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Executive Report:

Astonishing array

DeWalt has launched a significant number of new mains powered and cordless tools. Phil Mist assesses those with hire fleet potential.

DeWalt recently held its first-quarter dealer conference in the Midlands and, quite astonishingly, it introduced no less than 68 new products. Admittedly, many of these are cordless tools, a number of which will have little or no relevance to the hire industry. However, several others clearly have hire potential.

The cordless tools included several models first announced in the fourth quarter of 2007, but which are now available in the UK. Despite a trend towards more environmentally friendly and more powerful Lithium-Ion battery tools, DeWalt still unveiled a host of 12, 14.4 and 18V NiCad and NiMH powered cordless drill/drivers and combis, stating that customers still demand these products. Nevertheless, following the introduction of Lithium-Ion technology, DeWalt has established a working partnership with A123, an organisation in North America specialising in battery and cordless tool technology. It is of little use introducing more powerful batteries if the tools’ motors and gearboxes are not up to the required task. The two companies have developed a new generation of tools that are lighter and more powerful than their predecessors, can tackle more applications, and which are said to last longer with increased reliability.

Backwards compatibility

At the recent event, an 18V ‘nano technology’ Lithium-Ion system was announced, the list of available tools including a compact drill/driver with a small, yet more powerful frameless motor, a combi drill/driver, an impact driver, a cordless impact wrench delivering up to 195Nm of torque, and a circular saw. DeWalt made great play of its so-called backwards compatibility, whereby older NiCad batteries can be recharged in the new 18V charger units, and the new batteries can be used to power older 18V tools. Hirers can, therefore, introduce machines to their fleets over a period of time, rather than having to immediately invest in entirely new products.

A 28V nano technology Lithium-Ion range, which has been available since the end of last year, includes eight tools. These are said to offer 40% greater run time with increased power and weigh the same as 14.4V NiCad tools. They are also claimed to last longer in use than an ordinary 18V system, and to provide at least 2,000 charge/recharge cycles, regardless of the charging technique or the sort of rough treatment the tools will undoubtedly receive on a work site. The range includes a 155mm circular saw with a 55mm depth of cut, a reciprocating saw with a four-position blade clamping mechanism, a heavy-duty jigsaw, a mini grinder, a heavy-duty hammer drill/driver and an impact wrench offering up to 215Nm of torque.

During 2008, the company’s existing range of 36V machines will be supplied as bare units without batteries, an idea introduced 30 years ago, and regularly tried over the years by a number of brand names. Time will tell whether this is successful.

Versatile fluorescent light

In addition to the cordless tools, the DC022 fluorescent light that can run off a mains supply or batteries was displayed. It can be wall mounted and the head can be swivelled for lighting awkward areas. The DC022 also functions as an extension cable, a two-way adaptor and as a battery charger for recharging from 7.2V up to 18V NiCad or NiMH batteries.

New mains electric tools were also unveiled, with a 165mm-diameter plunge saw taking pride of place. This superb looking machine is actually available in three formats: the mains powered DWS520K model with a 59mm depth of cut, as well as the two cordless machines mentioned above - the 28V version of which provides a formidable 700 watts of output power. All can be used with an aluminium track cutting system, designed to provide total accuracy. A quick hands-on assessment at the conference was enough to tell me that the saw looks like a winner. Together with the latest addition to its mitre saw range, DeWalt has certainly thrown down the gauntlet to its woodworking machinery competitors.

Vibration reduction technology

To further reduce vibration on two of its demolition hammers, the company has up-rated its 10kg D25901K and 12kg D25941K models. Using a complex system of counterbalances and a floating handle, DeWalt has reduced vibration on the D25901K by approximately 40%, from 13-7.9m/s2, and by almost 25% from 11.8-8.8m/s2 on the D25941K, measured according to the EN 60745 standard.
The smaller machine has a variable single blow energy rating from 5-25J, has an SDS Max tool holder and is powered by a 1,500watt motor. The D25941K has a single blow energy rating of 30.6 joules, has a 1,600watt motor and features a 19mm Hex tool holder. Both look suitable for hire.

HAV is still an issue, of course, especially when using many items of mechanical equipment during a single day, and the advances in design and engineering techniques will doubtless continue. DeWalt has made giant strides in vibration reduction on many of its machines, and this, together with other innovations, enables it to offer hirers a comprehensive range of purpose-built products.

T 0700 4339258
W www.dewalt.co.uk

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