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Get To Grips With The NEW Range of Hand Saws from Hultafors

As most discerning craftsmen know, Hultafors' can deliver just about anything you need for measuring, leveling and marking; striking, cutting and chopping; even prying and wrecking. So these really are a range of Tools that can handle tough applications, last for ages and feel right when you're working on site.

Now there’s a new addition to the Hultafors Tools’ portfolio – a range of premium quality Hand Saws - market-leading products for all-round, on-site use with a handful of unique features that will make them highly sought-after products.

So what makes these saws really different? Take a look at the unique blade tip for an easier start and ongoing sawing motion; the easy-to-use blade exchange system; the extra-stable precision blade; the ergonomic handle and the unique blade protection system.

Getting more information on the Hultafors Tools range of Handsaws is easy. You call the Helpline on 01484 854788 or check out www.hultafors.co.uk and download a digital catalogue.

Carl Kammerling International Strips Away the Competition

Leading provider of quality hand tools and security solutions, Carl Kammerling International, is celebrating the success of its market leading C.K ArmourSlice following a record-breaking sales period.

Awarded product of the year by professional electricians, the innovative Steel Wired Armoured (SWA) cable stripper has been stripping away the competition since launch last year.

The market-leading product has already delivered impressive margins to retailers, and looks set to become one of the provider’s best sellers.

Designed to speed up the process of preparing SWA cable, the C.K ArmourSlice allows electricians to complete the job up to 50% faster and ensures a perfect cut every time. Typically done utilising a hacksaw and trimming knife, the conventional method for stripping SWA cable is slow, cumbersome and can result in an uneven cut of the wire strands, and even possible damage to the inner conductors.

Graham Godfrey, brand manager for C.K tools, commented: “The C.K ArmourSlice has completely surpassed our expectations. We knew the innovative nature and time saving design of the product would resonate with our core audience of professional electricians, however its overall sales performance has been staggering.

“The success of the product is a real testament to the development work that Carl Kammerling International undertakes in collaboration with its panel of professional tradesmen. Working this way ensures that innovative products are constantly developed to meet the needs of the everyday tradesman.”

For further information please visit www.carlkammerling.com or call 01758 704704.

Metabo Launches LiHD - A Cordless Gamechanger

A small boatyard in Kappeln an der Schiel in Northern Germany might seem like an unlikely place to start a revolution, but the assembled press were rightly impressed as Metabo launched its new range of LiHD battery packs. These high-density lithium packs took a lot of development and input, but will deliver up to 67% more power and 87% longer running times. However, the new packs, available in a 3.1, 5.5 or 6.2Ah, are not much bigger than their standard equivalents and are completely compatible across the range of over 50 Metabo 18v cordless tools.

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On the face of it some might say that “revolution” is overstating the case – but after seeing the products and trying them out myself, the target of a cordless only workshop and worksite envisioned by Metabo is definitely attainable and probably sooner than we think. Herein lies the revolution!

Perhaps a bit of background to the new battery technology is now required. As the name HD or High Density implies, the new cells in the battery packs are flatter and more densely packed with electrolytes than in previous Li Ion technology thus having potentially more power to deliver to the tools used. However, this being electronics, it is not the entire answer. As we all know, cordless motors (and corded for that matter) heat up as we use them. This is caused by operating friction and by the heat of the batteries themselves as they deliver the power to the motor. At some point the heat and power graphs coincide and, if you are lucky enough to have a proper electronically managed tool, the motor will shut off to avoid burning the tool out. This can happen with any Ah of cordless battery pack, so simply having a high Ah does not guarantee flawless performance.

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Metabo’s R and D team has managed to ensure that the new LiHD battery packs remain as cool as possible so that they can deliver their full power at a manageable temperature for as long as possible. One of the obvious ways to do this was to beef up the electrical conductivity by using high copper content alloys and thicker contacts for the battery packs. These allow the current to flow more easily to the motor and reduce heat-creating resistance between tool and battery pack. With less heat being generated, the new packs were able to be made to within a smidgeon of the size of the “old” battery packs because the cooling airspaces needed in the “old” packs were not needed in LiHD.

The other advantages that flow from an average 87% longer run time include a much longer service life and fewer charges per battery to achieve the same amount of work. This durability means that Metabo supplies the new LiHD packs with a Three Year Warranty knowing that, in the words of Dr. Volker Siegle, Director of Product Development and Quality, “a LiHD pack has double the durability compared to a standard Lithium-Ion battery pack”.

What Metabo has also done to optimise the performance of battery packs is to continue to develop the range of brushless motors used in many of the tools in the range. Generally speaking, these motors are more efficient, can run at faster speeds and are sealed, so they do not ingest the abrasive dust that can often kill off brushed motors very quickly.

