With the increased push from nearly all major tool manufacturers to ditch the cords and convert your toolbox to battery power, it’s important and interesting to learn about where all that lithium is coming from. Not only are lithium ion batteries in power tool batteries, but, as you probably know, they also power smartphone batteries and electric cars.
Electric car batteries use a much larger amount of lithium than power tool batteries and smartphones do and, as that technology begins to get more and more popular, lithium mines may struggle to keep up with demand. As you’ll see in the video, the Chilean government are putting pressure on the mines to keep up with demand and they may even need to more than double their capacity within the next 4 years. Australia and China are also major producers of the lithium the world uses.
Environmental concerns, as with any mining operation, are always factors, as well. For the Chileans, keeping the flamingos safe is a major concern, because of the large amount of water needed to operate the lithium ponds are taken from lagoons that some flamingos inhabit. I’m not sure a perfect substance that can keep everyone happy exists yet, but it will be interesting to see how long lithium will continue to dominate the battery market.
Enjoy the video below from Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance:
Construction workers rely on power tools to do their jobs every day. Working with power tools is also inherently dangerous, but compounding that risk with a manufacturers defect could be a recipe for disaster. Product recalls on tools, thankfully, don’t happen very often, but it’s extremely important to find out about them before you put yourself at risk for potential injury.
Avenger Work Boots, by Footwear Specialties International (FSI), was a brand that I was previously unfamiliar with until the company reached out to me to do a review of their product. The Avenger brand is FSI's outdoor construction work boot category, which they say focuses of extreme affordability, high quality, and comfortability. When asked what differentiated the brand from other manufacturers, FSI told me that their boots "come with more features and benefits for the dollar, than any other shoe."
Over the years, the World of Concrete has become one of the premier construction events across the country. The name may make you think it’s strictly related to concrete, but the truth is that anyone in the industry can find value in attending the massive event. Each year, the Most Innovative Products featured at the World of Concrete are chosen and Hanley Wood, a construction information and marketing company, recently announced the winners.
Caterpillar, a company known for their rugged heavy construction equipment, made headlines in the construction technology world in 2016 when they released the first ever smartphone with a built-in thermal imaging camera, the CAT S60. The company announced on Thursday that its ultra-rugged flagship smartphone would be getting an upgrade with the upcoming release of the new CAT S61.
At Milwaukee’s New Product Symposium in June of 2017, the company then showed their commitment to the 12-volt platform with the announcement of the Generation 2 M12 Hammer Drill and Impact Driver. The hammer drill and impact driver were since released in January 2018 and we’ve had the opportunity to test the tools for ourselves. The drill/driver is yet to be released as of the publish date of this article.
At the World of Concrete 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bosch unveiled a world’s first in the form of their 15-Amp Corded GSH27-26 Brute Turbo Breaker Hammer with integrated GPS tracking. While many tool manufacturers have begun adding Bluetooth technology to tools, like Milwaukee’s One-Key and DeWalt’s Tool Connect, there is a limit to what Bluetooth can do. Mainly, the user has to be within about 100 feet of their Bluetooth enables tool to be able to use any of the features.
Caterpillar, one of the giants of heavy construction equipment, was founded in 1925. In their 93 years of existence, they have never manufactured a utility vehicle. That is, until last week.
When I first saw the Milwaukee M12 3/8” Crown Stapler (2447-21) at the manufacturer’s yearly New Product Symposium media event in June of 2017, it immediately became one of the tools I was most looking forward to using. It’s not the first non-manual stapler to exist, nor the first cordless version to exist, but nevertheless I thought it would be a worthwhile addition to the sub-compact M12 line of tools upon first inspection.
Getting your communications right is critical on any construction site. For effective planning and coordination, for efficient management of different teams and for health and safety, having a reliable means of keeping everyone in touch at all times is essential.
When it comes to cordless power tools, you usually have to make a choice between two things: power and convenience. As technology advances, especially battery technology, the gap is beginning to shrink and smaller tools are becoming more powerful. One of the clear examples of that is Milwaukee Tool’s new M18 Fuel Hackzall, a one-handed reciprocating saw, which was first announced at the manufacturer’s New Product Symposium in June of this year.