A few years ago, Mechanical Hub asked the major players in tool manufacturing what was going on as far as tool battery technology innovation. Recently, we caught up with Marcus Borman, RIDGID Global Marketing Manager, to discuss RIDGID’s battery tech.
According to Borman, RIDGID takes pride in all of its products, and they see the battery performance equally as important as the tool performance. “It does not matter how good of a power tool you have, if the power supply does not work then it is no good to the customer,” says Borman.
RIDGID’s advanced lithium ion batteries provide short-circuit protection, over-current protection, over-discharge protection and cell balancing. Thermal protection shuts the battery down while over-discharge protection eliminates the trickle effect. “This allows our battery to work longer so our customers can do the same,” says Borman.
Here is the Q&A with Borman in its entirety:
Please talk about RIDGID’s dedication to research and development, especially in terms of battery technology? Are you field-testing your tools?
Borman: We engineer tools to meet the highest standards of strength, quality, and endurance. In order for a tool to earn its RIDGID branding, it must pass lab tests, and more importantly it must pass the test from customers using the tool every day.
RIDGID is dedicated to the R&D process in all tools and batteries. We go out into the field at the beginning of the R&D process all the way through the end—from concept research to field testing. We like to think of ourselves as tool experts, but you can only become an expert by learning how/what/why/when your customers are using your tools in the field. As time changes, so do our customers, thus we are dedicated to getting out into the field as much as we can in order to continuously learn from them.
Without giving too much away, if you could let us see the RIDGID crystal ball, what are some things you could share with us regarding the future capabilities of battery technology?
Borman: Our tools are always driven to get lighter and better, and batteries are no different. The technology is always evolving, and RIDGID likes to be on the cutting edge of these technological changes. At the same time, we will not blindly move towards a shiny new technology that is not tested; we need to make sure that our tools stay working so our customers can finish the jobs they start.
Anything in the works as far as WiFi incorporated into any of the tools?
Borman: The technology in our everyday lives is constantly changing. RIDGID is always looking to leverage current technologies to make a meaningful impact for its customers; it would be simple to simply add a new piece of technology into a tool, but to become a leader in the industry like RIDGID you must always ask yourself, “How can I leverage this technology so my customer gets the absolute most out of it.” This is how we have RIDGID has grown and evolved since 1923; with the success we have had thinking of the customer first, we have no plan in changing our strategy.
Are some of the batteries backward compatible?
Borman: Years back, when we introduced Lithium Ion to the market, we knew that battery technologies would continue to change and improve; however, we understand that customers do not want to continue to trade in their tools to keep up with the dynamic changes to battery technology. Therefore all tools that accept the 18V Lithium Ion tool interface can use any existing 18V Lithium Ion battery. This backwards compatibility makes it easier for customers to always upgrade to the latest battery and not have to worry about putting a non-conforming battery into their tool.
Do you offer or intend to offer a hybrid corded/cordless tool?
Borman: Previously, RIDGID Press Tools were available in battery or corded tools. However, we know that there are some customers who would love to have both options and do not want to double their inventory of tools. The new RP 340 Press Tool offers users the ability to seamlessly switch between a battery and an available AC Power Adapter. Flexibility for customers means that they can maximize uptime and productivity.
It would seem that the bigger number on the battery means better. Is this always the case?
Borman: The bigger the voltage does not always mean better. Depending on what your tool needs, a 20V battery may just be making your tool heavier and less efficient; however, sometimes your 12V battery is too small and not suited best for your tool.
While voltage usually gets the “top billing” on the side of a battery, voltage is not everything. If you need longer runtimes, you should pay attention to the Amp Hours on your battery. When you multiply the voltage and Amp Hour [V x Ah] you get the total Watt-hours. Without getting into a completely technical explanation: the Watt-hours are more closely related to the run-time you will get out of your battery.
RIDGID currently offers an 18V battery with both 2.0 and 4.0 Amp Hours to help customers choose the right battery for them.
Where do I go for warranty info/customer service?
Borman: For more information on RIDGID products and the warranty/service information you can visit www.Ridgid.com; if you prefer to reach us by phone, you can call 1-800-4-RIDGID (1-800-474-3443).
There are a lot of tool companies that boast that their tool & battery combo is the best. Why RIDGID?
Borman: RIDGID Advanced Lithium batteries are designed, developed, and engineered to work exclusively with RIDGID products. We go through rigorous testing with each tool that we offer to make sure our batteries provide optimal performance for our tools. By designing and testing the products together, we can offer better performance, longer run-times, and maximum productivity.