Ergonomic Concerns Among Power Tool Issues
Technicians often find themselves working in awkward positions to reach hard-to-access components and equipment, so managers ask for information related to tools that can ease the physical strain.
“Users want to know, ‘Can I complete my work using a smaller, lighter tool?’” says Tom Simeone of Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. “Our technologies allow us to increase performance but also reduce size. In recent years, we have introduced several new products that were significantly more compact than their predecessors. Yet there were dramatic increases in the torque, speed and runtime of these products. The end result is a smaller, lighter tool that can be taken into very demanding applications.”
Questions about the weight of a tool often lead to more inquiries about tool balance, which is important when technicians must use tools in overhead locations.
“When it comes to cordless tools, it’s about the grips and handles,” Feldner says. “Working overhead on ladders and such, it’s really important to have that balance (and) to look for things that feel comfortable in their hands, that are balanced correctly, and for the weight not to be too top heavy on one side.”
Managers often ask about vibration control during the specification stage.
“If you use grinders, having a side handle that not only has a comfortable gripping area surface but vibration control and reduction makes a tool comfortable to be working with over a long period of time,” Feldner says.
Managers also ask about the placement of tool’s battery and way its position might affect a technician’s comfort.
“In the new 12- and 20-volt lines of tools, the tool handle is designed to fit in the hand because you don’t have to manage the size of the battery,” Smith says. “You can build a much better center of balance, and the tools are more comfortable without sacrificing power performance. That’s a benefit of how the batteries are arranged and the interface is arranged. Most of the manufacturers are going to a slide interface.”