The brains-trust at Worx recently made comment on the direction they believe the power tool industry is headed. These are their thoughts…
“Power tool innovation has come a long way in the last decade; no longer can companies get away with small improvements every 5 years. In fact, the technological leap forward in power tool advances is similar to that of the rapidly evolving mobile phone market, with companies such as WORX striving to achieve 2-3 innovations per year.
Through consumer engagement, brands are evolving their product range by identifying issues with tools already on the market and assessing how they can be improved. Furthermore, brands and companies now have R&D specialists and scientists working around the clock on everything from new cordless battery technology, advanced electronics, innovative tool uses and any other areas they can enhance. With companies hanging their hat on innovation, the end result is a greater number of power tools tailored to the end-user’s needs.
So what does this mean for the future of power tool technology? With tool innovation entering a golden age, there are six key areas where companies will be focusing their R&D to develop the latest and greatest in power tools to gain market share.
Over the next 10 years, advances in technology will see huge increases in voltage and a major shift away from corded tools. Presently, approximately 55% of tools are cordless with that ratio expected to increase to 85% in the next decade as companies find new and efficient ways of harnessing cordless power.
Poor battery life and the frustration that comes with it is something every power tool user has experienced. Slow recharge times often make matters a whole lot worse. With the continuing improvements in innovation, it’s inevitable that this issue will prove to be a huge factor for companies looking to stay ahead of the competition. A possible drawback for longer run time will be larger batteries, adding to the overall size and weight of the tool, but brands will rely on consumers favouring the increase in productivity over any increase in battery size.
Larger and more efficient batteries will bring with them more power for longer lengths of time. This is particularly relevant to high power draining tools such as cordless mitre saws. Consumers will be pleased to know that as battery technology evolves (leading to increased amp hours and power output), cordless power tools will be more receptive to heavy use for longer periods of time.
The introduction of Lithium-Ion technology has taken us a long way in delivering cordless power since the days of NiCad batteries. Although it may be 10 years before another battery chemistry is developed to replace Lithium Ion, scientists say there is still room for 100% improvement in the technology in that time frame. With this is mind, expect to see great advances in battery safety, efficiency and run-time.
Despite the added weight larger batteries might bring with them, the general size and weight of power tools has continued to decrease drastically in recent years. With this trend set to continue into the future, any problems associated with larger batteries may be moot anyway. The focus on ergonomic design and functionality is largely due to the cordless trend and the use of Lithium-Ion batteries. As companies move further away from the out-dated Ni-Cad batteries and delve deeper into the possibilities associated with Lithium-Ion, consumers will continue to see tools becoming more compact and lightweight.
Multi-function tools represent a big trend that is likely to continue into the future. The increase in the DIY ‘Weekend Warrior’ segment has seen companies developing tools useful for several applications (and they’re usually unisex friendly). Power tool companies are also realising the benefit of single platform battery technology, which allows users to buy batteries that work across an entire range of tools. Consumers can expect to see this kind of technology roll out among most of the top power tool companies in the New Year.
Any company looking to progress into the future would be brave to forego any thought of the environmental impact their power tools are having. Among the most important innovation challenges will be developing tools that are environmentally friendly in both their development and their application. Look out for improvements in efficiency and waste disposal as companies seek to go ‘green’.”
What innovations do you think we will see in the next 10 years? What could aid you in your day to day tool use? Leave a comment and let us know!