Metabo’s key developments for tools in the LiHD and brushless range are in angle grinders – Metabo’s strongest suit in world sales. I am told that in the US they don’t ask for an angle grinder, they ask for “a metabo”, much as we talk about “hoovers” for vacuum cleaners.

Being launched in June is the new cordless equivalent of a 1,000w corded 125mm diameter angle grinder. During the demo of this machine, the press watched as the cordless grinder outpaced the corded version cutting through steel plate in a timed test. Having got my hands on it a bit later and used it to cut through square steel tube, I was pleased to have donned the appropriate PPE, because the cutting performance was fierce and the spray of sparks was testament to that. Seriously, there was no question that the performance was inferior in any way to a corded machine.

Due later in the year is the first cordless 36v 230mm two-handed angle grinder on the market. Dr. Volker Siegler demonstrated this by cutting through a 6mm thick steel motorway barrier. He achieved this in a little over a minute, despite the barrier having built-in cutting difficulty because it has several strengthening bends in it that entail the disc having to cut in two places at once.

Once the press conference was over we were able to roam freely through the large demo area and talk to individual product managers and try out many of Metabo’s range of 18v tools for ourselves. I focused on a couple of the tools that I know very well, having tested them in the “old” 5.2Ah guises. The only difference being that they sported the new packs that are distinguished by having a red base and the letters “LiHD” inscribed.

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Using a standard Metabo LTX drill driver loaded with a 3.1 Ah LiHD18v battery pack I drilled several 30 mm diameter holes through a laminated wooden beam where my wrists were more in danger of being twisted than the drill was of being stopped in the cut. It was clear that the extra power and run time in LiHD means that some users who value compactness can choose these smaller battery packs without sacrificing performance.

Since both the currently used chargers and all the current 18v tools are compatible with the new LiHD battery packs, if you want to upgrade your kit, all you need to do is to buy a new LiHD battery pack or two. Many of the product managers were keen to point out that in fact the “old” technology is perfectly sound and will not be confined to the bin in the short term because there are still many applications where the extra advantages of LiHD are not needed. Of course LiHD will come at an extra cost, but I am assured that the difference will not be so great as to be a big issue of affordability.

With woodwork being my main interest I had a long test of the KGS 18 LTX mitre saw. Even with the “old” 5.2 Ah battery pack I have now more or less ditched my corded mitre saw. But, loaded with the new HD battery pack, the power and run time of the KGS was simply amazing, with the result that I have already pre-ordered a LiHD battery pack for my workshop. It really is that good.

Some of the other commonly used tools in the Metabo range, including mains powered tools, had been converted by the Metabo tech guys into cordless versions for the press and dealers to try out. While these are not “official” yet, all I can say is be prepared to be surprised.

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In the last few years, despite some still lingering signs of recession in some markets, Metabo has shown impressive growth in its sales of power tools, both in European and World terms, so we have to take the company’s target of a cordless worksite very seriously. The research that Metabo has undertaken has led to the development of several impressively advanced tools that are leading the market in terms of innovation and efficiency, and we can clearly look forward to more of the same. All of this research and innovation can only be good for the tool trade in general, and Metabo users in particular – and I predict a growing number of those on the evidence of what I saw at that boatyard in Germany!

‘LED Lenser’s mighty mini M3R

Convenience is everything with LED Lenser’s brilliant little M3R, the company’s smallest-ever rechargeable hand torch. It will blast out an impressive 220 lumens of light but at barely four inches in length will easily fit into a shirt pocket or overalls, making it a great choice for travel and jobs on the go. Rechargeable via mains or USB its generous 6 hour burn time is enough to covers most tasks in a day’s work but to be on the safe side there’s even a helpful Low Battery Message System to tell you when the batteries do need to be re-charged.

Performance-wise it offers the kind of superior technical ability that can almost be taken for granted with any LED Lenser torch: patented Advanced Focus System optics combine with micro-controlled Smart Light Technology for a high quality near-to-far beam and a choice of three useful light modes – Power, Low Power and Defence Strobe. A simple push-button Dynamic Switch at one end and single-handed Speed Focus at the other mean that selection of any light or focus setting is both simple and fast. Naturally it is built to last, with an anodised metal casing containing hard gold-plated battery contacts inside for optimum durability and power transmission. Supplied with wrist strap, belt pouch, clip, charger and one Lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

For further information please contact Richard Woolston on 1344 876222 or visit www.ledlenser.co.uk

Etesia Celebrates 25 Years - Innovation is the Key

Etesia StrimmerIt goes without saying that we at ToolBusiness spend a lot of time in damp and windy fields looking at products that are best tested and demonstrated in damp and windy fields. Based near Banbury in Oxfordshire, the UK base of Etesia is ideally placed, being surrounded by fields on which to demonstrate their range of mowers, motorized barrows and garden tools. The purpose of the press day was to celebrate 25 years of innovation and to demonstrate some of the new range of products and ideas that the company is developing.

