Who doesn’t like the latest gadgets to help make the job go a little easier? The old adage that “necessity is the mother of invention” holds true here. Recently, NASA used a Zero G 3-D printer to make a fully functioning ratchet ---in space. The ratchet was designed on earth, while the printer instructions were transmitted to the International Space Station where the tool was printed out over a four hour period. Additionally, Lockheed Martin recently received a contract for the U.S. Navy to test two industrial exoskeletons. These lightweight suits can aid the wearer by helping to hold objects of up to 36 pounds, thus reducing muscle fatigue by 300%, according to Lockheed Martin. While these technologies are in the early stages, contractors can surely see the benefit. Imagine being able to print out the tool that you need at the jobsite, or being able to more easily wield heavy power tools without fatigue?
Still, all sci-fi-esque gadgets aside, the construction industry is making use of new technologies to make time on the jobsite more efficient, safe, and effective. Below, we’ll discuss a few innovations that are being used today on the jobsite:
- Consumer hardware such as tablets and iPads are becoming essential on the jobsite. The issue is, of course, that the jobsite is not a very gadget friendly place. To combat this, some manufacturers are now making products that are built to withstand the rigors of a construction site. Many are lightweight, shock resistant and spill resistant. For existing hardware, there are heavy duty cases available from companies such as OtterBox.. Their cases for iPhone, iPad and Android devices promise to be waterproof and crash proof.
- To compliment these high tech devices, there is an ever growing library of software applications to handle most of today’s contractor needs. These are available for use in the office, or mobile apps for use in the field.
- Tool trailers are becoming more popular for contractors. Many contractors keep the tools they need on the jobsite stowed in their truck bed storage, or in their van. Problems arise if the truck breaks down, however. With a tool trailer, contractors have the flexibility of using a different tow vehicle thus making sure they can always make it to the jobsite.
- Green beam lasers are now becoming available. Previously, producing the proper diodes to make green beams was unreliable, but recent breakthroughs have now made it possible. Green light is three times more readable than red, which can be more convenient and accurate on the jobsite.
- Bosch is developing their new power ready wireless charging system, which allows the user to charge a battery while still in the tool.
- The Makita XSH01Z Dual-Battery Circular Saw uses a native two battery design that, according to the company’s website, will be capable of making 205 cuts per charge of 2” x 11 and three-quarter inch wood.
- There have been more innovations for tool bags and backpacks throughout 2014.
- For clothing, heated jackets are fairly new. The latest versions, however, are becoming “smarter” and more efficient.
As a whole, tools in general are being improved every year. The latest cordless tools can often outperform their corded brethren. They are becoming smaller and lighter while still being stronger and more powerful. Batteries are lasting longer and producing more power, as well.