Knipex UK Marketing Manager David Barnes looks at the latest trends in hand tools for installers.
It would be easy to think that hand tools have not changed all that much over the years. However, innovations and new features are designed and incorporated into hand tools on a regular basis to save time and effort for plumbing and heating installers. For instance, many manufacturers, such as Knipex, are moving towards more compact tools and multiple features all on one tool.
Those trends are reflected in our new products. Take the Cobra XS, for example, the smallest water pump pliers in the world with full functional capability, measuring just 100mm long. The tool can adapt to eleven adjustment positions and grip nuts up to 24mm in width. They also look great and tools like these are becoming more sought after as professionals look for improved ease of use and functionality.
In 2020, we have launched a selection of tools that have unique features designed to save time, effort and cost for professionals. The TubiX pipe cutter makes it easy to cut pipes up to 35mm in diameter and with a wall thickness of 2mm accurately – with just one hand thanks to the QuickLock quick adjustment guide. It locks the tool onto the pipe, then accurately positions the cutting wheel for different pipe diameters. After you have cut the pipe, an integrated, retractable deburring tool can be used to smooth out the cut surface. The cutting wheel is made of quality ball-bearing steel and can be exchanged quickly with a spare wheel, which is also located in the feeding barrel.
Hand tools are also being adapted for use on chrome and other sensitive surfaces too. For instance, the new 300mm Pliers Wrench can now grip width across flats up to a diameter of 68mm (2 1/2″) thanks to two additional adjustment positions. It rounds off the range of six pliers wrenches (125, 150, 180, 250, 300 and 400mm).
For especially sensitive surfaces, Knipex now offers plastic jaw covers as accessories for the 180, 250, and 300mm variants. The protective jaws are easily attached by hand and snap into place to suit the geometry of the pliers’ jaws so that they do not slip during work. The soft, smooth gripping surface ensures that holding, gripping and fixing designer fittings or extremely sensitive materials does not result in any damage.
Hand tools are also extremely powerful, thanks to their design. For instance, the 160mm CoBolt S has a 25-fold amplification of manual force. It is now available with a recess on the cutting edge, so the popular compact bolt cutter can cut through round materials even more effectively.
Bolts, rivets and nails with a diameter up to 4.4mm and particularly tough materials such as piano wire and spring steel with a diameter up to 3.3mm can now be cut in a single movement thanks to the recess located close to the joint. The enhanced leverage effect close to the pivot point makes cutting larger cross-sections easier.
Cable strippers are also being designed with more features, yet at the same time they are becoming more user friendly. The PreciStrip16, for instance, quickly and precisely strips fine, flexible and solid cables, holding all materials tightly and firmly in its semi-circular grooved holding clamps. The pliers have a wide capacity range (which is easily adjusted) from 0.08 to 16mm2. The cable cutter on top of the PreciStrip16 reliably cuts flexible cables up to 16mm and solid conductors up to 6mm. Parabolic stripping blades separate insulation from both extremely fine-stranded and solid round cables, then automatically strip the insulation off backwards.
The PreciStrip16 has an adjustable length stop so accuracy is guaranteed, even on repetitive jobs. When needed, the blade cassette can be easily replaced. The tool makes cable stripping easy as it has an ergonomic handle that is comfortable to use all day long. And it’s not easy to lose either! It comes with a description label that can be personalised, meaning no more mix-ups and no more lost tools.
We have also launched a chrome plated version of our bestselling Self-Adjusting Crimping Pliers. Chrome plated tools are popular because the chrome helps to minimise wear and corrosion. With a narrow handle width and improved ergonomics the pliers are ideal for crimping wire end sleeves.
The pliers self-adjust to the size of wire end sleeves required and are suited for repetitive, high crimping quality due to its integral lock with a self-releasing mechanism. The tools have been calibrated accurately in Knipex’s Wuppertal factory and optimum transmission of force is ensured thanks to toggle lever for fatigue-reduced operation.