Ergonomics behind tool design

What’s the most important factor in tool design? Power and durability may come to mind first, but the ergonomics behind tool design are also vital in creating a tool that is easy and comfortable to use.

Milwaukee is one company putting a lot of focus on how they make their tools more functional. They recently invited over 100 members of the media to Milwaukee, Wisc., where they showcased hundreds of new tools for editors to test out in comparison to competitors’ products.

he simple addition of a metal safety bar protects the finger when the tape retracts into the tape measure base.

The sheer amount of cordless tools offered by Milwaukee was a testament to their work on functionality. Milwaukee currently offers hundreds of cordless products, which allows users greater freedom when using tools on the move. Farmers in particular need cordless options as they use tools on machinery in the field or around the shop, which can lead to major time savings when equipment needs repair.

The Sawzall reciprocating saw was easy to grip with its new slim design as editors sliced through a variety of materials.

Beyond their cordless offerings, Milwaukee has made some simple but important improvements to many of its tool offerings. Milwaukee’s tape measure line has been redesigned for better functionality. A simple metal “finger stop” bar has been added which protects the hand from getting snapped when the tape retracts. Milwaukee said their research indicated this was a common problem with many standard tape measures. Their new tape measure models will be released between August 2013 and March 2014.

The lightweight Fuel Grinder features a paddle grip area for better manageability of the tool.

Also shown at the symposium was the cordless M18 Fuel Sawzall reciprocating saw, which the editors used to slice through plywood, metal rods and PVC pipes. Christian Coulis, director of product marketing, cordless, said the tool has been designed to be slightly slimmer where the user grips the Sawzall, making it easier to manage. The new Sawzall model will be launched in October 2013.

The new M18 Fuel Grinder was designed with a slim, manageable paddle grip area that was easy for the editor of this piece to use as she applied force on the tool to grind the rust off a piece of metal. The cordless product would be a handy portable option for farmers to use when cleaning rust off older equipment, as it was also relatively lightweight. The new Fuel Grinder will launch in October 2013.

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