Fortunately, Etesia had arranged a dry venue under canvas and began the day with a short video giving a lightning tour of Etesia’s 25 years in business. This was followed by a more detailed exposition of the Etesia story by Patrick Vives, the MD of Etesia UK.

Etesia lawnmowerEtesia is a family owned French company that has been very successful developing and innovating garden equipment – for example in developing and producing hydrostatic transmissions, diesel powered ride-on mowers and more latterly electrically powered machines with 0% emissions.

The company has been able to be so innovative because at least 5% of annual turnover is allocated to Research and Development – one of the ways in which a company such as Etesia can compete with slower moving corporations and thus stay in front of the innovation curve.

The development of Etesia’s range of ride-on mowers over 25 years serves as an apt metaphor for the company as a whole. Beginning in 1989 Etesia developed a new system of grass collection that used contra-rotating cutters that ejected the cuttings to the rear of the machine where it could be easily collected. The competition was still using side ejection that made easy collection impossible.

The introduction of the Bahia range was an attempt to make smaller and cheaper mowers that would find a wider market. These models too had innovations like a remote controlled emptiable grass box. With the introduction of the H124D, the high-lift emptiable grass box was pioneered as well as a 4 wheel drive option – at the same time development was aiming to lower the cost of the machines even further.

Etesia Lawnmower imageThe Attila Range was developed specifically for farmers and local authorities who needed a brushcutting capacity on a machine with four wheel drive, rugged tyres and a low centre of gravity in order to work on sloped banks and verges.

When Etesia developed their Bioconcept strategy its analysis showed that in the lifecycle of a typical garden machine 9% of emissions were created in the manufacturing process, 1% in the distribution and 5% at the end of life of the machine. The bulk of emissions (85%) were in the daily use of fuel in the machine. Clearly, if the company could tackle this last one, emissions could be reduced greatly. Etesia experimented with biofuel and now has a range of machines that can run on a diesel and biofuel mix as well as on LPG.

But the future development was obviously pointing at using electricity and the promise of zero emissions.

The company also began to look in detail at production in the French factory in order to save time, money, energy and production costs. Involving the workers themselves, an integrated system was developed that allowed smarter production of in-demand models and took into account seasonal variations in demand. At the same time there was relentless pressure to produce reliable, cost effective and innovative machines in order to compete in a market place hit by recession and general retrenchment. For example, all Etesia machines are subject to post- manufacture tests whereas commonly only a small sample of machines are tested by larger manufacturers.

As a company, Etesia relies on its band of loyal customers as well as trying hard to develop into new markets worldwide. In order to do this it has to have a dealership structure that will respond quickly to customers’ demands and listen to their requests and suggestions. With exports making up 60% of production, the machines have to be aimed at a wide range of users working in a wide range of conditions.

Quality doesn’t come cheap, but as we all know in the tool trade – most often you get what you pay for.

The second part of the presentation was by Andreas Kuisl from Pellenc. Not many readers may know about Pellenc but the company has been around for 37 years. It is most well known in France for producing cordless pruners for vineyards. (Think about it – would your hands be capable of doing the pruning of acres of vineyards in the time slot available?)

Pellenc is an ideal working partner for Etesia because the company has been developing motors, cordless backpacks and cordless tools for a lot longer than the market may reflect. At least 1% of its £102m turnover is spent on research and development. With 300 patents to its name Pellenc is an innovative force to be reckoned with.

Andreas was quickly able to put across Pellenc’s vision for the future of solar powered battery packs that could be converted (using smart electronics) to run domestic appliances, LED lighting systems as well as a range of tools, both domestic and industrial. Andreas made a convincing case for solar powered battery packs being able to reduce emissions by 98% on a range of common machines and appliances.

For me the best part of any trade day is trying out the machines. I started with the Pellenc battery powered brush cutter. Like its petrol-powered counterparts it operates freely as its powerpack is a battery on the operator’s back. In my experience, it is as efficient as a petrol-powered machine, but without the noise, the vibration and the fumes. I could see how this would be perfect for urban environments where noise and fumes might limit the scope and range of grasscutting operations.

I also had a great time scarifying an area of grass using the new Etesia battery-powered general purpose Bahia machine. The diesel powered Attila mower I tried showed brilliant stability as I threw it around the field using the tight turning circle and brilliant maneuverability. The field wasn’t really damp enough to put those mini tractor tyres to the test…!

Check Out The Best Gear for Working on site in the NEW Snickers Workwear Catalogue

The latest full colour brochure is now available FREE in print or as a digital edition.

