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DeWalt FlexVolt; Gimmick or break-through innovation?

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Continuing on from our previous post “Batteries: Past, Present and Future”.  We see from the news that DeWalt has finally put a Duel voltage battery 18v/54v and various tools on the market as of Autumn 2016.  And later on 60V and 120V.  Is this only a gimmick?  A chance for DeWalt and other power tool companies (who follow suit) to cash in with the newest “must have” but may not be the innovation it claims to be?

DeWalt have been creating power tools for a long time; it’s mother company Black and Decker have been synonymous with tools for over 100, finally merging with Stanley tools in 2010 to become the biggest tool company in the world.  So they have the backing and development ability to make this new product state of the art.  But is it?  Cynically speaking, is this really that much of an innovation and what does it provide for its users, how much does it cost and is it really worth buying, or will there be another “better” product just around the corner?  To answer all these questions we will have to look at the nature of the power tool industry and remember the underlying truths about these companies;

1 . they are in business to make money!  However, sales are dependent on the quality of the product they’re selling.  Too expensive and it will fail, even if it’s a excellent product.

2. built in obsolescence! Yes, the company will give you a guarantee but only on the tool, not on the battery!  They build products to last for 2 years (some 3 years), yes they may last longer, sometimes to the detriment of a company.  Meaning, there is a massive amount of money tied up in spares, accessories, maintenance, call out, repairs and so on.  Many companies get more incoming from this area; try building your powertool from scratch using just spares and you’ll find you’ve paid £500 for a £150 drill.

3. Every time a new technology is made, the company rarely makes the technology backward compatible. Does this make your previous set of tools obsolete too?

 

What are it’s selling points?

 

What DeWalt say about this technology:

Engineered a new type of battery…..Reinventing the way current flows….A revolutionary new technology….Unlike anything that has ever been seen before…..The transformation of raw power to supply a bigger force…..The power of Mains electricity in your hands….This is the dawn of a power revolution…..DeWalt XR flexvolt; the game just changed.

XR FLEXVOLT is a range of 54V power tools that offer runtime and performance which has never been seen before – for the first time, professionnal tradesmen can reliably undertake heavy-duty construction applications without the need for mains power.

This innovation means that you can have 54V power across a whole range of tools without the inconvenience of a cable. DEWALT XR FLEXVOLT is the only battery on the market that can switch from 54V to 18V, making it backward-compatible with your existing XR powertools.

 

What does this mean to you and me as customers?

 

So this answers my 3rd point regarding backward compatibility, so this could be a massive difference from other powertool upgrades with the news that you can use this battery in your current XR powertools.  Of course, you must have XR powertools for this to be of any use.  So you won’t need to get rid of every tool you have and buy a whole new range, just purchase the newer batteries and charger, to upgrade your present tool kit.

Having much more power than before 54Volt and being able to run it for up to twice as long as DeWalt’s previous batteries.

Being able to run larger saws, breakers, grinders and tools that cordless tools wouldn’t be used for.  It will help for running time of your tool, meaning you won’t be worried about the battery dying on you at the worst time possible.

Changing from 18v to 54v means you’ll be able to use the battery in DeWalt’s new range of tools in 2017 which will incorporate this and higher voltages.

The battery automatically changes voltage to the tool, so you won’t have to remember to it before each use of the battery.  You know you’d forget!  I know I would!

 

The verdict

 

Obviously we’ll have to see how reliable this new battery system is, but the base technology (Lithium Ion) is tried and tested.  If it is half a good as DeWalt are hyping, then it will be worth waiting for; much more power, much longer working, and much higher reliability.

Pricing…..The DCB546-XJ 6AH Battery has a list price of £234.21 plus VAT! (£281.05 inc VAT) So pretty pricey, when you look at the DCB182 4AH Battery has a list price of £224.54 (£269.45 inc VAT)  However, you can find the 18Volt 4Ah battery for around £100 commercially!  If this turns out to be the case for the similarly priced new flexvolt battery then yeah £130 would be well worth the cost.  An extra 2 hours of work for your extra £20-£40 investment.

 

So the bottom line….

 

As with all technology before it’s been proved, it’s going to be a risk.

However, DeWalt does have a proven record, with only a few glitches along the way.  Many people love DeWalt and will buy this product just because it’s yellow, black and got the DeWalt logo on the side.

Most others are interested in the tool build quality, its longevity, its reliablity, and to these people I say if these products are discounted resonably and are the products they’re claimed to be then they’ll be worth purchasing.

