Hilti at World of Concrete 2016
Hilti at World of Concrete 2016
We attended the World of Concrete show again this year to see all of the new innovations and products in the concrete and masonry industry. This included equipment, product, and tool manufacturers. One of the tool manufacturers with the biggest presence is Hilti. Hilti always brings pretty much their whole lineup to the show and has stations set up so that people can try everything in a typical job site scenario.
Hilti, a Brief Overview
Hilti hasn’t had a large presence on Tool Box Buzz in the past so let us reintroduce them. Hilti is a european based company headquartered in Liechtenstein but with a very large market in North America. So large in fact that they employ 2700 people, with half of those having direct contact with customers. That’s a lot of boots on the ground seeing how people use tools and gathering feedback to make them better. Hilti has a purpose statement that reads, “We passionately create enthusiastic customers and build a better future!” They are committed to building a better future through better tools.
This commitment is also embodied in their motto, “Outperform. Outlast.” It is their goal to produce tools that both outperform and outlast the competition. Working for a commercial general contractor that specializes in concrete and steel buildings, I can attest first hand to the performance and durability of their tools that they established long before adopting this motto. We have a number of combi- and rotary hammers in the tool crib and riding around in our trucks that testify to this motto. Some of them have been in service since I was a teenager. We have a shelf at our shop, a bone yard, of all the tools that have failed at one time or another. There isn’t any Hilti red on that shelf. Outperform and outlast, indeed.
Hilti at World of Concrete
This year’s World of Concrete show was the largest in 7 years. For Hilti that meant needing 2 booths to house all of their tools. The outside booth had all of the big, loud demonstration stations for the power tools while all of their precision tools (laser tools) were at the indoor booth.
At last year’s show, the TE-1000 AVR and the new wave chisel were the belle of the ball. This year the new TE-800 AVR is the new kid on the block. It replaces the venerable TE-805. It’s designed as a wall breaker but can serve double duty as a floor breaker too. One thing a user instantly notices about Hilti breakers is that they feel lightweight for the work they are able to do. The TE-800 was no exception, it was very comfortable in wall breaking applications. Point the chisel towards the ground and bust the floor up too.
The second big news item in breakers this year is the introduction to the wave chisel for the TE-3000 and other brands large breakers. We were so impressed with them on the TE-1000 last year that we bought two of those breakers right off the bat. Now we can outfit our TE-3000s too. What is great about the wave is that its design helps to keep the chisel from getting stuck. That means you can get more work done because you’re stuck less. We’ve been waiting a year for this to come out.
Saws and Blades
Hilti introduced us to the Equidist diamond arrangement last year with its wall and core saws but this year it has made it to their premium blades for the electric and gas saws. The diamonds are precisely arranged so that each diamond is cutting an equal amount. The wave shape of the teeth reduce side friction so cutting can be done faster. Overall this gives better cutting performance which is what we want out of a blade.
Ask anyone who has ever used a gas powered saw what the worst thing about it is and they’ll tell you, starting the bleeping thing. Hilti has taken a few steps this year to make it easier, first they sell any easy to replace recoil kit. Recoils are a P.I.T.A to fix and now it’s just an easily replaceable part. Second, they removed the user-operated choke from their saws to simplify starting. Just flip the switch to On, prime, and pull the cord. Boom, started.
Hilti’s SF 10W-A18 was introduced last year and it was the fastest drill we’ve ever used. This year they are silently updating the tool to include Active Torque Control. This means that if that speed demon binds up, it won’t break your wrist. The ATC will kick in and stop the drill. We limp-wristed the drill with a 1″ spade bit at the show and it worked exactly as intended. It stopped the drill and saved our wrists.
The second big introduction from Hilti this year in the cordless realm is the new 12V line. This was released a few months ago but we weren’t able to try it until the show. Instead of going the “me too” route when introducing their 12V line, they talked with their users about their needs. The screwdriver was a particularly impressive little tool. It was a joy to drive 20 screws in rapid succession.
Anchor systems is something near and dear to me. We use a boatload of Hilti’s HY-200 in our line of work. It’s a very quick setting injectable mortar that we use for anchoring structural steel. Sometimes though, the task at hand needs a lot more open time than we can get with the HY. This year Hilti developed the RE 500 V3 which is an epoxy based system with a much longer open time and much greater temperature range. It’s also the only epoxy anchor suitable for installation at freezing temperatures. Drill all your holes with the Hilti hollow drill bits and it’s a system that really saves you time and money.
Hilti at World of Concrete this year had some exciting news in the area of Tool Services. First off, they created their own asset management system. It’s called OnTrack and it is the most robust and complete system we’ve seen to date. The software of the system is good but the best part are the asset tags and scanner. Each tool is tagged with a sticker that is entered into the system. This sticker has a barcode but also embedder RFID tag. With a wave of the scanner an entire job box can be scanned in. It was really impressive to see in person.
The second release that they had at the show was an update to their warranty. They made it much easier to understand. They call it 20-2-1. It means that a tool is covered for 20 years against defects in materials and workmanship, 2 years wear and tear, and 1 day turn around when a tool is in for repair. Being in the concrete industry, I know a 2 year wear and tear warranty would be the death of some other brands but Hilti tools are built for it. Additionally, their repair centers are set up with specialized experts that have all the possible repair parts on hand so that you can get your tools back as quickly as possible. That means, your tool breaks, it takes a day to ship it to the repair center, it gets fixed on the day it arrives, and it takes an additional day to ship it back to you. For most locations in the US that means 3 days. Send in any other brands tool in for repair and I bet the time is measured until it’s back in your hand is measured in weeks.
Other Tools to Watch For
Hilti at World of Concrete had another seemingly impressive tool, the PLT 300. It’s a one man layout tool. You upload a floor plan and can layout a building by yourself without pulling a 100′ tape measure around. Unfortunately I didn’t get a hands on demonstration of this tool but if it can do what they claim, it will pay for itself in just a few jobs. Precision layout tools were popping up at a couple other booths this year as well so it’s an area to watch the next couple years.
About the author
Product reviews on this site contain our opinion of a product or service. We will always strive for objectivity and transparency in our reviews. Our goal is to provide readers with honest, objective information based on our own experiences. We never have and never will accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Many of the products that we review are provided to us for free by a manufacturer or retailer. In some cases, we also have advertising or affiliate relationships with manufacturers and retailers of products and services we review. For additional information please visit our additional disclosure policies.