Published 2/3, 2017 at 13:17

The latest in handheld tools for concrete construction and demolition work emphasize comfort and boosted battery power. Jim Parsons reports.

Philosopher Marshal McLuhan once observed that we shape our tools, then our tools shape us. If the quality of the latest iteration of handheld products for concrete work is any indication, the industry’s contractors are in pretty good shape, figuratively speaking, at least.

Gone are the days of noisy, dusty, vibration-heavy tools that were uncomfortable to handle, hard to maintain, if at all, and often limited work to the length of whatever extension cord was available. Current products, on the other hand, are designed with comfort in mind and, in many cases, boast high-capacity batteries that last longer, and recharge in the blink of an electron. And with the new US silica dust control standard set to take effect this year, many tools produced for the North American market now mirror their overseas counterparts, with easy adaptability to a variety of systems that make for cleaner, healthier workplaces.

Yet the essence of handheld tools remains their reliable go-anywhere versatility. Whether setting up for an extended series of drills and cuts, or doing touch up work, contractors like to know what to expect when they reach for that device and flip the on switch. Judging by some products, they are getting a lot more than ever before. This in turn means that they will be getting a lot more done too.


Skilsaw introduces first worm drive saw specifically for concrete

Skilsaw, the leader in woodcutting saws for more than 90 years, has created Medusaw, believed to be the world’s first fully integrated worm drive saw designed to score and cut concrete. Until now, users had to create their own tool workarounds to score concrete by modifying a worm drive saw with costly third-party or homemade attachments, and the results were less than ideal. 

Medusaw features a Cut-Ready adjustable plunge lock that allows users to quickly and accurately set and make consistent plunge cuts. The saw also has an integrated rolling foot plate with rubber wheels, which helps move it smoothly across hard surfaces, and rust resistant brackets and fasteners to protect against corrosion. Medusaw also has a retractable front pointer to guide the saw along the cut line and retracts for tight spaces.

Skilsaw engineered this saw with an integrated wet/dry dust management systems, and GFCI protection. Medusaw comes equipped with an onboard multi-function wrench, making it easy for users to change their blades, oil, brushes, water feed attachment, and wheels.


Hilti debuts 22V battery technology

Hilti’s expanded cordless portfolio of solutions and services underwent major upgrade with the introduction of the company’s new 22V CPC Li-ion batteries, the industry’s first and only backwards compatible battery technology. This voltage means up 20% more work per charge, depending on application, insert, user and temperature than the Hilti 18V batteries, and up to 50% more than competitive 18V/5Ah solutions.

The company is also introducing several new cordless products tailor-made for the new technology, such as the SF 6H-A22 ATC hammer drill/driver, which is claimed to offers best-in-class performance-to-size ratio. This is the first cordless drill to incorporate active torque control for greater operator control. This senses and reduces potential kickback by shutting off the tool if the housing begins to rotate too quickly.

The SF 6H-A22 ATC is built for a variety of applications and materials including wood, metal, masonry, and aerated concrete. Its two gear settings deliver a 480revs/min no-load speed in first gear and 1,600revs/min no-load speed in second gear. The SF 6H-A22 ATC also has a hammering frequency of 28,800blows/min.

Hilti’s SID 4-A22 impact driver has been redesigned for better performance in tight spaces. Hilti has streamlined the SID 4-A22 with a new handle and trigger shape that gives more control and improved precision in screw fastening applications. Four LEDs around the front of the tool provide improved illumination, while a stab-style 6.35mm hex shank chuck makes for fast insert changes. 

The SF 10W-A22 ATC drill/driver delivers corded performance in a cordless tool and also features active torque control. This cordless drill can drill up to 152.4mm diameter holes in multiple layers of wood, and features four gears for drilling in metal and other materials. The high torque low gear offers 120Nm of torque and allows the drill to perform as well as a corded drill in demanding applications.

All three of the new 22V tools are compatible with Hilti’s 18V batteries.