Alternatively, you may want to just purchase the battery and charger as a step into the latest technology of 54Volts which will be widely available and easy to upgrade into through 2017 and beyond.  So if it’s really as good as DeWalt say, then yes, it’ll be an awesome innovation to a more powerful new, more reliable set of power tools for the next 5 years.  It will also be a perfect way to upgrade your current powertool’s performance, even if they don’t buy the new powertools.

 

The first XR Flexvolt products we’ll see are: (all naked or with 2 batteries and a charger)

 


DCS777T2

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This full-size 216mm Mitre Saw is powered by a single XR FLEXVOLT battery but still offers the same power as an equivalent corded saw. In addition to an impressive capacity of 270 x 60mm, it also offers up to 140 cuts of 75 x 50mm pine on a single battery. A built-in XPS LED provides long term accuracy and clear cut line, even in bright sunlight. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.

Features and Benefits:

  • The classic saw design improved and updated for the modern cordless user
  • XPS shadow line cut indicator provides fast accurate alignment of the blade while illuminating the workpiece for increased productivity, no adjustment required
  • Improved dust extraction efficiency
  • The base and fence have been machined to meet the accuracy of the most demanding applications
  • Head lock functions allow the head to be fixed restricting the traverse function for trim applications and ease of transportation
  • Integrated positive mitre stops at 15 – 22.5 – 30 – 45 degrees, quick release mitre mechanism up to 50 degrees
  • Sliding left hand fence with measuring scale for improved material support and management
  • Compact internal rail design for huge cutting capacity in a highly transportable format

Technical Specification:

Voltage – 54
Blade speed – 6300rpm
Blade diameter – 216mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – 48°
Mitre capacity left and right – 50 / 50°
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 45 deg W x H – 173mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 90 deg / 90 deg W x H – 270mm x 62mm
Cutting capacity at 45 deg / 90 deg W x H – 189mm x 62mm
Max. cutting capacity at 45 deg/ 45 deg – 190 x 48mm
Max. depth of cut (saws) – 80mm
Weight – 14kg
Depth – 550mm
Length – 490mm

Supplied With:

TCT tooth saw blade
Blade spanner
Material clamp
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries

List price – £1142.11 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £713.16 plus VAT (naked)


DCS7485T2

DCS7485T2

 

A World’s first, the 54V XR FLEXVOLT Table Saw provides complete freedom of movement on a construction site. Key features include a 610mm rip capacity, 65mm depth of cut, and outstanding runtime. The product applications include fitting solid wood flooring, general sizing of panels, concrete form work, sizing timber for joinery, fitting out decks and much more. On a single battery, it can saw up to 50 metres of 18mm OSB. XR FLEXVOLT tools combine the flexibility and convenience of cordless with all the power and performance of the corded equivalent. Whatever your trade, XR FLEXVOLT will change the way you work.

Features and Benefits:

  • 22kg weight and optimised footprint make this the most portable table saw in its class
  • Steel roll cage protects saw against drops and jobsite knocks
  • Rack and pinion fence system, front and rear fence lock and large clear scales combine to give an extremely accurate and easy to use saw
  • Powerful 54V motor for high performance in all applications
  • Fence system provides 610mm of rip capacity in a portable design for cutting large sheet material to size
  • Cast table top design to ensure accuracy and precision
  • Overload protection system ensures powerful

Technical Specification:

Blade speed – 5800rpm
Blade diameter – 210mm
Blade bore – 30mm
Bevel capacity – -3 to 48°
Max ripping capacity right – 610mm
Max ripping capacity left – 318mm
Max. depth of cut at 90 deg – 65mm
Max. depth of cut at 45 deg – 45mm
Table size – 485 x 485mm
Depth – 605mm
Length – 605mm
Height – 330mm
Sound power – 100 dBA
Sound power uncertainty – 3
Weight – 22kg

Supplied With:

2 x XR Flexvolt 54V 6.0Ah batteries
DCB118 fast charger
Soft carry bag
24 tooth series 30 saw blade
Mitre fence
2 blade spanners
Parallel fence
Dust port reducer
Push stick

List price – £1428.95 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £989.47 plus VAT (naked)


DCG414T2

 

DCG414T2

The Dewalt DCG414 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium angle grinder fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction angle grinder has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • 54V Brushless motor enables improved performance in demanding applications
  • Electronic Brake stops the wheel quickly when the trigger is disengaged
  • Electronic Clutch reduces the kickback reaction in the event of a pinch or stall
  • Rubber overmold provides enhanced grip and comfort
  • Recessed spindle lock design allows max depth of cut and greater protection to button when using in confined spaces
  • Two position side handle offers greater comfort and control

