Every year the Milwaukee New Product Symposium is one of the highlights of our editorial year. Rarely does anyone else come close to showing off the sheer number of products that we’re able to get our hands-on. Combine that with the fact that Milwaukee doesn’t bring a new tool to market without ensuring there’s something notably different to benefit the end-user and you’re running close to intake overload just to wrap your head around everything there is to see and use.
Drive to Innovate
Normally the theme of the event is “disruptive innovation”. Don’t get me wrong, we heard it plenty of times. This year though, we heard more about Milwaukee’s drive to innovate based on user-focused solutions. That means they’re not going to spend the resources creating a tool unless there’s a real need for it. Sadly, that also means there are no current plans to make the M18 Fuel Camera Drone I was hoping for.
We did hear about the drive to create a tool brand so complete that you can work from rough-in to finish and maintenance without ever leaving the Milwaukee name for someone else. Even with a company that tends to eat, sleep, and breath innovation, that’s a tall order – but one that they’re working toward. Here are some of the best from what we saw at 2016’s Milwaukee New Product Symposium.
Milwaukee New Product Symposium 2016 Highlights
After a long wait, Milwaukee’s 9.0 amp-hour High Demand battery is just about ready to launch! Using a total of 15 lithium-ion cells that each produce 3.6 volts and 3.0 amp hours, the battery has a total capacity of 162 watt-hours.
We’re already working on a feature about current battery technology, so keep your eyes open for it (and check out our M18 Fuel Deep Cut Band Saw Review while you’re waiting)! The wait to get your hands on the new high capacity battery will be over in September.
Milwaukee One-Key Tool-Tracking
Tool tracking is evolving with the Milwaukee One-Key system. The app can let you know the last time it saw the tool and give you the location. It even pings a location from any other user’s One-Key app, so you can follow it if it’s missing or stolen. Even if the battery is removed, and internal tool battery will keep looking for an app to ping its location for up to a year and a half! More than 1000 One-Key enabled tools have been recovered since this update in March, including two tools leading to the recovery of $20,000 worth of a contractor’s lifeblood in one trailer along with the arrest of the thief.
Another relatively new One-Key feature is tool lock out. You can now remotely shut down the tool to prevent use. It won’t turn back on until you enable it, but the tool’s internal battery will still ping its location for you. It’s a great feature for when you want to limit who can use your tools.
Milwaukee M18 FUEL One-Key Sawzall
Milwaukee One-Key has made it to the M18 Fuel Sawzall. Why the Sawzall? Aside from the security features, the app can generate blade suggestions based on material and optimize the cutting experience for the application. Using a metal cutting blade on stainless steel, we first burned up a blade on full power. After letting One-Key take over, we used the same model blade to easily make a complete cut through the same pipe. This one should show up in October.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Drywall Screwgu
Drywallers rejoice! The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Drywall Screwgun is optimized for fast installation and great ergonomics. With the trigger in the lock on position, the tool remains shut off until forward pressure makes the connection and quickly drives the screw at 4000 RPM. The groove you see along the back positions your hand perfectly to grip directly behind the fastener. The new Drywall Screwgun will be available in October.
Moving up from the M12 Variable Speed Polisher/Sander, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Polisher gives auto detailers the performance and run time to cover a full size car on just one 9.0 amp hour battery. There’s not long to wait on this one with the official launch coming in July.
Milwaukee is entering the OPE (outdoor power equipment) fray on their 18-volt platform so there are no new batteries and chargers to buy. We’re impressed with what they’re offering in their first generation. The honest appraisal from Milwaukee’s team is that these tools are to supplement gas-powered equipment, not replace it. Due in January of next year, they’re serious contenders to the other battery-powered options available on higher voltage systems. Expect to see a hedge trimmer, string trimmer, and blower.
M12 FUEL XC6.0 Batteries
Milwaukee isn’t neglecting the M12 system with their move to an 18 volt, 9.0 amp-hour battery. The M12 batteries are receiving an upgrade as well to bump up to 3.0 amp hours and 6.0 amp-hours. The new batteries will be available in August.
