Batteries and industrial power tools
by Fein Canadian Power Tool Company
High quality reduces cost of ownership and boosts performance
—Sponsored article by Fein Canadian Power Tool Company
When evaluating industrial power tools, the importance of a high-quality battery should never be overlooked. Manufacturers have to be cost-conscious, but any savings on a cheap power tool or battery will inevitably be negated by poor performance and long charging times.
So what is it about batteries that can make or break total cost of ownership? One of the more significant factors is self-discharge, meaning the power lost by the battery when it isn’t in use.
A high-quality lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery pack has a very low self-discharge rate—approximately 0.2% per month. By comparison, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries self-discharge at five percent a month; and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries at 10 percent a month.
In practice, a good Li-Ion battery pack can be unused for one year, and still maintain a nearly 100 percent charge.
High-quality Li-Ion batteries are also very highly durable, offering up to 2,000 load cycles, and they have a life span of about five years.
With high energy and power density, they provide the same cell size, voltage and capacity of a NiMH battery cell, at about 50 percent the weight, so these batteries are far more ergonomic for users.
Looking a little deeper, not all Li-Ion batteries are created equal. They differ in factors such as:
• The amount of battery cells
• The quality or class of battery cells (A, B, C or D). FEIN batteries are A and B quality, with the only highest class being batteries not available on the free market, such as those used by NASA and the military. The premium cell quality ensures there’s enough power for the designated application even at temporary high loads.
• Capacity of battery cells in Ah
• The arrangement of battery cells (with or without gaps)
• Electronic system (capacity display, single cell protection)
• Cooling (such as active cooling with a fan).
Ask your power tool supplier to explain how these differences impact power tool performance.
It’s also important to consider the battery pack layout. FEIN batteries for example, have an intelligent layout with single cell protection. This technology uses electronic surveillance of every single cell and automatically shuts the battery down when a single cell voltage of 2.7V is reached.
Single-cell protection prevents depth-discharge and damage to the battery, while providing more load cycles and higher durability.
The integrated display provides a four-stage display of the actual capacity status, and a signal when the battery pack is fully discharged. Before every start of work the display indicates the available capacity.
In addition to choosing the right battery for optimized total cost of ownership, users should also consider how the batteries are charged. Returning low Li-ion batteries to a full charge requires efficient and safe technology.
FEIN provides a quick charger with high-performance power supply. It’s compatible with Li-Ion, NiCd and NiMH battery packs and can accommodate loading capacity of battery packs of 7.2V to 25.2V.
Charging is fast and gentle—a maximum of 30 minutes. Intelligent communication between the battery charger and battery pack ensures a high durability in comparison to competitors, and secures the battery pack from damage. It also provides complete protection from dust. The quick charger makes it possible to work without breaks.
Though battery specifics are sometimes overlooked when evaluating power tools, a top-quality battery from a reputable supplier can avoid downtime, prevent tool and work-piece damage, and provide the cycles, durability and reliability needed to keep the shop floor at peak performance.
FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for over 140 years. FEIN Canadian Power Tool Company, located in Mississauga, Ont., provides a range of high-quality power tools and accessories. Visit www.fein.ca for more information.
To view more articles on optimizing industrial power tools, see the Technology Showcase.