Bosch’s new drill/drivers

Users can’t miss with Bosch’s latest 18V 12.7mm drill/driver and hammer drill/drivers. The DDH183 18V EC brushless brute tough drill/driver and HDH183 18V EC brushless brute tough hammer drill/driver pack more features than their predecessors, including kickback control and an improved ergonomic design.

The kickback control stops the drill’s rotation during bit bind-up situations. A new LED light shows when kickback control is activated or the tool’s overload protection is activated. In addition, the new drivers offer over 25 precision clutch settings, which provide driving accuracy for reduced fastener and work piece damage. Both models deliver 75Nm of torque at two speeds.

The DDH183 and HDH183 are each driven by an EC brushless motor that provides double the tool life of a standard motor, longer runtimes, and virtually no maintenance. The design also ensures a shorter head length and a lighter tool with no reduction in power. That is combined with an upgraded metal chuck. The Bosch durashield housing adds to overall tool durability and improved handle geometry offers a comfortable grip.

The Bosch flexible power system is one of the most versatile Li-ion battery platforms available. It offers compatibility by allowing 18V fatpack and slimpack batteries to be used with any tool. Bosch 18V batteries also feature coolpack technology, which offers a heat conductive housing to keep batteries cooler for superior runtime and up to twice the life. All Bosch batteries provide cold weather performance to -20° C as well as an integrated fuel gauge.

The tool includes Bosch electronic cell protection that protects the battery against overload, overheating and deep discharge. Likewise, Bosch electronic motor protection protects the motor against overload with integrated temperature management.

Also from Bosch are the Bulldog Xtreme SDS-plus rotary hammer bits for use with cordless power tools. They retain full-head carbide for bits up to 16mm that deliver four times the drilling life in reinforced concrete. The geometry ensures performance with less carbide wear. Larger-diameter bits feature a four-cutter design.

The overall flute design enhances dust removal, reduces operating temperatures and reduces bit stress in concrete and rebar. Full-head carbide bits feature the velocity flute design, four flutes that transition to two larger flutes for increased dust removal capacity and a cleaner hole. Bosch uses proprietary diffusion bonding technology and high-heat, high-pressure solid-state welding process to produce a steel/carbide bond.

The centric conical tip guides the bit and results in rounder holes. A wear mark alerts the user when the bit has worn to a level where it is no longer precise. Bit sizes for the full range extend from 4.8mm to 28.6mm in diameter. The bits will be available at the beginning of April 2017.


Dewalt’s new combination hammer kit

The DCH481X2 60V Max brushless 40mm SDS Max combination hammer is a lightweight high-performance hammer powered by a Dewalt brushless motor delivering 6.1J of impact energy. The lightweight unit makes it ideally suited for horizontal drilling for number 4 to 8 rebar, dry coring, and chipping in middle to upper wall and ceiling applications.

Dewalt’s patented E-clutch system provides enhanced control in bind-up and can help minimize sudden torque reaction compared to standard clutches. The active vibration control delivers reduced vibration for less user fatigue and greater productivity. With its balanced design, shocks active vibration control technology and extreme run time, the DCH481X2 is ideally suited for all day use.

Also from Dewalt is the Flexvolt system featuring batteries that automatically change voltage when users change tools. The 6Ah and 9Ah models power the line of brushless 60V and 120V Flexvolt tools, and provide more than three times the battery power of a Dewalt 18V NiCad unit.

Flexvolt batteries are backwards compatible with most existing Dewalt 20V tools and chargers. When used in Dewalt 20V tools, the 6Ah Flexvolt battery provides up to four times more runtime, depending on the application.

The key to this technology is the ability of the Flexvolt batteries to switch between Dewalt tools of varying voltages. Two Flexvolt batteries of same Ah together power the new Dewalt 120V tools. This means that high power tool applications that previously could only be accomplished by corded tools can now be performed with the Dewalt Flexvolt system of cordless tools. As a result of this battery technology, jobsites can now fully transition from corded to the freedom of cordless.

