Cutting The Cord
With versatility at a premium, power tools have become increasingly cordless and lighter.
Much like phones have gone away from needing a wall connection, to cordless, to nearly every- one carrying one in their pocket – power tools
technology has followed suit over the past 10 years. From
construction professionals and repair contractors, to factory workers, to do-it-yourselfers, the overall demand has
been for more versatile power tools. Manufacturers are
meeting the challenge by making today’s tools lighter,
longer-lasting, and improving in charging technology.
Power tools were featured prominently at November’s
Specialty Tool and Fasteners Distributors Association
(STAFDA) trade show in Phoenix, AZ. There, the latest and
greatest power tool products and innovations were on
display from many of their top makers, including Bosch,
De Walt, Milwaukee Tool, Ridgid and many others.
Industrial Distribution was able to meet with several
of them and even try out a few of their products on the
trade show floor. Afterward, a couple of them shared
their thoughts on the top trends in the power tools
“The biggest trend in DC electric power tool tech-
nology is cordless,” says Mike Connor, Global Director of
Marketing at Apex Power Tools, a division of Apex Tool
Group. “There is a rapid shift in the market from corded
to cordless tools. Cordless power tools are expected to
gain traction in the future due to their ease of use and
Apex says that as battery technology has moved away
from nickel-cadmium to Lithium-ion, the tools are becom-
ing faster and lighter. Today’s cordless tools are able to
run longer on a single charge, offering superior perfor-
mance for users than tools produced just a few years ago.
“Li-ion batteries have become the industry standard for
premium industrial as well as DYI end-users,” Connor says.
Charging technology continues to evolve, and like power tools themselves, have become increasingly mobile.
Battery charging docks can today be installed on work-
benches, mounted to walls, or even installed in vehicles.
Innovations have allowed chargers to cut the cord as well.
In 2014, Bosch unveiled its Bosch Power Ready Wireless
Charging System, in which all the user has to do is place a
compatible battery on the charging pad, which then be-
gins wirelessly transmitting power. The user doesn’t even
have to remove the battery from the tool.
“The ongoing evolution of battery power, highlighted
by an increase in amp hours and advances in brushless
motors, is allowing for development of cordless tools that
were previously only available as corded products,” says
Steve Wilcox, Bosch Power Tools Product Manager.
Advancements in the aforementioned brushless motors
is what has driven the rise in power tools. Traditional
power tools require more maintenance because of the
brushes, whereas power tools with brushless motors are
virtually maintenance-free. Brushless motors run more
efficiently due to their electronic control, which Wilcox
says can also help to control torque and performance, as
well as allows users to electronically control speed and
power output in certain applications.
“Brushless technology continues to be the story in
the power tool industry,” Wilcox says. “It’s all about the
Cordless and battery charging developments in power
tools continue to help end users decrease lost productivity
time due to searching for outlets and disposable
batteries, and save them maintenance dollars.
Safety improvements are an important part of any
tool group, and power tools are no exception. In a factory
setting, such as fastening operations at automotive
plants, numerous incidents have been reported where
an operator’s glove, clothing or hair has been caught by
rotating tools while driving a fastener, resulting in injury.
BY MIKE HOCKETT