4 factors to consider when choosing construction equipment
Choosing the right construction equipment plays a significant part in the success of a project. Previously, performance and productivity were the key factors in choosing equipment, but as technology develops and safety becomes even more prevalant, there are many other factors to consider.
Before we dive in and explain what these are, let's take a quick look at the difference between tools and equipment...
Tools v Equipment
We know 'tools' and 'equipment' are used interchangeably, but what exactly is the difference? In construction, a tool is an item used to achieve your objective. For example, "I need to drill into concrete" means "I need a cordless combihammer". Equipment, however, refers to a set of these tools e.g. "I have the 12V cordless range in my tool park."
Now, onto the list! Here's 4 factors to consider when choosing construction equipment:
1. Application-based performance
When assessing performance, it makes sense to look at the application first – what does the job involve, what materials are you working with and how long will the job take you?
For instance, if you need to cut curb stones and paving slabs with a material depth of 120mm, this narrows your choice to the DSH 600-X petrol saw (as due to its innovative arbour design, this blade size can cut the slab in one go). The smaller blade will not only help you save money, but it also makes the saw extremely light and compact for a saw of this performance class.
In this scenario, another challenge is that you’re working on-site alone, it’s a one-man job and must be completed as quickly as possible. According to site rules, you need water when cutting concrete. Hilti’s innovative self-primping pump distributes water at the same speed as the blade, making the DSH 600-X the optimum solution.
2. On-site Productivity
What constitutes productivity? In construction, it's calculated by considering input (hours worked) and output (the gross value added). It’s about looking at the bigger picture to understand how different parts interact with each other, as well as exploring the tool's features in relation to your application. This holistic approach can save time and money, which is vital when a project’s deadline is looming.
When choosing a tool (in this case the DSH 600-X for a steel and concrete application), ask yourself what differentiates this product from others in terms of productivity? The auto-choke function means the tool doesn't flood, so you won't have to waste time unflooding the saw by removing the spark plug. The DSH 600-X also has a fuel gauge, so you'll always know how long you can run the tool for - enabling efficient planning of work.
3. Safety features
It's extremely important to consider health and safety when selecting the right tool for your application. For example, when looking at the DSH 600-X petrol saw, there’s 4 key safety features that stand out. The ergonomic top-handle design makes it easy to manoeuvre, whilst the low vibration level of 2.5 m/s² allows you to work all day without reaching the Exposure Limit Value (ELV). The new blade brake technology also ensures operator safety by stopping the blade within 7 seconds, whilst the foot plate (which removes the need to drop start the tool) makes it easy and safe to start.
4. Tool versatility
For a construction worker who has various tasks to complete, versatility of a tool can be a defining factor when deciding which one to buy. After all, if a tool can cover multiple applications, it'll not only save you time and money, but will also make your tool park easier to manage. The DSH 600-X, for example, can cut various materials including masonry, concrete, steel and PVC.
Construction tool terminology
Understanding construction terminology can be useful when selecting what equipment you need. Here are some examples:
- Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVs): The main concern posed by exposure to vibration. Commonly manifesting as vibration white finger or carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s caused by the transfer of vibration through a worker’s hands and arms, in as little as 6 months.
- Exposure Limit Value (ELV): The maximum amount of vibration an employee can be exposed to on a single day.
- Exposure Action Value (EAV): A daily amount of vibration exposure above which employers are required to take action to control exposure.
- Active Vibration Reduction (AVR): A technology that addresses regular long-term exposure to vibration.
- Active Torque Control (ATC): Advanced sensors and a motor brake help reduce kickback, by stopping the tool body from spinning uncontrollably if a drill bit snags on rebar (or other hidden materials).
- Dust Removal Systems (DRS): A system used alongside tools to remove harmful dust, which is efficiently collected with high-performance vacuum cleaners.
Now you know what to look for when selecting tools, why not focus on jobsite productivity next? Our handy Productivity Analysis Service will help you on your way - click below to find out more!
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