Step towards universal battery system for cordless power tools: Roger comments

At long last it looks like we might be moving towards a universal battery system for cordless power tools following an announcement this week that nine manufacturers have joined forces to create the Cordless Alliance System (CAS).

Metabo, Rothenberger, Mafell, Eisenblätter, Collomix, Haaga, Starmix, Eibenstock and Steinel power tool and machine manufacturers held a joint press conference in the German town of Rottweil this week to present something which is unprecedented in the industry – a manufacturer-independent battery pack system.

So far it is an exclusively German club with no comment yet on whether this is something that is likely to change.

The basis of the Cordless Alliance System (CAS) is the Metabo’s battery pack technology an area where the German manufacturer has been innovating in recent years.

Commenting at the launch, Horst Garbrecht, Metabo’s CEO, said: “This is wonderful.”

The latest step towards its vision of a cordless construction site is the 2nd generation of Metabo 18V LiHD battery packs, the 8.0 ampere hours (Ah) capacity battery pack with only 10 cells delivers a massive 1,600 watts of power. “With LiHD we have enough power even for the most energy-intensive applications. Therefore, we can today build any hand-held power tool as a cordless machine – and in such a way that it meets the requirements of professional users in terms of power and endurance”, says Garbrecht.

A system with great user benefit
The flexibility to be able to work with only one battery pack system and the machines of different manufacturers has been top of cordless power tool users wish list for some years so CAS is a step towards addressing this.

Explaining the basic idea of CAS, Garbrecht said: “From a technical point of view, no separate brand would be required for the cooperation. The compatibility of battery packs, chargers and machines would also be given, if all manufacturers would distribute the respective components under their traditional brands. Yet obviously, the cooperation brand is of enormous importance for the information of the users. With CAS they could automatically recognise which manufacturers work with the same battery pack system and are therefore 100% compatible with each other.”

It is our vision that CAS becomes the leading interface for the manufacturers of the industry that offers their target groups special solutions and competence products precisely customised to their requirements.

Metabo has a unique position in the industry, since the German manufacture are generalist and specialist in one. The brand offers mainstream tools for their two core target groups metal trade and industry, as well as building trade and renovation but they also offer a great wealth of special solutions and competence products. Garbrecht: “However, apart from the two named, there are many other applications for which we do not have special solutions ourselves, yet the CAS partners do. Therefore, it also is no problem, from our point of view, that some cooperation partners are competitors at first glance. On the one hand, the overlapping areas are very small, and on the other hand the partners sell their products sometimes through completely different trade channels than we do. It is our vision that CAS becomes the leading interface for the manufacturers of the industry that offers their target groups special solutions and competence products precisely customised to their requirements. For the large providers in the industry such products are often of little interest, since they do not reach the numbers required by large generalists to manufacture as economically as possible. Already the range of all CAS partners covers around 110 machines and this number will continue to grow very quickly.”

Partnership of equals
“We think in the system”, says Dr. Christian Heine, managing director of Rothenberger. “For the professionals in the SHK industry, already today we have an extensive system of pipe tools. However, with CAS we can also offer them a wide range of other cordless machines.” When choosing the technology partner, Rothenberger decided for Metabo for a number of reasons, says Heine: “Due to the developments in the past years, Metabo has conquered the technological leadership and currently offers the most powerful system in the industry, which is not least in terms of compatibility, very sophisticated. Furthermore, Metabo is of ideal size to further promote CAS: Large enough, to provide the required development effort – however with mid-size orientation and thus fast and flexible.” The idea of partnership was also decisive for Heine. “The cooperation with Metabo is always on equal footing. This equal footing is difficult if the differences in size between the partners is too large.”

Rothenberger is not the only CAS partner who responds precisely to the requirements of very particular target groups. By virtue of the different competence area of the companies, the CAS does not only offer a wide product range, but also unique special solutions for many applications. Whether the mitre rails and plunge saws from Mafell, the cordless stirrer from Collomix or the hot air guns from Steinel – all these machines are made for specialists, and all battery packs and chargers are compatible at 100 percent within the CAS.

Extremely powerful battery pack technology
For many cooperation partners, power and capacity of the battery pack technologies have a different meaning. “Our plaster processing machines, for example, are made for demanding construction site use. In the past, the battery pack technology was not powerful enough for this”, says Hendrik Kreutel, managing director of the power tool manufacturer Eibenstock from the mountain city with the same name in Saxony. Not only the processing of plaster, “even the production of hot air requires a lot of energy”, says Steinel principal Ingo Steinel. “CAS delivers the matching battery pack technology to the already very technologically sophisti- cated Steinel products”, he says.

Stronger together
Power and quality were also the decisive criteria for the Oberndorfer woodworking specialist Mafell. “With our target groups we are renowned to be a manufacturer with high-quality products”, says managing director Matthias Krauss. “We must constantly prove ourselves, and obviously a cordless tool from Mafell must not disappoint our customers and users. Therefore, only a top system is worth considering, and we cannot develop it that easily ourselves with our specialising and company size. However, we obviously know exactly that the users of our ma- chines, especially in the cordless area, expect a complete range, since they do not want to work with different battery packs and chargers. As partner of CAS we offer you together with the machines of the other and naturally with Metabo’s wide programme range such a system. Only together we can hold our own in the highly competitive cordless market”, says Krauss.

The cordless segment is the future
The cordless manual sweepers from Haaga have already been running on battery packs, however with  today’s outdated gel-lead technology. “The battery pack alliance brings us a great technological progress”, says Stefan Sander, managing director of Haaga. On the other side, the sweepers from Kirchheim unter Teck expand the product range of the other manufacturers with a competence product. Unlike for Haaga, the path to the cordless segment is still new for other CAS co- operation partners. “We would like to expand the cordless area over time”, says Gerd Eisenblätter, principal of the family company with the same name from Ger- etsried in Bavaria. Eisenblätter concentrates on metal-processing industries and starts with a cordless angle grinder and a cordless burnishing tool.

Also for the stirrer specialist Collomix from Gaimersheim, the hand stirrer is the first cordless product. “Collomix has been cooperating successfully with Metabo for many years in the motor area. For us it was clear that we would also like to cooperate in the cordless area with Metabo”, says Collomix principal Alexander Essing.

Both sides profit
CAS brings together various companies with very different competence areas. This makes working not only easier for professionals- even the companies themselves profit from the battery pack alliance. The vacuum cleaners from Electrostar, for example, that are sold under the brand name Starmix, are used by craftsmen from different industries. “If these craftsmen can then also operate a whole range of power tools with our battery packs, this would be a clear competitive advantage for us”, says Electrostar managing director, Roman Gorovoy.

CAS is to grow with additional partners
With the previous nine companies, CAS, according to Garbrecht, is to continue to grow even in the next years and more and more smaller and larger companies will join in the name of battery pack technology under one roof. Like the tower in Rottweil, in which they assembled on this day, the companies of the CAS count on foresight and good prospects with their battery pack interface partnership.

For more about battery technology, see:

About Roger Bisby

Roger Bisby is an English television presenter and journalist, known for his expertise in the British building industry.

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