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Trends in Industrial Tools.

The increasing use of air-power tools, cordless and portable-electric tools, along with increasingly sophisticated tool storage and organization are major trends in industrial tools, all of which relate to increased safety and productivity. This article will discuss these trends and how they benefit industrial users.

Higher-powered pneumatic tools

The major benefit of air-power tools is that they eliminate sparking, which can ignite a variety of fumes common in industrial environments. In the past, their use has been limited by the restricted variety of air tools on the market and by less-than-optimal power ratios, which slowed performance and curtailed productivity.

But that has changed in the past few years. New air tools provide higher torque and greater comfort and control. The use of composites in body construction has reduced weight and user fatigue while increasing durability. The most popular innovations include:

* Lighted air tools

* Multi-function air tools

* Air-impact wrenches

* Reversible drill/drivers

* Air-ratchet wrenches

* Orbital air sanders with more power.

Higher-powered portable electric tools

Cordless, portable-electric tools reduce the hazards and complications associated with using extension cords and finding power outlets in industrial plants. First introduced were drills and drivers with 3.6V and 6V batteries. Now, battery power up to 18V gives these safe and convenient tools more torque, for heavier-duty industrial applications. Some of the most popular innovations are:

* 18V cordless hammer drills

* 12V general-purpose cordless saws

* 18V cordless trim saws

* 18V drill-drivers with dual-speed ranges.

More sophisticated tool storage and organization

The need for increased safety and productivity also drives the trend toward more sophisticated tool storage that can withstand rigorous industrial use, help combat foreign-object damage, protect expensive tool inventories, and facilitate tool replenishment. Some of the most popular innovations are:

* Electronic, remote-controlled locking storage

* Heavy-duty rolling carts with roll-cage construction

* Portable storage units that combine plastic and steel, for lighter weight and higher performance and durability

* Custom-foam tool organizers.

Custom-foam organizers consist of two layers of foam in contrasting colors, with a cavity for every tool in the drawer. The foam provides an instant visual inventory. Seeing at a glance what's missing keeps tools from being left in work areas where they can cause damage.

Organizers also increase productivity, positioning tools for maximum efficiency. Users find the tools they need to finish jobs fast. For mobile tasks, technicians carry only the tools they need for the job. Cavities of different depths make tool removal and replacement easy. Organizers typically come with documentation of tool stock numbers and drawer layouts, for easy replenishment and for compliance with quality standards.
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Article Details
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Author:Spry, Joe
Publication:Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 1999
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