Technical Specification:

Power Input – 1 Watts
No Load Speed – 7000 rpm
Max. Disc Diameter – 125 mm
Spindle Thread – M14
Weight – 2.2 kg
Length – 400 mm
Height – 125 mm
Hand/Arm Vibration – Grinding – 5.9 m/s²

Supplied With:

2 position side handle
Keyless protective guard
Blade Wrench
Multi-voltage charger
2 x 54V XR Flexvolt Li-Ion battery packs with state of charge indicator

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS575T2

DEW-DCS575T2-GB-2

The Dewalt DCS575 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium circular saw fitted with a high torque motor for maximum power on the job site. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction circular saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • Scale for precise cutting depth setting to 67 mm
  • General purpose ripping, cross-cutting and bevelling circular saw for wood and other construction materials
  • High torque motor for durability and power for cutting job site and joinery materials
  • Stable block construction for low vibration running and long service life
  • Additional handle for safe two-handed work
  • Variable adjustment of the bevel angle to 57 degrees

Technical Specification:

No Load Speed – 5800 rpm
Blade Diameter – 190 mm
Blade Bore – 30 mm
Bevel Capacity – 57 °
Max. Depth of Cut at 90º – 67 mm
Max. Depth of Cut at 45º – 49 mm
Weight – 4.0 kg

Supplied With:

Precision 24 tooth saw blade
Rip Fence
Blade Spanner
Dust Extraction Spout
T-STAK
2x 54v XR FlexVolt Batteries

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS397T2

DCS397T2

The Dewalt DCS397 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium alligator saw fitted with a powerful, maintenance free brushless motor for maximum power and durability. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction alligator saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • New 54V FLEXVOLT Li-Ion saw enables corded performance from a cordless tool.
  • Ideal for cutting Class 12 clay block (Poroton).
  • Durable high power Brushless motor for the toughest applications.
  • Two long life and durable saw blades running in opposite directions so the material will not move while cutting.
  • Dust sealed gearcase and bearings for increased durability.
  • Aluminium gearcase housing for lower weight and excellent durability.

Technical Specification:

Battery chemistry – Li-Ion
Voltage – 54 V
No Load Stroke Rate – 2400 spm
Stroke Length – 40 mm
Blade Length – 43.0 cm

Supplied With:

TCT Class12, set of blades
Hex key
2 x 54V FLEXVOLT batteries
1 x Battery Charger

List price – £1073.68 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £673.68 plus VAT (naked)


 

DCS388T2

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The Dewalt DCS388 is a powerful XR Lithium-ion premium reciprocating saw, an efficient cordless solution for wood and metal installation trimming and demolition cutting applications. Powered by the 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery. This cordless, heavy duty construction reciprocating saw has all the accuracy, capacity and power of corded with the freedom of cordless.

Features and Benefits:

  • Lever action keyless blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes
  • Intelligent variable speed trigger, lock off switch and electronic motor brake for quick controlled cuts and enhanced work safety
  • Two position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased versatility
  • Pivoting adjustable shoe with open top for high stability and blade visibility during a cut
  • Improved ergonomic design

Technical Specification:

No load stroke rate – 0-3000spm
Stroke rate – 28.6mm
Max. cutting capacity wood – 300mm
Max. cutting capacity steel sections and pipe – 130mm
Max. cutting capacity PVC – 160mm
Weight – 3.6kg
Hand Arm Vibration cutting wood – 12 m/s 2
Uncertainty K 1 Vibration – 2.3 m/s 2
Sound Pressure – 86dB(A)
Sound Pressure Uncertainty – 3dB(A)
Sound Power – 97dB(A)
Sound Power Uncertainty – 3

Supplied With:

DCS388 – 54v XR FLEXVOLT Reciprocating Saw
2 x XR FLEXVOLT 54V 6.0Ah battery packs with state of charge indicator
Fast charger
Heavy duty kit box

List price – £831.58 plus VAT (inc batteries and charger)

List price – £389.47 plus VAT (naked)


 

All these products will be available in Autum this year!  So if you’re off to trade shows this year you’ll see them being demonstated.

Buy your new XR Flexvolt from F G Langs (Grays) Ltd, phone us today!

Take a look at this new battery and tools for yourself – http://www.dewalt.co.uk/

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