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3 Trends in the Power Tools Industry

Grainger Editorial Staff

Power tools have long been convenient resources for various industries, aiding workers from all sorts of disciplines. With special features like electric motors, power tools help eliminate strenuous, manual labor. In what had begun as a poor decade in terms of power tool sales, financial stability within the construction and automotive industries is giving way to new innovations in the tool market.

In their domination of the tool market, power tools are seeing exciting trends and innovations emerge—with new models of existing tools and some entirely new instruments. Here are some of the trends driving the power tools market today:

1. Cordless Power Tools on Top

There has been a shift from corded to cordless power tools. While corded tools still possess considerable sales, the shift to cordless is substantial. Cordless power tools include batches of battery-powered tools like band saws, circular saws, crimpers, hammer drills, impact drivers, impact wrenches and many others. These tools are ideal for welding, sanding, cutting, metalworking and other applications. The shift to cordless power tools shows the desire for a more mobile tool. Present day cordless tools are also able to run longer on one charge than they have in recent years. For example, major power tool manufacturer gained a 5% increase in power tools sales due to the introduction of cordless power tools.

2. Battery Switches

With the growing prevalence of cordless power tools, long battery life is just one of the many qualities that complement these devices. Therefore, another change in the power tools market is underway, that of lithium-ion batteries, replacing Nickel-Cd or nickel-cadmium powered tools as well as nickel-metal hydride powered tools. A lithium ion battery is smaller and more lightweight than its counterpart and has no self-discharge, allowing it to be stored for months while keeping its life. Lithium ion batteries also offer a higher energy density, or Watt hours in a smaller package size, making them more efficient. This allows the battery to draw more current and work longer than the Nickel-Cd variety. The average Lithium ion battery maintains a useable charge for 12 months, while the NiCd dies after only a few months. There are hundreds of batteries that employ lithium ion, all of which have different voltages and capabilities.

3. Product Developments

In addition to the sales increase for existing power tools and battery switches, new products are also trending in the industry. Companies have been implementing research and development (R&D) efforts in order to bolster tool strength and life span. For example, one of the biggest power tool manufacturers, Dewalt, of the Stanley Company, recently released a new innovation called the Flexvoltâ„¢. This is a battery that automatically changes its voltage with each tool it is used with; the first of its kind in the world to do so.

Milwaukee has been leading in cordless development, with the release of the 9.0Ah battery packs, which feature a type of lithium ion battery. This battery has a 5 times greater run-time than standard lithium batteries. It maintains about 35% more power while in use in heavy applications. This type of battery relies on low-impedance, high-power cells. It also recharges quicker than conventional Lithium ion batteries.

There have been developments within grinding tools through Matabo, a German-based power tool manufacturer, that has made headway with a new collection of flat head grinders. These grinders have a small head design that makes confined spaces and narrow angles of up to 43 degrees accessible. This flat head angle grinder makes metalworking in tight angles a safe choice as opposed to previous flat head grinder models. Efficiency is a major factor in product development, especially in the Matabo case, wherein the new grinders include a 75% longer battery run time.

The Power Tool Scene

The power tool market is on the rise, and there are four leading manufacturers that earn almost half of the global power tool market revenue: Robert Bosch of Germany, Emerson Electric Co. of the UK, Makita of the U.S. and Stanley, and Black and Decker of the U.S. In addition to these four companies, there are other major power tool manufacturers across the globe that play a role. This, in part, springs from the growing demand of power tools worldwide. In the U.S., the demand for power tools in U.S. dollars rose from $3.5 billion in 2011 to $4.6 billion in 2016. On a global level, power tool demand is forecasted to rise at 4.8% per year to reach $32.9 billion through 2018. With an upward demand on an international scale, more manufacturers will enter the market and compete with the major players, which may contribute to upticks in innovation.


Pub. 03/2017

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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