The new 60V Max Flexvolt brushless tools include a 184mm circular saw DCS575, 152mm grinder DCG414, a reciprocating saw DCS388, a 12.7mm VSR stud and joist drill DCD460, and a 203mm table saw DCS7485. The new 120V Max Flexvolt tools are a 305mm fixed head compound mitre saw DHS716, and 305mm sliding compound mitre saw DHS790.

Also capable of operating off the Flexvolt battery platform are new 20V tools, including a portable power station DCB1800, Bluetooth radio charger DCR025, and Bluetooth LED area light DCL070. Dewalt’s 20V hammer drill and impact driver combination kit DCK299 will also be offered kitted with a 6Ah Flexvolt battery in addition to a 2Ah battery.

In addition to the tools, Flexvolt high efficiency accessories are engineered to Maximize Runtime. This new line is optimized for use with cordless power tools to deliver more cuts or holes per charge than standard Dewalt accessories.

Each Flexvolt tool comes with the standard Dewalt three year limited warranty, one year free service, and 90 day money back guarantee. The Flexvolt batteries come with a three year limited warranty, three year free service, and 90 day money back guarantee.


Makita delivers cordless rebar-cutting solution

Makita has delivered a cordless and spark free cutting solution for rebar and steel rod with the model XCS01Z 18V LXT Li-ion cordless rebar cutter.

The XCS01Z has a cutting range of 3.2mm to 19mm and the cutting head that rotates 360°. The cutting blade provides up to 4,000 cuts before requiring replacement and an ideal solution for work away from a power source or in remote locations.

The XCS01Z is part of Makita’s expanding 18V Li-ion system, believed to be the world’s largest cordless tool system powered by 18V Li-ion slide-style batteries. Makita 18V Li-ion batteries have the fastest charge times in their categories.

Added features include an adjustable stopper holding rebar at 90° to the cutting blade and assists in smooth cutting. The pistol grip handle with rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort.

The XCS01Z is engineered for fast cutting, with a cutting speed of 6.5s for all rebar sizes. It delivers up to 200 cuts of 9.5mm rebar with a 3Ah LXT battery, and up to 150 cuts of 12.7mm rebar with a 3Ah LXT battery. For extended run time and more cuts per charge, users can take advantage of the higher Ah Makita 18V batteries, including the 18V LXT 4Ah and 5Ah batteries.


Makita’s 18V Rotary Hammer Delivers Corded Performance Without the Cord

Also from Makita is the 18V 25.4mm XRH05Z.cordless rotary hammer with corded performance. Two 18V LXT batteries power the XRH05Z, delivering the run time for corded demands without leaving the 18V platform. With 3J of impact energy and 4,800blows/min, the XRH05Z rotary hammer is engineered to meet the demands of corded 25.4mm drilling and hammering concrete applications without having to drag around a cord.

The XRH05Z rotary hammer delivers up to twice the drilling speed of 18V rotary hammers, with up to three times as many holes drilled. As with other Makita rotary hammers, the XRH05Z includes three-mode operation, one-touch sliding chuck, and a torque limiting clutch to prevent gear damage by automatically disengaging gears if the bit binds.

The XRH05Z also has LED battery indicators that show the charge level for each 18V battery. It has a vibration-absorbing handle, and a compact design at only 362mm long that weighs 5.1kg.

Added features include an adjustable stopper that holds the rebar at 90° to the cutting blade, and assists in smooth cutting. The pistol grip handle with rubberized soft grip provides increased comfort.

For improved tool performance and extended tool and battery life, all Makita tools feature star protection computer controls. This innovative communication technology allows the star protection equipped tool and battery to exchange data in real time and monitor conditions during use to protect against overloading, over discharging, and overheating. The XAG10M can also be powered by Makita’s range of 18V LXT Li-ion batteries with the star symbol on the battery, including 2Ah, 3Ah, 4Ah, 5Ah, and 6Ah models.

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