New tool innovations impress tradies
Powerful batteries and advances in brushless applications are just some of the exciting innovations tradies can expect when shopping for trade tools over the next 12 months. However, one of the most exciting announcements coming out of the trade tools category currently, is the announcement of smart phone applications synchronising with cordless tool batteries.
During the recent United Tools annual conference, DeWalt announced the release of its 20V MAX Bluetooth battery, which is armed with a Bluetooth chip, according to Director of United Tools Liverpool, Paul Symington.
“The Bluetooth will actually communicate with mobile phone applications and tell the user how much run time they have left on the battery and how much torque they are applying to the actual tool. But the biggest feature on the new battery is that it may also be used as a security device,” Mr Symington said.
“It does this because it is designed to disengage as soon as the battery is outside the phone’s Bluetooth range. So whatever the Bluetooth range is on your phone, if someone steals your battery and takes it out of this range, the battery will lock and won’t be usable. This is the kind of technology that will be giving people a buzz over the next 12 to 18 months,” he said.
The new battery will be available in 2.0 amp and 4.0 amp versions.
Advancements in batteries for cordless tools are expected to be another popular innovation in the next 12 months, according to Mr Symington, who said just two years ago, the standard battery for a cordless tool was the 3.0 amp battery.
“If I use Makita and DeWalt as an example, they are now running a 5.0 amp battery, with a 6.0 amp on the way and I suspect there will be others going a lit bit higher than that. I think the battery technology has improved so much over the last couple of years, so it’s going to be very interesting.”
“It also seems power tools are dying a natural death because there are a lot more cordless tools out in the market place that are as strong as the original 240 vault tools. Makita have dropped its 36 vault range completely and they are running with an 18 vault range because they are bringing tools in that will run off two 18 volt batteries. They are obviously trying to expand this technology into its outdoor range as well, with the outdoor range now running off the same battery platform as what trade tools are. The progression is fast and is getting more and more difficult to keep up with,” he said.
Tradies crave innovation
Geelong Total Tools part-owner, Shouk Assad, also reported that tradies can be demanding and as soon as a product is launched, it is imperative store owners ensure the innovation is immediately available to their customers.
“Tradies are always looking for new products or new additions to products in their existing range. Bigger capacity batteries, brushless tools and innovative additions to the 18 volt range are new innovations,” Mr Assad said.
“Milwaukee also had a new range of products coming out at Milwaukee’s New Product Symposium on October 15, in Sydney. They are a hot power tool company at the moment and they are the ones that seem to be growing rapidly,” he said.
Five in one flexibility
Bosch PRO Marketing Manager, Peter Campbell said innovation was particularly evident at the recent Bosch Blue Technology Transformed Event, held in July.
“Obviously we held our major event recently and there were a couple of things there that
really got people’s attention. One of these things was the Bosch FlexiClick system, which essentially has five tools in one, as it has four different head attachments,” Mr Campbell said.
“The FlexiClick system has removable attachments which click on the front and change it from being a drill driver, to being an SDS drill (hammer drill) and it also has a right angled head chuck, 13 millimetre and off-set chuck, which is ideal for use in small areas and is quite compact as well, while remaining very powerful. The SDS plus attachment also allows the tool to be converted from a standard drill driver into a rotary hammer drill, making it the most versatile 18 volt tool on the market.”
“It really is a very versatile tool to use by all sorts of all people, but I think it was envisaged specifically for tradies working in small areas, particularly cabinet makers and those within construction. Th is has certainly generated a lot of interest for us and the product got a fantastic review.”
“It is a very unique tool and there is nothing else like this on the market. There’s individual tools that do the same thing – so you can buy a right angled drill driver, but it’s a tool that you only use on certain occasions. Tradies love their gadgets, so this is perfect,” he said.
Brushless maintains momentum
Looking into 2016, Bosch does have a number of excit-
“Tradies love their gadgets, so they are always interested in anything that is new and different. During the Bosch Blue Technology Transformed Event, we also received a very good reaction towards our measuring tools and of course we have also been focusing on the wireless charging products. The tradies love these concepts.”
“The wireless charging products didn’t get off to a huge start because the battery that came with it was only a 2.0 amp battery and tradies like a much higher amp hour battery. So the other exciting thing we are launching now is the 4.0 amp wireless charging battery. So that actually makes it much more interesting for the tradies, the fact that they can have their wireless charging battery which actually delivers sufficient power for a day’s work. There’s a lot more excitement around this for sure,” he said.
“In measuring tools one of the things that is getting a lot of attention is the inspection cameras that we launched for electricians and plumbers. These allow them to get into pipes and behind walls to see what is going on. These were also very well received,” he said.
Did you know?
No doubt the Australian trade tools market is set for exciting times ahead, especially when considering the standard drill was initially an Australian invention. It was developed in1889, when Arthur James Arnot travelled from his Scotland home to Melbourne, to help build a power plant for the Union Electric company. This was the same year he was awarded the patent for the electric drill. With a background working part time at an electrical company in Glasgow, Mr Arnot had the skills and knowledge of electricity needed to create his invention with colleague William Blanch Brain. The drill was designed specifically to drill rock and coal but it paved the way for advancements in drill technology.