuinely grieved for his members. Jon recalls the story—and the union leader’s tears—vividly.
“Antiquated rebar tying with tie wire is hard on employees,” says Jon, adding that the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers has endorsed the Kodi Klip® System as the official tool and connector for rebar fastening. “Our method results in far fewer injuries. If someone does suffer a lower back injury no matter what the reason, you can get him back to work much faster because he can use an extension handle on the application tool and work without bending or stooping. It’s a win-win situation. The employer spends less on workers’ comp claims and lost productivity while the employee gets back to work earlier and keeps getting his full paycheck.”
While industry excitement has been high, Jon has seen a few naysayers. Some people are very attached to rebar tie wire because the per-unit cost is less and that’s the way they’ve always done it,” says Jon. “But when you consider the hidden costs of connecting rebar the old ways, like lost productivity, workers’ compensation premiums, and high turnover and training, not to mention the potential to increase revenue because work gets done faster—the Kodi Klip System costs far less overall.”
Jon sums it up this way: “Using rebar tying wire when your competition is using the KODI KLIP® Rebar Fastening System is like having your carpenters use hammers while competitors use nail guns. It’s like hiring five guys to break concrete all day long with sledgehammers when your competitors are hiring one guy with an air compressor and jack hammer who can finish the job in two hours. It puts you at a distinct disadvantage. ”