Aimed at: Professional and Industrial Engineers.
Pros: Super strong and easy to add the extension plus the 'Take it Easy' Tool finder
There is innovation and then there is innovative refinement. As a company, Wera has proved to be good at both of these over the years. The result is that we tool users get to enjoy classic Wera products, but with the knowledge that the Wera R&D team is looking, listening, refining and innovating so that these products will be ahead of the game wherever possible.
An example of what I am referring to was launched at the Cologne Tool Fair at the beginning of March and I was lucky enough to have a sample arrive for reviewing soon after.
Users and retailers alike approve of the dramatic new black Wera style of packaging that emphasizes the quality of what is inside, as well as providing versatile ways of display in retail premises. The rigid ballistic nylon wallets inside the box have also undergone some refinements that may not always be obvious. For example, the flexible plastic outline of the tool attached to the wallet near the hook and loop closure helps the user to identify the kit if it is in the bottom of a toolbox or bag, or if conditions are dark- something that happens quite often on worksites in our dank and cold winters – in my experience January is the worst.
Another refinement is the inclusion of a strip of self-adhesive hook and loop fixing. The Wera team has worked out that sometimes it is handy to be able to attach the kit to a vertical or flat surface so that it is instantly available where expected, and also so that it doesn’t move around.
Perhaps the thing that most users will notice when opening up the wallet will be the coloured bands around the sockets. From now on, if a user decides to work by colour, a light blue band indicates a 19mm socket. For others, the black band around the business end of the socket with large clear numbers gives the same message. This identification system is a refined and more user-friendly way of identifying sockets and tools compared to the usual Wera method of laser etching. To help replace the sockets correctly into the wallet after a job, the sewn in numbers 10 to 19 along the line of socket carriers provide a third line of organizational defence. Without my glasses, I found that both the numbers and colours worked well for me. “Pass the green socket” might soon become a comprehensible instruction in a workshop near you, no wonder that Wera calls it the “Take it Easy” tool finder system.
But as is usual with Wera, refinement doesn’t mean just one improvement.
Clearly the product design team has worked out that bigger sockets need more friction to stay on their square pegs in the wallet, and this can mean that they need more of a tug to release them. I just love the twist and lock system that has now been used to locate and hold the sockets in transit. To release or lock the sockets into place takes a fraction of a twist – a really easy and neat method that saves time and adds a lot to efficient use.
All the sockets now also have a system of holding fasteners so that they can be presented to the corresponding bolt. Anyone who has ever done anything slightly complicated with spanners, nuts and bolts will recognize the scenario where the nut or bolt needs to be taken to its corresponding partner that is stuck behind a bulkhead for example. What then usually happens is a juggling act, balancing the nut in the socket until, by trial and error, the nut can be screwed onto the bolt. A pain in the proverbial, as I am sure you will agree.
To solve this particular dilemma Wera has introduced a couple of sprung ball bearings into each socket that securely hold the hex head of the fastener so that whatever angle it is held at it, it will not fall out. Problem solved easily and elegantly I think.
The Zyklop Hybrid kit is a weighty kit, not only because you get one of the well-established big Zyklop ratchets in the wallet, but a ratchet and extension handle too.
The original Zyklop Speed is well known for having a fine 5-degree ratchet angle so that it will work even in the tightest spaces – the new Zyklop Hybrid boasts an equally fine-tooth mechanism. Hybrid also features a quick and easy left/right switch lever on the ratchet head. I am also very much in favour of the holding and quick release function on the ratchet drive. Sockets are held in place with a ball bearing but will literally fall into your hand as you press the release button. So much easier than having to pull at it, especially since your hands will probably be greasy from working anyway.
A Zyklop ratchet on its own is a formidable beast, including this newest member of the family, but Wera has added extension handle functionality to the Zyklop Hybrid. When using this extension bar, Wera warns users not to exceed torque limits of 600 Nm! I dare any users to do it, and I doubt whether any of them will ever need 600 Nm of torque in any common applications!
The ingenuity of the extension bar is up to the usual Wera standards. To attach it, simply push it as far as it will go into the base of the Kraftform handle on the ratchet, then give it a twist and it will lock firmly. This gives a 50cm long lever that is more than enough for many engineering tasks. This extension will laugh at wheelnuts – I tried it on my car and didn’t even break a sweat.
The extension is released with a typical bit of Wera engineering humour – a tiny Kraftform handle with a loop on it is stored in the handle end of the extension. Just push the release button with it and one becomes two again.
The socket extension is very robust with the usual rotating sleeve to aid quick work and complements what is a VERY USEFUL kit.
Engineers and mechanics will really value the quality, as well as finding the fastener holding and “Take it Easy” tool identification an aid to speedy and efficient working. That is where constant innovation and refinement take us. They are things that Wera does very well and we end users are the winners every time. Long may it continue.
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For more information on Wera Tools, please visit www.wera-tools.co.uk.