Battery-charged tools have been part of every DIY-er’s life for some time now. Rather than work out where the cables are – as well as work near to a power source – battery-charged tools have allowed freedom of movement for the workman or woman. They have revolutionized the trades industries, where workers can now work with a freedom that was never imagined before. And other devices have made our life much easier.
But there are downsides to batteries. They don’t carry a massive charge, so if you’re a heavy user then you either need to invest in multiple batteries or work in short bursts. That means extra expense or a job taking far longer than it should. At the same time, battery-powered tools don’t quite have the same torque as their corded alternatives. The gap in performance between the two has narrowed over the last few years, but still exists. But the future looks very different.
Devices And Inductive Charging
If you think that we should have found a way of contactless energy transfer by now, then you’re right – we have. Inductive charging uses a coil in the charger and a compatible one in the device. The battery in the tool has a copper coil that receives the energy, charging it ready for use. Using an alternating magnetic field, the energy is transferred from the charger to the device. The cells fill, the tool is ready to use.
Rather than taking a battery out and either replacing or recharging, simply place the tool on a charging station and the energy transfer happens automatically without the need for fiddly cables or other input. If you’re not using a tool, then place it on the mat. It will be ready the next time you want to use it. The applications for the trades and DIY at home are massive. Never be without charge. Don’t worry about the expense of multiple batteries. And don’t spend time tethered to the wall or waiting for full charge to return.
WPC's 'Medium Power Standard' is under development as a wireless charging standard for portable power tools, robotic vacuum cleaners, drones, e-bikes and others. The applications for wireless charging are huge, from automobiles to mobile phones and many places in between.
Why Use Wireless Charging For Tools?
One of the main reasons is the continual supply of power. Having a charging mat or bench means that your tools can sit there, receiving power all the time until they are full. Then, when you need to use, the power is readily available. The inductive charging technology is improving all the time and the expectation is that these batteries will give the same level of power as wired tools. Having power ‘on demand’ is attractive to the people who work with power tools all the time, as well as the people who use tools at home to make improvements to home, garden and other areas of their surroundings.
Another major advantage is the fact that the power tool with inductive wireless charging will be a sealed unit. A fully sealed device has massive advantages. Power tools often create dust, which in turn can cause damage to the device itself. Getting dust into the interior of a power tool can render the workings shorted and dangerous. Sealing that unit as you don’t need access for a wire or battery unit takes this danger away. Of course, this can also mean the device is waterproof too. Pretty impressive stuff when you think of how far we have come in terms of this technology in a very short space of time.
Who Is Leading This Technology?
Great question. One of the pioneers in wireless charging for power tools in the Bosch organization, who have started to develop power tools that can be charged on a mat. As the technology is developed and standardized, it will become easier to buy these. And we should see a cost saving in addition as the tech is more widely used and relied upon.
We are looking to a future where other manufacturers work in the same way as Bosch, developing better tools with higher capacity and lower cost. The day where we all use wireless power tools with this technology as standard probably isn’t that far away. As with many pieces of new tech, we have a leader and then we have the rest of the market. Wireless charging technology has been developed in multiple industries. The applications for this developing technology are widespread.
The Future For Power Tools
Wireless charging technology is one of the exciting things happening with power tools at the moment. This is being developed alongside Bluetooth connectivity for tools. This provides advantages for security (the tool can only be powered via a connected device) and provides feedback to the user such as running temperature and low battery charge.
Putting these pieces of technology together means power tools that are more usable and more useful. As we strive to more and more convenience in every aspect of our lives, manufacturers have looked at all aspects of what we do.
Power tools make each and every DIY job we do easier. But they are about more than this. They bring the ability to make or mend something to us as users. Rather than call for a professional every time there is an issue, we are empowered to fix things ourselves.
Wireless charging is the next step in this arena. If you can stay fully charged by simply placing the tool in the right place, then we are further empowered to make our lives better.