When using power tools, vibration is a by product. In the olden days, back when you could leave your bike parked outside the chip shop without it being nicked, no one really cared too much about vibration. It was just part and parcel of the power tool experience.
And they were right.
Nowadays, employers, employees and the manufacturers of vibration producing power tools are all too aware of the effect of vibration on the users of power tools.
Injuries such as Vibration White Finger (VWF) and Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) have debilitating effects on their sufferers.
Employers are legally obliged to make sure employees are not at risk from such injuries and in July 2005 the Physical Agents Directive became law. This meant that power tools had to be measured to determine the amount of vibration they create, and this information had to be made available to everyone.
In the real world, however, less vibration means you can use your power tools for longer…
One manufacturer who takes vibration seriously is Makita, and when we visited their UK HQ earlier this month, we asked them what they’re doing to make sure they’re producing power tools that can be used safely for longer.
Their answer is quite simply AVT.
Makita’s approach to reducing the amount of vibration experienced by the power tool operator is to adopt the principle of counterbalance.
As the tool moves forward, as in a hammer drill for instance, the AVT system features a pendulum weight that moves in the opposite direction.
This creates a dampening principle, thereby reducing the vibration transferred back to you, the operator.
However, that isn’t the only dampening technique in effect.
Makita also deploy a technique that reduces – or suppresses – the motor speed. When your power tool is idling less vibration is transferred to you. This system also minimises deflection of the bit tip from the material when you start to use the tool.
Thirdly, and this is one area that could easily be overlooked, Makita take the performance of the power tool very seriously, making sure the tool works as efficiently as possible.
In simple terms this means your power tool will do the job quicker, meaning you’re exposed to less vibration due to you needing to use the tool for less time.
Some of their power tools feature shock absorbing handles.
Makita’s UK training manager, Ray Wilby, very kindly ran through the various ways Makita are implementing AVT on their power tools. Watch the video.
Here are some examples of Makita power tools equipped with AVT:
Makita HM1213C 1500W 110V Demolition Hammer Drill with AVT.
Vibration Rotary Only Drilling: 2.5m/s²
Vibration Hammer Only Drilling: 8.5m/s²
Vibration Hammer Drilling: 11.5m/s²
Conforms to: EN60745
Makita JR3070CT Orbital Action Reciprocating Saw with AVT
So, what are your thoughts on AVT? Has it saved your health? Has it made your job easier? Let us know!