Benefits of Power Tools
We All Use Tools
An identifying feature of a human being is tool use. We have been tool users since pre-historic times, from basic hammers and flint axes to tools for hunting like skinning knives or a basic hand drill for making jewellery.
During the Industrial Revolution these hand tools increasingly became machine power tools, for example the hand spindle became a spinning jenny and the productivity of wool manufacture took a large step forward.
In our technological age we use tools powered by a variety of sources; compressed air, electricity, carbon fuels etc. All of these rich energy sources have been exploited to provide further leaps forward in productivity.
Types of Power Tool
Perhaps most commonly, power tools are powered by electricity, both from cables and from batteries. Air tools were once only used in garages, but in recent times air tools are frequently used in the construction industry. Some tools are driven by fossil fuels such as petrol (gasoline) or diesel.
Tools driven by air compressors or electric power from a cable tend to have limited mobility but greater power available than battery driven cordless tools. Battery powered or cordless tools are gaining in power and popularity as battery technology marches ever forward. Petrol driven tools are the least common and tend to be used in open air environments due gas emissions and noise levels they generate. A popular type of petrol driven power tool is a chain saw.
Downside to Using Power Tools
The primary problems with power tools are noise pollution, which may contribute to deafness at levels above 85db and vibration, which can give rise to diseases such as white finger. Power tool manufacturers such as Makita and Ryobi have worked to reduce the both the noise and vibration caused by their tools.
Noise pollution can be offset by the use of protective equipment such as ear defenders. The effects of excessive or high frequency vibration can, to a limited extent, be offset by use of specialist gloves and limiting exposure times to use of the tool.
Are Electric Power Tools the Future?
It seems likely that apart from a truly global catastrophe we will remain capable of generating electricity.
Technological advances have improved battery life and allow battery powered cordless tools to be more powerful and run for longer. Motor technology has changed less in basic efficiency, but has improved with regard to noise and vibration.
Air tools are likely to be with us for as long as we can compress the air to power them, most likely by electric motors.
The future for fossil fuel driven tools looks less certain. While we will always need highly mobile tools that are usable far from civilisation it is increasingly likely that this niche will be filled by electrically powered tools. Perhaps one day we might see solar cells capable of charging a powerful cordless tool? If that happens then the days of fossil powered tools will truly be numbered.