The Benefits of Lithium-Ion Batteries for Cordless Tools
Battery technology has advanced significantly in the past two decades, with lithium-ion replacing the previous generations of nickel–cadmium (NiCad) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. One of the key advantages of lithium-ion is that the batteries are more ‘energy dense’, allowing greater power and capacities from smaller packs. In fact, lithium-ion is around 40% lighter than NiCad batteries. Cordless tools that use this battery technology are therefore more comfortable to use with improved tool handling and reduced muscle fatigue.
Lithium-ion batteries also allow more flexibility in terms of work. Both NiCad and NiMH batteries had to be completely discharged before being recharged, to avoid a ‘memory effect’. This is where the battery will acquire a smaller capacity when partially discharged repeatedly. This is not necessary with lithium-ion, so users can top up the battery charge if required. Furthermore, unlike previous generations of battery, Lithium-ion do not discharge if stored for an extended period of time – meaning the battery is always ready to use.
The energy density of lithium-ion allows significantly longer run times while also achieving faster charge times when using the Intelligent Charging system. This saves time on site as the user will be able to work for longer before stopping to change or charge the battery and even when it is necessary, the battery is quickly ready for use again.
This is enhanced further by an intelligent charging system to create industry leading charge times. An 18-volt 3 amp-hour (Ah) battery can be fully charged in as little as 22 minutes and even a 6.0Ah battery will need only 55 minutes to be completely recharged.
Our lithium-ion batteries and cordless tools also include technology that allows the machine, battery and charger to communicate, to maximise the life of the product and provide protection against damage. For example, chargers are designed to deliver the optimum charge every time by intelligently balancing the recharge across all cells.
Also, the tools are equipped with a tool/battery protection system, which automatically stops the tool under conditions that may damage the life of the machine and battery.
- Overload protection – The tool automatically stops when operated in a way that causes it to draw an abnormally high current.
- Thermal protection – This will stop the machine if it begins to overheat during use and reaches a temperature that would damage the tool and/or battery.
- Over-discharge protection – The tool will stop when the battery capacity gets too low. This prevents the battery being over-discharged as this can potentially damage the cells and shorten the life of the battery.
Lithium-ion batteries have a range of benefits for cordless tool users compared with older technologies, including easier handling, improved run times and faster, more flexible charging. Choosing tools that feature innovations to enhance these advantages further will help professionals work easier, faster and safer.