Ace Tool dealer expo: Milwaukee Electric reps tout benefits of lithium ion batteries

Cordless tools are improving and growing in popularity, thanks in part to lithium ion batteries. To learn more about new cordless tools on the markets, mobile distributors packed a training session by Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. during the recent Ace Tools National Dealer Expo at the Hilton St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla. Daniel Jonke, national account manager and Mike Surane, southeast regional manager discussed the lithium ion batteries that are making tools more convenient for end users.

Jonke and Surane noted new Milwaukee offerings include M18 and the M12 FUEL lines of cordless tools, along with an M18 grease gun with 10,000 psi and a 48" hose. The tools are powered by the company's proprietary "red" lithium ion batteries. 

"You guys spoke, we listened," Jonke said.

To help mobile distributors, the company will be coming out with 12-by-12" merchandisers for the M12 and M18 lines.

"FUEL technology is the most advanced technology in cordless power tools ever to go on the market," Surane said.

Milwaukee FUEL products are built on three important pieces of technology: 1) the company's proprietary "red" lithium-ion battery, 2) the red-link plus intelligence, and 3) the power state brushless motor.

"Anybody can make brushless," Jonke said. "The three prongs (stated above) make FUEL."

Surane added that brushless motors will most likely become standard industry wide in the next five to seven years.

Once a customer has a M12 charger, he can buy as many an as 50-plus Milwaukee tools on this platform. For the M18 charger, there are more than 40 tools. "Once you get them (customers) into your system, it's hard to get them out," Jonke said.

In response to a question, Surane noted that the "red" lithium batteries run just as well in cold temperatures as ambient ones.

"Listening to that (customer) feedback has allowed us to get away from the cold weather issue," he said.

He noted that specialty tools command better profit margins for distributors.

The question was raised about the importance of power level in cordless tools. Some in the audience noted that other hand tool manufacturers are expanding 20V lines. Surane and Jonke said the higher voltage can be deceptive. They said tools marketed as 20V are tools that have a 20V peak, but the power falls to a lower voltage after it reaches that peak.

Jonke and Surane also noted that the lithium ion batteries don't "die down" when the power ceases like tools with traditional batteries. Instead, the tool has the same power from start to finish.

To help mobile distributors, the company will be coming out with merchandisers for the M12 and M18 lines to help ease clutter and drive sales off the truck.

They also noted that the company is expanding into the apparel realm with heated hoodies and jackets that are now machine washable.

They noted that warranty and repair orders can be placed via the company's website, "E-SERVICE" From the website, a user can print a label to use to send a tool in for repair or warranty. "This is an added benefit and it makes you look good in front of your customers," Jonke said.

Jonke also noted that the company has stopped selling its tools on the Amazon website.