A few months ago I received a phone call that some would call a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
On the other end of the line was Brand & Digital Marketing Manager, Public Relations Danielle Wilson, of Hilti North America. She had asked me if I would like to attend a Hilti Innovation Experience in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
“Switzerland? Is there one in the U.S.?” I naively asked.
“No,” Wilson said. “Switzerland, like in Europe.”
Of course, I wanted to go to Switzerland. Who wouldn’t? Yet, I couldn’t get my hopes up. With COVID-19 regulations and the fluidity in our current state of world, I was sure I wouldn’t be actually going to Switzerland or Liechtenstein. But, Walls & Ceilings Publisher Jill Bloom and I started the process anyway.
At the Innovation Experience, we would get a chance to learn about Hilti Corporation innovations not yet released to the public. There was something they wanted to unveil to only a select few influencers and contractors in the industry. Something big.
I thought about the endless possibilities each day leading up the trip. I rarely gave myself a reality check and thought about the possibility that I wouldn’t actually be going to Switzerland. No, my mind was made up. No matter what, I would be at that Innovation Experience.
And that’s exactly what happened. Always at the ready for adventure, we departed in late October to Switzerland with so many questions, and no real idea of what was in store. What I can say though, is that what we saw exceeded all of our expectations.
So what exactly did Hilti reveal to our industry? Let me tell you all about it.
On our second to last day in Switzerland we were brought to Verrucano Mels, where Hilti employees Ruedi Wagner and Andres Bong discussed with us Hilti’s commitment to innovation. Then we were led inside a theatre where the moment we all had been waiting for would arrive.
The walkway into to the theatre was lit with red lights and fog from the blue-lit theatre seeped into the hallway. Soft, curious music welcomed us. We were told to sit and face the curtain. Choosing a seat right in the front row, Jill and I were ready.
Finally, the music began to intensify and everyone moved to the edge of their seats. The curtain spread slowly until the music stopped, the room went dark, and a video began to play introducing us to Nuron.
Contractors: Right now, before I go any further, I want you to take a second to think about the worst parts about working on a jobsite. Did you think of the annoyances of working with tools—such as the many cords, the short-battery life, tools getting lost or broken, the wear and tear it has on your body? Did you think of the implementation of technology, and how it seems like you don’t have enough time nor workers to take advantage of what construction tech can offer you?
Now, what if I told you that what Hilti revealed to us combats all of those problems and more? What if I told you that not only did they release 70 tools, they also came up with a way to put all those tools on one battery platform, reducing the need for multiple chargers while increasing safety and productivity? What if I told you that they had also come up with a way to transfer and store your tools data, allowing you to check its battery life, how often it’s used and, when and where the last time it was used was, and the only thing you had to do was plug your tool in to charge. And lastly, what if I told you not only was Hilti bringing you all of that, but all 70 of the tools were cordless. It sounds too good to be true. But guess what? It isn’t.
Red and white strobe lights lit the room as we learned about Nuron, a 22-volt cordless battery platform that brings you enhanced performance, health/safety, and data-driven services, all on one platform, all without having to compromise a thing.
Launching with more than 70 tools, Nuron enables Hilti customers to work jobsites fully cordless with built in connectivity while increasing safety and your tools' jobsite durability.
After the video ended, Hilti Group CEO Christoph Loos stepped onto the stage and welcomed us all to the event. He told us that breakthrough innovation was part of Hilti’s DNA but never before has Hilti (or any other company for that matter) launched more than 70 tools at once with such a strong “value proposition.”
“With Nuron we are launching an entirely new battery platform that provides a much higher performance, is less complex, makes tool part management much easier, and provides additional safety features. Based on a single battery system, it covers applications from light duty drilling all the way to heavy duty, concrete chiseling and cutting,” Loos says.
“We hope that we have peaked your interest now to go deeper into unpacking our claim: cordless without compromise.”
During our trip, we got the chance to meet many members of the Hilti team and do just that. We specifically got the chance to talk to the Hilti employees that worked directly on Nuron, and were experts on those four key factors of Nuron: performance, health and safety, compatibility and data-driven services.
Nuron offers one platform, for all your cordless tools, and increased performance including run-time, improved ergonomics for better working comfort, more speed, and compatibility. And by the way, this extends to the jackhammers, angle grinders, and large combi-hammers—those are cordless now, too.
Johannes Huber, executive vice president DIAMOND Tools and Accessories at Hilti, discussed with us what Nuron’s Performance without compromise factor is all about.
Health and Safety
Not only have Nuron tools been newly developed or thoroughly redesigned to achieve optimal performance-to-weight ratio and ergonomics, all applications now feature Hilti’s Dust Removal Systems, while Active Vibration Reduction comes as a standard, and Active Torque Control is available with many more tools.
Michigan fan and Executive Vice President of Fastening and Protection at Hilti, Ted Przybylowicz, led the Hilti team on Health & Safety during the design of Nuron.
As you’ve learned, Nuron features one platform for all cordless tools. But, what does that mean for the contractor? How does that change their day-to-day jobsites?
We talked with Tassilo Deinzer, executive vice president of Power Tools and Accessories at Hilti, about what contractors can expect from everything being on one platform.
