There's nothing more frustrating than to be on a work platform, about to drill an anchor hole, and have the battery on the power tool conk out. Masons are becoming ever more reliant on these carry packs of power to perform work tasks quickly and safely. In a world where time is money, and productivity means profit, changing dead batteries is a cost to be avoided.

Engineers of power tool manufacturers have responded to the need for greater productivity by offering not only longer lasting batteries, but also new portable sources of increased power. For example, Rigid Tool's Xli 24V power platform uses a 3.0 AH high capacity lithium-ion battery that allows the mason to work at full productivity longer than previous models.

Engineers report that the lithium battery powered tools up to 160% longer than an 18V Ni-Cad battery, and put out 23% more torque. The new technology also makes the battery “fade-free,” which means the mason can count on the last task performed by the tool before the battery quits will have the same amount of power as when work started.

Another feature is an embedded computer chip that allows the user to check charge levels. The chip also provides a diagnostic tool to help monitor the battery's overall condition. When its time to recharge the system, the battery is only out of commission for about 30 minutes. In addition, partial charges don't affect the battery's overall life.

To go along with these more powerful batteries, engineers at Rigid Tool have introduced the Xli hammer drill. The ½-in. drill features a 24-position clutch that allows the user to easily switch modes without changing the setting. Masons can attach an auxiliary adjustable hammer that allows a full 360-deg rotation for ease in positioning.

In addition to the new battery technology, Rigid recently introduced a product line of power tools that can operate on either a 24V or 18V battery. Called Max Select, the new technology allows masons to gradually upgrade their tool set with higher voltage models.

For example, the dual voltage adhesive/ caulk gun has an adjustable speed control to allow masons to match output material characteristics. The gun's frame holds a 10.1-oz or 30-oz caulk tube., phone 800-474-3443, or circle44on the reader service card for more information.

Drill/driver serves tight work areas

The 9.6V DC750KA cordless drill-driver's light weight and compact size allow it to access hard-to-reach work areas. A single sleeve ratcheting chuck helps prevent drill bits from slipping, while a 15-position clutch and dual speed range up to 300 rpm or 1100 rpm offer increased versatility.

  • DeWalt Industrial Tool Co., 800-433-9258,