It was only a few issues back we tested the new Bosch X-LOCK Paddle Switch Grinder, and it was apparent from the get-go the system would revolutionise the building industry. Now the idea of using wrench spanners and tools to change grinder discs and blades seems painfully time-consuming, especially if you can’t find the change tool. It’s also dangerous when working at heights. The risk of dropping flanges during change-over of accessories is greater, compared to changing accessories with the snap-in system on X-LOCK grinders/ accessories. There are also other brands getting on-board with the X-LOCK system by producing grinder accessories with the X shaped snap-in interface. Meanwhile, all X-LOCK cutting and grinding discs are backwards compatible, meaning they can be used on both X-LOCK grinders, as well as conventional grinders.
- 5x faster change compared to traditional angle grinders
- Less tool downtime
- Better productivity
- X-Brake on cordless
Test #1: Xtra Fast & Xtra Easy
Less downtime is important for any business, so we figured the best way to test this was a time trial. We grabbed Jimmy Sullman and his brother Ed from S.W.A.T Fabrications. Their work includes plenty of marine stainless steel and structural steel for residential and commercial work. Jimmy had the X-LOCK system and Ed a traditional grinder, and both had a collection of blades ready to fit, remove and replace.
As often happens on a job, Ed couldn’t find the wrench to remove the locking nut. He was forced to use just his hands to grab and physically loosen and remove the blade. If he’d really been using the tool he could have ended up with burnt fingers. Only using his hand to tighten the disc helped speed Ed up considerably, but Jimmy was confident the X-LOCK would come up the victor.
When the flag dropped the onslaught was like the Wallabies playing a local under-15s rugby team.
Jimmy’s pace with the X-LOCK system was blinding. After the 60-second bout he’d changed 12 discs on the X-LOCK to Ed’s 6. And if Ed had had the change tool and tightened the thing properly each time he would have been lucky to get through 2 changes.
Test #2: Range & Compatibility
It’s probably a good time to mention there are over 90 accessories in the X-LOCK range. That pretty much guarantees finding the right accessory for the task at hand. The range includes: cutting discs, grinding discs, angled flap discs, straight flap discs, diamond discs, diamond cores, carbide disks, wire wheels and cup brushes. Out of this impressive list, all the range (except for diamond drills, brushes and backing pads) are backwards compatible to traditional M14 grinders. That allows passing an X-LOCK accessory to anyone onsite with a traditional grinder… maybe don’t mention that too loud onsite.
During the race Ed was fitting his Makita with X-LOCK metal cutting discs.
- Reduces drop hazards
- No spanners
- No manual tightening
- No hot discs in hand
Test #3: Xtra Safe
Safety needs to be paramount on all worksites, and the process of changing traditional discs has several potential hazards. First, dropping an item during the changing process when working at height can be disastrous. Second, grinders can be accidentally turned on while changing blades if the battery hasn’t been removed. Third, sharp and very hot blades can either cut or burn the hands if gloves aren’t worn when the tool has just been used.
The X-LOCK system has removed the need to touch any disc after use, and there are no tools to drop, so it’s a considerably safer all-round system.
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
The feedback from Jimmy and Ed was unanimous. They were converted. The only grinders the boys would purchase from this point on would be Bosch X-LOCK.
“The substantial range of X-LOCK is huge,” said Jimmy. “As metal fabricators, they have everything we need both in the workshop and onsite. Safety, speed, and ease of use are three of the most important aspects of what we look for in a tool system, and the Bosch X-LOCK has these in spades.”
For more information visit www.bosch-pt.com.au