Now with all of the aforementioned, it wouldn’t be right if Hilti didn’t also give you a way to transmit your tool data with Nuron.
Data-Driven Services without compromise is all about the ability to transmit all tool data including usage, utilization, and location, and automatically download it to the Hilti Cloud. To help you make informed decisions, minimize downtime with proactive services, and optimize your tool crib.
With technology still being so new within the industry, Hilti wanted to ensure that contractors didn’t have to compromise time trying to figure out the technology. They had to make the whole cordless system intelligent, Michael Neidow, executive vice president of Tool Services and Software at Hilti, tells us.
Hands-On Day: What Tools to Look Forward To
The next day, we traveled to Lichtenstein to visit Hilti’s Global Headquarters where we were able to test out all 70 Nuron tools.
Early on, Jill and I decided we would be trying out any tool we could get our hands on. The first one being the AG 6D-22.
I was feeling confident and ready to try Nuron's angle grinder after two Hilti employees presented the tool to us and explained the safety features (featuring ATC and a capacitive grip). Yet, after seeing them use the application and seeing how many sparks resulted, I couldn’t help being a little nervous to catch on fire. But I stepped right up, put my gear on, and used the application.
Testing out the AG 6D-22 at Hilti’s headquarters
Standing at 5’ 2”, or as Jill likes to say about me, “small, petite, and economically compact,” it’s important that when I use a tool I feel like I am in control and not the other way around. Though work with an angle grinder is normally a strenuous, annoying application, one that would normally leave wrists and fingers cramping within minutes, using Nuron's AG 6D-22 was a breeze. The capacitive grip allowed for comfort and the ATC reduced worry that if the tool did get the better of me, all my limbs would stay intact.
I guess now is as good a time as any to mention that I have arthritis. So, I was especially excited to hear about the capacitive grip. Normally, I can’t even sift flour for longer than two minutes before I have to give my fingers and wrist a break. So, when I tell you that what Hilti set out to do with the capacitive grip they actually accomplished, I’m not lying. My fingers didn't have to do any extra work and I could focus on remaining a tight grip confident in the fact that the tool would sense when I was finished with the application. Afterwards I felt no pain or tenderness in my wrists or fingers, and the AG 6D-22 is way heavier than a flour sifter.
Another tool our contractors can get excited about is the SID 6-22 Impact Driver.
The impact driver is a tool that gets a lot of use, whether it’s putting together a drywall track, overhead fastening, etc., it’s used all day long. So Hilti thought a lot about how they could make the Impact Driver better with Nuron. They did this in three ways:
- The performance of the tool: Hilti did this in two main ways. The first one being increasing the actual setting speed by about 20 percent, and the second being increasing the trigger response time by 30 percent, which matters quite a lot when you are doing a thousand screws a day.
- Ease of use: With the many applications impact drivers are used for, it was important to Hilti that the ergonomics of the tool were perfect. They put a lot of work into the ergonomically feel of how the tool fits in the user’s hand, also adding a light ring to the driver for applications where sight is limited, bringing outstanding application visibility for the professional.
- Work per charge: The professional is now able to do all day work without having to recharge, which enables contractors to do more work with less hassle.
Jill noted early on the SID 6-22’s ease of use
ATC was incorporated across the Nuron platform wherever it made sense. For example, on its drill driver. While you normally would have to worry about a wrist injury using a tool such as a drill driver, Nuron’s SF 6H-22 Drill Driver features ATC so contractors can have faith that they are in control of the tool.
We also got the opportunity to chat with Matt Jackson, senior director of marketing at Hilti, about more tools our walls and ceilings contractors can look forward to.
The Future of the Industry
What you learned today is only a preview of what’s to come. Nuron will make each day for the contractor easier. The overall wear and tear labor has on the body will be minimized with features such as active torque control and capacitive grip, and the tools ease of use coupled with increased battery performance make all day work on the jobsite more productive and less strenuous. Contractors no longer have to stress about incorporating construction technology into their jobsites. Nuron does all that for you. The whole cordless platform is intelligent: each tool stores data on the battery while contractors are doing the work. When that battery is removed and placed on the charger, the data is securely uploaded to the Cloud. Data upload is fully integrated into the normal work flow.
The best part about Nuron is that you don’t have to compromise anything to get everything it offers. Contractors can have ultimate confidence in its ability to uphold health & safety, performance, and data-driven services, all on one platform. Everything in Nuron was designed specifically for the construction customer. During its development, Hilti used real customers to test products and provide feedback on what could be done better—what they wanted out of their tools—and Hilti listened. So customers can be confident that people like them have already begun to reap the benefits of Nuron.
What Jill and I were able to experience in Switzerland was truly game-changing. At such an early stage in my career, I was able to see firsthand how an entire industry can be revolutionized. We saw how Hilti cares for its customers through how they cared for us. Nuron is only a portion of what Hilti is doing to combat the industry’s biggest struggles.
You can read more about Hilti's efforts to improve our industry on our website in the upcoming days. For an exclusive inside look of even more Nuron tools, demos, and details of our trip, be sure to be subscribed to our free eMagazine and read all about it in our February issue.
Nuron products will be on sale to U.S. and Canadian customers in January, with shipments beginning in March.