It features the world’s leading range of working clothes, the only one that will work hard on site all year round, whatever the working environment or weather condition.

Whatever trade you’re in, there’s something for you in the Snickers range – Work Trousers, Work Jackets, Tool Vests Shirts, Underwear, Accessories and Tool Carriers.

Complimented by Snickers Profiling and Embroidery services and the UK’s most extensive range of garment sizes, Snickers’ Workwear System delivers the ultimate solution to make every man and woman’s workday easier and safer.

To get the catalogue visit the website at www.snickersworkwear.com alternatively, call the Snickers Helpline on 01484 854788.

Welability - SIF

Bringing together a better future for UK manufacturing.

Weldability LogoOn Friday the 27th March after a short train ride from London Kings Cross and brisk walk through Letchworth town centre, we arrived at Weldability-Sif for the official opening of their Technology and Training Centre.

In recent times welding, along with the UK Manufacturing Industry as a whole, has slowed, almost to the point of vanishing. Although this is largely down to outsourcing to overseas manufacturers, there is also a perception that it is a profession for older generations, one that the young do not see as a plausible or accessible career pathway. However, Weldabity-SIF are doing all they can to change that.

SIF tipsAdrian Hawkins, Chairman of Weldability-SIF began the day by looking back on how the company has evolved during their 90-year history. He told the story of how during the Second World War, SIF-Tips, the company’s publication offering welding tips and ideas, changed its mascot from ‘Willie the Welder’, to ‘Winnie the Welder’ to help women adapt to their new found status as blue collar workers. Even during wartime, Sifbronze, as it was then known, were creating inroads to making welding accessible to all, regardless of age or gender.

The company has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, becoming Weldability SIF in 2007. With the new Weldability-SIF Technology and Training Centre, of which the offices of Unit 1 will be named ‘Peter’s House’, after Adrian’s late Father, this day was as much about looking forward as back. Due to the work of the Weldability-SIF foundation, apprenticeships in the sector are becoming far more accessible with training welding workshops opening in engineering colleges around the country. These welding workshop include the recently opened Llaneli based Coleg Sir Gar, and also the one at Goole College, based in Hull.

Weldability Building OpeningSir Oliver Heald, the MP of the Letchworth Area officially opened the new building, before being taken on a tour round the new Technology and Training Centre. After a quick look at the new Showroom, we were then taken through at demonstration of how a Weldability-SIF Apprenticeship works. Initially an Apprentice will focus on the theoretical side of the vocation, using the facilities of the E Learning suite to be taken through the training and then take online tests to prepare for the practical side of the job. He or she will then begin honing their Welding skills in the Vitual Welding studio, enabling them to practice without being at risk of injury or worse and also saving wastage of materials at such an early stage. Furthermore this E learning is portable, and is currently making its way around schools in the Greater London Area.

We were a given the opportunity to chance our arm with the virtUweld welding simulator, and it is safe to say I’d need a fair few more lessons before I don the mask and have a crack at the real thing!

Another fascinating part of the tour was looking at the work of Extractability, the fume extraction division of Welability-SIF. New regulations, tightening up on the management of fumes has lead to improvements in Extractability products, with the Protecto line, having an extensive range of Extraction arms, fans, downdraft benches, hoses, filters, vacuum systems and filters, both fixed and mobile. Its great to see the company doing what it can to not only make the vocation accessible, but also developing their technology to make the future bright, with more green credentials.

After the tour was over, we were treated to an excellent lunch, and a chat with members of the Weldability-SIF family and staff. We would like to thank everyone there for making it an enjoyable and interesting day in Letchworth Garden City.

Report by Matthew Beard, Editorial Manager

Scruffs Ergonomic 3D Trade Trouser - Winter 2014 collection

Scruffs makes it easy for tradesmen to look good when they’re working hard, with the launch of the 3D Trade Trouser, from the Winter 2014 workwear collection.

Whether working in cold, wet or dry conditions, the vital factors remain the same – the highest levels of comfort, protection and styling that turns heads on and off the job.

With great design at its core, Scruffs continues to set the standard as the UK’s leading workwear brand in terms of style, function and performance.

Scruffs 3D Trade Trouser

With an ergonomic design, the new ‘Scruffs 3D Trade Trouser’ provides comfort and durability, with a made-to-fit feel.

Key design features include multifunctional pockets and pre-bent knees to give high manoeuvrability, with a curve in the leg that fits comfortably whether standing or kneeling.

Cordura® enforced kneepads and triple stitched seams at major stress points add extra security and comfort.

Available in Black and Graphite

For full range info and to find out more about the Scruffs Winter Essentials deals visit www.scruffs.com

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