AST Trulink

A Design Strategy To Change An Industry

AST, a leading installer of compressed air systems, saw an opportunity to change their industry by introducing an innovative new branded product line, with the goal to supplant the industry’s top manufacturer. To do that, they needed more than just design and engineering—they needed a strategy. And that’s why they partnered with BOLTGROUP.
What We Did

Industrial Design


Brand + Product Strategy

Visual Brand Language


Color Palettes

Consumer Validation Testing

Visual + Verbal Identity System

Brand Production

Brand Guidelines

Brand Coaching + Training

Brand Stewardship

Brand Design + Communications

Experience Design


Mechanical Engineering

Manufacturing Support

3D CAD Modeling

Production Part Documentation + BOMs

Finite Element Analysis (FEA)

trulink parts exploded

Applied System Technologies is a leading provider of commercial compressed air systems, establishing their name in 2005 when they introduced aluminum piping as a lighter, safer alternative to the standard iron and copper systems of the time. By providing a better product in an end-to-end installed solution, they quickly became the preferred choice for compressed air systems around the world.

But their ambitions didn’t stop at the pipes; they wanted to change the entire compressed air game. And that meant addressing the rest of the system—all 280+ fittings and accessories that hold the pipes together and make the system work. Not content to simply buy or copy their suppliers, they sought true product innovation to leapfrog the competition with a complete branded offering.

And that’s where BOLTGROUP came in. AST needed a partner that could design and engineer a new branded family of high-performance fittings, tested to the highest standards. They wanted to make a splash with an innovative and differentiated brand that would supplant the competition and justify the huge capital investment. And they needed to do it fast or risk their first-to-market status.

trulink parts on pipe
trulink parts on pipe
trulink parts on pipe

BOLTGROUP applied a fully integrated brand and product innovation approach to develop a new brand strategy, brand name, visual and verbal identity system, and visual brand language for the 280+ SKU product line. Starting with research and strategy, we set out to determine how the brand needed to be positioned in the marketplace to achieve early growth and adoption.

Working closely with AST leadership and leveraging their decades of experience in the industry, we crafted a position and created the Trulink™ Brand that would set them apart from the competition, evidenced through the design of every fitting and brand touchpoint:

TruLink™ is guaranteed for life and backed by the best customer service in the business. Made from precision-cast aluminum and meticulously designed and engineered to be both lightweight and secure, TruLink offers easy installation with no maintenance. Deep pride and precision craftsmanship shine through in every product and every system. TruLink sets the new standard for safety, reliability, and durability.

visual brand guidelines for trulink
trulink logo guidelines
trulink logo

A Visual Brand Language (VBL) is a framework for product design used to create a cohesive product family, communicate brand attributes, build brand recognition, and make the development process more consistent and efficient. By utilizing a robust VBL design framework, our team of engineers could design dozens of fittings in parallel, with consistent high-quality outputs and minimal design revisions. The entire line of over 280 fittings and accessories was designed and engineered by BOLTGROUP’s product development teams based on the “Trulink” VBL and guidelines, allowing AST to launch a complete and consistent platform of branded products, from scratch, in less than 2 years from initiation.

To deliver meaningful innovation to installers, customers, and end users, the fitting designs include features and product improvements to make installation faster, easier, and straighter than ever before. Bold size and spec labels molded into the fittings are easy to read from a distance. Clear, chunky tool interface points allow installers to work quickly with standard tools. And best-in-class insertion depths ensure a straighter, truer system with no leaks or failures.

The bold and clean Visual Brand Language embodied in every part design works together as a system to create high brand recognition and visibility, even when installed in a high ceiling. And the appealing yet straightforward designs are loved by installers and building owners alike. The fittings even feature innovative interchangeable branding components to allow AST to customize their product offering for their top customers.

trulink parts on pipe

The launch of the Trulink brand and product line is the culmination of a significant shift and expansion of AST’s business, from solutions integrator to total system provider. By owning the total system and customer experience, they are better positioned to deliver innovative products and solutions to their customers. And
with the robust Trulink brand strategy and VBL, they are fully equipped to react quickly to changing customer needs or new opportunities.


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