We arrived at the first ever 2016 Metabo Industrial Tool & Safety Symposium for an overview of their new 2016 power tools. The event highlights the safety features of Metabo tools as well as the newest corded and cordless products. Past presidents, Martin Cross and John Hamm were also present of the event. The 2016 Metabo Tools press event was held at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Philadelphia was chosen because it’s near Metabo headquarters, but also because it has a lot of history. Let’s face it—Philly represents a rather “tough” town…perfect for “tough” tools.
After opening remarks by Joe Smith (president / CEO, Metabo USA), Horst Garbrecht (CEO & president of Metabo) went over some of the company history. The company was started in 1923 by Albrecht Schnitzler. and the background and philosophy of their tool development process. Metabo is actually a shortcut of the German name metallbohrer which, translated, means “metal drill”. The history of Metabo is rich with innovation and tools that enhanced the productivity of tradesman throughout the years.
The 2016 Metabo Tools Focus
If there’s a target goal for Metabo, it’s that Metabo doesn’t focus on the mainstream products, but rather solution products. They pay attention to the metal industry and the commercial building trade and renovation market. Obviously, Metabo is renowned for their grinders and cutting wheels. The Slicer is one of their most recognized accessory products.
This year, Metabo is working on expanding their reach into the building trades with dedicated solutions for people who need robust products for concrete treatment and prep. This also takes into account dust collection and clean environments.
Metabo also wants to expand their cordless tools in these areas (metal and concrete), while not attempting to spread themselves too thin with more general use or DIY products. A majority of their 70 cordless tools are specialized for metalworking applications. This, along with new tools for concrete prep and construction, will continue to be a focus.
LiHD Battery Technology
Released in 2015, the Metabo LiHD battery offered a new level of run-time and service life. Metabo compares it to the jump from NiCd battery technology to Li-ion. LiHD did three things: 1) It made existing tools more compact, 2) LiHD gave them the opportunity to increase tool power, 3) The technology increased the run-time of their tools for more operating time. Metabo’s LiHD 36V batteries can put out a significant amount of power (watts) which translates well into horsepower output for their high demand tools.
In terms of the raw technology, lots of things are going on. First and foremost, the new battery packs use cells that are larger in diameter (20mm) and length (70mm) than traditional Li-ion cells (18mm and 65mm respectively). Engineers improved the packs themselves as well. Changes include silver plated power rails and greater cooling capabilities. Because of this, the folks at the 2016 Metabo tools press event claim that Metabo LiHD battery packs not only runs longer, it can put out significantly more power while doing so—up to 35 amps or more. So far we’ve been impressed with what we’ve reviewed, including the Metabo WPB 18 LTX 115 quick 18V brushless angle grinder.
New 2016 Metabo Tools – Hands On!
The best media events involve lots of hands on, and the 2016 Metabo Tool press event in Philadelphia was no exception. We started out looking at their new beveling tools—both corded and cordless. Their cordless model really impressed the folks at the PTIA, and it was a Pro Tool Innovation Award winner this year.
We next got to see the Metabo Slicer wheel in action against some of the competition’s cutting discs:
The new Metabo 9-inch grinder drew some attention, and both Tim Johnson of Shop Tool Reviews and I got to try this one out for ourselves. First, however, we watched a demo of it cutting through a piece of steel highway railing:
The new Metabo 5-inch grinder is configurable for removing thinset, mastic, or glue. Equip it with a cup grinder, and you can polish concrete:
Next up was a technology tour where we looked at the many features of Metabo’s grinders. This included various methods of vibration reduction, motor technology, and more. Here is what a mechanical grinder wheel brake looks like (it stops the wheel or disc in less than 2 seconds):
Bad things happen when a grinder wheel gets pinched or stops suddenly. The Metabo Tools press event took it a step further by recreating this dangerous environment (but with plenty of safety equipment and precautions). See how their clutch system works vs. a grinder unequipped to deal with a pinched blade:
Wrapping Up Day 1
We’ll be seeing more Metabo Tools on this trip, but Day 1 was a fun experience. It was also a great opportunity to get some hands-on time with a lot of new Metabo tools. We’ll be getting many of these in for review over the next few weeks and months, but it’s nice to start with a hands-on introduction. This really helps us know a little more about what to expect when they arrive.
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