Back in 2010 Bosch showed us something new: Cordless tools that didn’t need to have their batteries removed in order to charge. Bosch inductive charging was created as a method to allow mobile workers to quickly and easily charge their tools without the hassle of having to remove batteries or wonder if the tools were ready to go. The idea is simple: create a system whereby the place where you store or dock the tools also charges them using inductive charging technology. While this technology didn’t exactly storm the industry, it’s fascinating nonetheless.
How Bosch Inductive Charging Tools Work
Bosch inductive charging tools not only work without hassle, but they’re also efficient—particularly with today’s lithium-ion technology allowing for repeated charges at any state of discharge without memory effects. Wireless charging of tools makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons and we’re excited to see it being rolled out by Bosch.
Why Bosch Inductive Charging Tools Make Sense
As anyone who works with tools can attest to, it’s not fun to grab a tool and then realize that it needs to be charged. For those whose jobs are mobile, this is perhaps even more of an issue as tools tend to be used more frequently and erratically. When you have to remember to pull off batteries and charge them, that’s a potential for not having the tool you need when you need it, or causing potential downtime due to not having a charged battery altogether. With traditional lithium-ion batteries, you also have to have multiple chargers ready to handle the number of tools and batteries you use and require for your work. Without multiple chargers, you’re waiting an even longer time as you need to cycle out batteries—something that will often be left for the end of the day, causing even more potential for downtime should you forget.
On top of all of this, constantly removing and inserting batteries into a tool makes for some serious wear and tear for those who need their tools topped off regularly. That’s just an opportunity for dirty contacts and worn slides that can cause a loose contact point. Bosch inductive charging tools do away with the separate battery charger altogether.
Advantages of Bosch Inductive Charging Tools
Inductive Charging of Batteries Leads to Efficiency
First and foremost, inductive charging is efficient when used in conjunction with a mobile or production/workshop application. The batteries stay in the tool 100% of the time and the very place where you store the tool is the place where the tools are charged. This is perfect for a mobile work truck or a production environment where tools can literally be “docked” and then retrieved at any time to continue working.
We got to see this in action at the 2013 World of Concrete event where Bosch showed off this technology in a form factor that had the tool, one of their new 18V brushless drills vertically-oriented in a charger. The charge time was identical to that of a traditional charger where you have to remove the battery. The difference was that there was no downtime when you grab this tool. And, since the battery and tool go to the same place, there’s no missing a charge since the tool gets returned to the same location after or in-between every job.
Bosch Inductive Charging Batteries are 100% Compatible with Existing Tools
Another thing that really makes this an ideal solution in our eyes is that the new 18V inductive charging tools and batteries are completely interchangeable and backward compatible with Bosch’s existing lineup. That means a new Bosch inductive charging battery can fit onto a traditional 18V cordless tool, and a traditional 18V lithium-ion battery can be affixed to a tool using Bosch’s new inductive charging tools (or wireless charging technology”)system. This is wireless charging technology that doesn’t force you into an entirely new tool line-up or cause you to have to change the way you work. I like that.
Increased Durability of Inductive Charging Tools
When you don’t have to remove the battery all the time, you also create a better seal against dirt, water, and other contaminants. These tend to work their way into the space between the tool and the battery. As anyone who frequently uses tools can attest to, constantly removing and inserting a battery will loosen up the connection point over time. That leads to a greater likelihood that something will more easily work its way into a place where it shouldn’t. Inductive charging or wireless charging technology helps keep your power tool’s battery contacts more isolated.
When Will Bosch Inductive Charging Tools Hit the Market?
Bosch inductive charging tools and batteries launched in the Fall of 2014 overseas (initially we were sworn to secrecy). In the U.S., they trickled in around the same time but never did seem to stick. One thing to keep in mind is the likely product differences between the overseas models and the U.S. versions due to differences in user needs.
Are you hopeful of a resurgence of wireless tools and tool-charging? Would you find that helpful in your line of work? Let us know in the comments below.