FWB Weekly Roundup
14 October 2019
Welcome back to the FWB Weekly Roundup, our weekly article series where we discuss the big things happening in the industry, and at FWB. This week’s topics include efforts to remove fossil fuels from steel production, corded vs cordless power tools, and some long service achievements for our employees.
A Greener Steel Industry Not Quite in Reach, Yet
With the proposed acquisition of British Steel by Ataer Holdings progressing, the Turkish company are looking to make the harmful gases spewed out by the Scunthorpe plant a thing of the past.
As reported by the Financial Times, the steel industry currently accounts for 7 to 9 percent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels, with each tonne of steel produced also producing 1.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The reason for this is down to the way in which steel is made. This process involves extracting iron from it’s ore in blast furnaces of up to 1,200 degrees Celsius. This process is completed using a carbon-rich form of coal known as Coke (no, not the drink). The main by-product of this reaction therefore, is carbon dioxide.
A number of European steelmakers are exploring the possibilities of a new, environmentally friendly steelmaking process known as Hydrogen Steelmaking. The process simply replaces Coke with Hydrogen, resulting in the main by-product being water rather than carbon dioxide. Ataer plan to follow suit, and reportedly have plans to eventually implement this process in British Steel as well.
Unfortunately, hydrogen steelmaking is still in its infancy, and is expected to take 10-20 years, and costs are estimated to be 60 to 90 percent more than existing methods. Regardless, there is an ambition to make hydrogen steelmaking a successful, cost-efficient way of reducing the emissions from one of the biggest polluting sectors as soon as possible.
Are Cordless Tools the Future of Building Sites?
Over the last few years, cordless tools have gone leaps and bounds in terms of their power, flexibility and availability on the market. Many tools manufacturers nowadays, including Bosch, Makita and Ryobi, now offer cordless tools with cross-compatible batteries, allowing tradesmen to lighten the load of their tools by using one battery for multiple tools.
Despite the growing popularity of cordless tools, particularly in the household, corded tools have generally been considered the better option in the trade. Corded tools are more powerful, don’t run out of power in the middle of a job, and can cost less than cordless alternatives. Recently however, cordless tools have been catching up in terms of the power they can offer. Toolstop have shared the advantages and disadvantages of corded vs cordless tools:
Corded Tools - The Advantages
- Corded tools never run out of power, as they are constantly connected to a mains power supply or transformer
- Extremely high power output
- Typically, lighter than cordless tools
Corded Tools - The Disadvantages
- Corded tools can be time-consuming to set up, particularly when dealing with transformers
- Workers may not always have access to a power supply on-site
Cordless Tools - The Advantages
- There are no cables to restrict your movement
- The batteries can be used for many different tools
- Newer technology, such as 36V and 54V batteries mean cordless tools can be just as powerful as corded tools
- No cables to get tangled or damaged
- Easy to set up (No transformers)
- Can be used anywhere, no need for a nearby power supply
Cordless Tools - The Disadvantages
- Batteries can run out of power quickly. It is essential to ensure they are charged before a job
- Batteries can take a while to charge
- Batteries, particularly the newer 36V and 54V variants, can be expensive
While cordless tools offer more flexibility and less fuss in the workplace, corded tools offer more reliability and allow for constant use without the worry of running out of power. Only time will tell which of the two will come out on top in a few years. Let us know what you think: Will cordless be king of the site, or will corded remain a mainstay in your kit?
FWB Team Members Celebrate Long Service Achievements
Once again, this week some members of our team are celebrating long service achievements at FWB:
- Errold Hawkesworth is celebrating 2 years in our Stoke branch
- Glyn Sanderson is celebrating 2 years in our Truro branch
- Steph Morris and Glyn Furnival are both celebrating an amazing 15 years at our Stoke branch!
Please join us in congratulating Errold, Glyn, Steph and Glyn on their long service, and thank them for all of their hard work!
Thank you for joining us this week. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with all things FWB!