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From hand tools to inventory management technology: gear that will take this year’s projects to the next level.
Efficiency, sustainability and safety are top priorities for the electrical tools industry, and the latest innovations have quite a lot to show for it. With everything from hard hat fans to modular switchboards making their way into the market, it can be hard to know which gadgets are worth the investment.
That’s why we’ve done the research to discover this year’s most useful, time-saving, and just plain cool new top tools for electricians. Move confidently into 2022 with the gear you need to meet future challenges head-on.
Electricians, by the nature of their work, are exposed to risky situations on a regular basis. The more layers of protection, the better. Greenlee’s new insulated battery-powered hydraulic crimping and cutting tools offer up to 1,000V of protection for operators, thanks to a “Tri-Insulation Barrier” which includes PA6 insulation as a housing material, 12.5mm of creepage distance, and dielectric hydraulic oil.
According to Greenlee’s website, “Every tool is dielectrically tested for conformance to a 1000V insulation rating with a 10X testing criteria in our production process,” so with proper inspection and testing, you can be certain that that protection is working.
Are you tired of having to track down or replace missing tools?
Tool Connect leverages Bluetooth technology to keep track of the tools your crew is using on-site. DeWALT Tool Connect tools are pre-built with Bluetooth sensor, but you can also apply a sensor tag to the tools that are already in your inventory.
The Tool Connect app allows you to locate connected tools across sites, assign tools to different crew members and/or different jobs, and scan as often as hourly for connected tools within a 150-foot radius.
The app even produces automated reports designed to help you gain insight into your tool inventory, enhance crew accountability and maximize efficiency on your projects.
These molded case circuit breakers won a 2021 NECA Showstopper Award at last year’s convention and with good reason. Features include semi-transparent breakers to simplify the retrofitting process and an easy-to-read front cover showing all the connectivity features. But the real showstopper is something Schneider is calling a “Visi-Trip” LED breaker locator, which lights up when a breaker needs to be inspected, making troubleshooting when a circuit trips much quicker and more efficient.
Other features that we think Electricians will really love include:
A wide range of common, field-installable accessories across the PowerPacT range, which allow for late specification changes and streamlined, flexible inventory
A snap-in terminal design that makes converting between busbar and lug options easy
A wide variety of easy-to-install terminal options that include mechanical lugs, crimp lugs, power distribution lugs, and lug shields
FlexSeT is a pre-manufactured switchboard designed to “dramatically accelerate time to market” by making customization lightning fast.
Part of the efficiency is due to its UL listing as a modular system and the ease of interchangeability of the parts. Some other time-saving features are the “captive screws” used throughout the covers to ensure no screws are lost, a hook and fix pre-assembly kit and a field installable bus bridge for quick splicing.
Probably the most unique feature of the FlexSeT is the app, which enables a number of the switchboard’s more advanced features, including a digital torque wrench. The app programs the digital torque wrench to know when the correct torque has been reached on any given bolt. Combined with “Visi-Tite” bolts that show when the correct torque has been reached, this ensures nothing is under or over-torqued.
All of these features combine to dramatically increase the speed at which the switchboard can be assembled and readied for use.
Other cool features include:
QR codes on all nameplates that connect to useful documentation, including drawings, test reports and installation manuals
A swing-out main provides easy access to all terminal points
Easy installation of plug’n’play metering and monitoring accessories thanks to a simplified wiring harness
Completely enclosed busing and fully stacked phases
It’s winter now, but if last summer’s heat waves are any indication, it won’t be long before we’re out working in the heat again.
Whether you’re in a poorly ventilated room or outside in the full heat of the sun, Klein’s new safety helmet cooling fan will seriously increase your quality of life on the job.
The fan is designed to be easy to mount on most safety helmets and features a “powerful, dual-fan design” to keep the cool air flowing to your head, neck or face. It’s lightweight and quiet, so you’re not trading one discomfort for another. And it’s rechargeable so you don’t need to worry about carrying around a replacement battery.
DeWALT: 20V Max PowerStack Battery for Battery-Powered Tools
The DeWALT 20V MAX series of battery-powered tools isn’t new. What is new is the PowerStack battery, which DeWALT is calling its “lightest and most powerful” battery.
Using stacked pouch cell batteries designed for the construction industry, the PowerStack battery claims to offer 20V for the size of a 12V battery. Compared with a DCB203 2Ah battery, the PowerStack has two times the charge cycle, is 25% more compact, 15% lighter and has 50% more power.
The PowerStack features a durable rubber overmold and a fuel gauge and is compatible with DeWALT’s full line of 20V Max power tools and chargers, so you won’t have to purchase any new electrician tools to take advantage of this battery’s features.
Ferret Tools: FerretPro Multipurpose Wireless Inspection Camera
Some time ago, we reviewed Hilti’s EXO-O1 Exoskeleton. It was a futuristic piece of equipment then, and it still is now.
The passive exoskeleton fits around the back and arms to lessen the strain on your arms and shoulders when performing overhead work such as installing overhead air ducts and ventilation equipment or fastening overhead cables and conduits.
Because the EXO-O1 is passive, it doesn’t use batteries and requires no power source or charging. It is designed to be worn comfortably all day (it weighs under 2kg) and to allow a full range of movement.
We all know that nothing beats knowledge and experience when it comes to doing a good job. That said, having the right equipment certainly doesn’t hurt.