Lighting is going to continue to be a massive sector in the next year. The new Milwaukee M18 Radius Light is One-Key enabled for remote controlled access, including countdown timing and automatic time-based on/off functions. The light produces 4000 lumens (dimming is integrated as well) and comes with the translucent diffuser, but also has an optional clear cover. One side or the other can be lit for directional illumination or both sides can fill the room with light. It’s capable of running off an extension cord if you need extra-long run time. Look for the Radius in July.
Durability is also a consideration for the M18 Radius. Here, a popular jobsite light cover is easily destroyed while the weight merely bounces merrily off the Radius’ cover.
Milwaukee’s M18 Rocket LED Tower
Milwaukee’s M18 Rocket LED Tower Light/Charger provides 3000 lumens of multi-directional light on a platform that allows for telescoping height adjustment and sets up in seconds. The three heads can be positioned in a variety of directions and you can charge the battery when you opt to run an extension cord to the system. This one will be available in September.
Time to hit the showers? Not quite, but Milwaukee showed off the importance of IP56 protection in their lighting. While you’re never likely going to leave your light out in the rain, it’s kind of nice to know you could.
Milwaukee’s M18 Force Logic Press Tool
The big news with Milwaukee’s M18 Force Logic Press Tool is that it’s dropped some weight – it’s now 25% lighter than the previous model and makes some of the other cordless options look downright cumbersome. The jaws can be opened with one hand and the brushless motor improves power and run time. Look for an October launch on this one.
Milwaukee Copper Tube Cutters
The humble copper cutter no longer needs to be considered as disposable as it used to be. The new Milwaukee Copper Tube Cutters take advantage of chrome rollers and eliminate a surprising source of failure – the internal e-clip. These are already in stores.
Despite having my head cut off, the new Milwaukee MaxBite Locking Pliers were able to handle my 200-pound weight without budging. They’re also Torque Lock enabled, so you can really bite hard on any pipe you need to turn. A total of 22 clamps and pliers are now in the Torque Lock family. Look for the new MaxBite Locking Pliers to hit store shelves in July.
Milwaukee is entering the premium level market with the RedStick levels. At the core of its durable construction is BackBone technology. A bent level is an automatic warranty killer, so Milwaukee designed the BackBone rib structure to resist bending that comes from tough use better than anything else on the market.
Sizes of the new box levels range from 16 to 96 inches and are coming in October.
Milwaukee Compact Billet Torpedo Level
Milwaukee’s premium compact billet torpedo level features three working surfaces, weld clearance for black pipe, and features the new SharpSite vial. Amplified rare earth magnets hold the level in place better than anything we’ve seen on the market. Multi-angle vials are in place and it still fits easily in your pocket. This one will be in stores this September.
Milwaukee Measuring Tapes
Milwaukee is revamping their entire line of measuring tapes. The improved premium tapes have an upgraded Finger Stop and adjusted hook to reach in tight spaces better. We watched these guys rocket one of the tapes from a water balloon launcher directly into a concrete wall – it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’! Look for the new tapes in August.
Rolling Storage Bags
Storage is an area that is continuing to pick up momentum for Milwaukee. With the success of Milwaukee’s 46-Inch Storage System, a new 60-Inch Mobile Work Station was released. We also have the Jobsite Tech Bag in for review currently and I’d bet we’ll see one of the new 24- and 18-Inch Rolling Storage Bags in here before long.
The larger version features a hard top. Both have ridiculously strong telescoping handles, aluminum wheels, and kick plates on the back to help tackle tough jobsite conditions. We’ll have to wait a little longer before they arrive, with a launch date scheduled for November.
Last, but certainly not least, Brandon K won our Ultimate Milwaukee Father’s Day Giveaway Prize Pack… and received it just in time for the Milwaukee New Product Symposium!