Published: 19/8, 2019


Big-time trade shows are great forums for equipment manufacturers to make announcements and roll out new products, but there’s nothing like having the industry spotlight to one’s self, especially when there is so much news to share.

That’s why Hilti North America invited construction journalists to Irving, Texas, in early June for the company’s annual Innovation Day, an opportunity to introduce a variety of new products during a time when most other manufacturers are catching their breath from the hectic winter and spring demonstration circuit, and making plans for what is sure to be a hectic 2020 with both World of Concrete and Conexpo on the horizon.

Fine-tuned operations give increased competitiveness

As this year’s venue, the Irving Convention Center, was figuratively around the corner from Hilti’s Western Hemisphere Product Development and Tool Service Center, the journalists learned about the products mere hours after they were unveiled to Hilti’s sales teams and other employees. Rafael Garcia, for Hilti North America’s senior vice president of marketing, credited the company’s close contact with customers for inspiring many of the new products. Garcia added that, as with other equipment manufacturers, Hilti is also focused on identifying ways for contractors to seamlessly collect data that can be used to help fine-tune their operations and, in turn, their competitiveness. He cited the example of the US automobile industry, which has made great strides in boosting quality over the years through formal processes to develop, document, and refine ideas to trim waste and inefficiencies.

“Construction hasn’t had this,” Garcia said.

Still, the first question most contractors will ask any manufacturer about a new piece of equipment is typically, what does it do? In the case of Hilti’s new DCH 300-X wet/dry cutting saw, the answer is, quite a bit. With top-mounted industry-standard connections for both water supply and vacuum systems, the electric DCH 300-X is designed to conveniently and quickly switch between both types of cutting. The slim machine has a cutting depth of up to 4.75 in (120.6 mm), while the built-in depth gauge and wheelset combine with unique push-style ergonomics to make cutting easier and more accurate.

Go cordless with Hilti

Another Innovative Day emphasis was cordless technology, the result of the company’s significant investment in battery technology.

“We do our own design, then work with manufacturing partners to build them,” explained business unit leader David Walker.

For its 22V products, Hilti has developed new 4aH and 8aH batteries that that minimize weight and heat while providing longer-lasting service. With the new models, Walker added, the company will gradually phase out its 3aH and 5.2 aH batteries. Similarly, Hilti’s new cordless DGH-130 5.6-lb (2.5 kg) variable speed pro grinder for walls and ceilings features a palm-style grip directly above the head, making it easier to maneuver and control, reducing shoulder strain in the process. An adjustable hood makes it easy to work the DGH-130’s 5-in (127 mm) diamond cup wheels into corners and edges along both walls and ceilings. The DGH can also serve as a concrete finisher. An innovative tool-less connector enables users to swap out cup wheels in seconds.

For other types of grinding, Hilti demonstrated a new 4.5-in (114.3 mm) AG 4S-A22 cordless angle grinder that features a brushless motor and a variable speed dial for 3,500-8,500 rpm, allowing users to handle cutting, grinding, smoothing, and finishing tasks across a variety of materials—stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, titanium, concrete, and other mineral surfaces.

As part of its mass cordless rollout, Hilti has made sure its cutting and grinding wheels are optimized for those types of tools. That includes the new Ultimate SPX wheels, which feature specially designed self-sharpening ceramic grains that substantially extend the wheel’s life. Cutting wheels are available in sizes from 4.5 in to 7 in (114.3 mm to 117.8 mm), while grinding wheels range from 4.5 in to 9 in (114.3mm to 228.6 mm).

Other cordless innovations included the SR 30-A 36V reciprocating saw, and the SIW 9-A impact wrench, which uses a unique dual-hammer impact mechanism to get more from its 590 lbf (800 Nm) of torque than larger, corded hammers, and with less vibration.

To make sure concrete cutters and drillers stay clear of embedded rebar, Hilti’s latest detection took, the PS 300 Ferroscan, analyzes both the location and size of rebar up to nearly 8 in (200mm) deep. Powered by a 12V batter, the device’s five scan surfaces can track up to 1.5 ft (457 mm) per second. Don’t think that this mid-year product roll-out pre-empts any additional debuts when the 2020 trade show season rolls around. Garcia noted in his closing remarks that Hilti remains on a hiring binge, adding field staff to not only provide customer support, but facilitate input on other innovations currently at various points in the development pipeline.

“It’s a continuous process of that relies heavily on customer experience and feedback,” Garcia said. “They’re the ones who tell just how good our products are, and how we can make them even better.”


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