Summer is the season for travel – and for woodworking shows, it seems. One of my summer jaunts this year was to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the Milwaukee Tool media event. The big announcement at the event — although those of us who were there had to promise to keep it secret for a few weeks – was the release of the first phase of Milwaukee’s new ONE-KEY™ technology, set to be available this September.
ONE-KEY is a digital platform for jobsite tools, which integrates the electronics built into the tools with a custom cloud-based program, offering tool control, inventory management and tool reporting. The platform is set to roll out in stages, with various components and tools becoming available in the months ahead – and, according to the Milwaukee reps at the media event, they plan to add even more tools and more features to the program in the future. Starting in September, the ONE-KEY program will be available for download via www.milwaukeetool.com/ONE-KEY or by mobile apps compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.
It’s in January 2016 that the ONE-KEY component most targeted toward a woodworking audience will be released. “Tool Control” will have its introduction with new M17 FUEL™ Drilling and Driving products. End users will be able to use predetermined setups for specific fasteners and materials, or create their own specific profiles of torque and speed settings for an application that’s common in their own use of the tool. Touching a button on the tool will switch it back and forth between these saved profiles, all synced wirelessly to the ONE-KEY application.
“If you think about the number of fasteners that require different speeds and torques, there are hundreds of different tool profiles and setups that can be implemented,” said Christian Coulis, vice president of product management for Milwaukee Tool.
Prior to that, in September, the “Inventory Management” component will become available. It is free to use and allows you to keep detailed records on all the tools you own (including non-Milwaukee brands). The program will store information like a purchase receipt, showing, where, when and for how much a tool was purchased. It also allows you to assign locations or specific owners to each tool, for accountability and tracking. The Inventory Management component of ONE-KEY is available both via the web and mobile app, which sync with each other through the cloud.
Next up, in October, the first tool with Tool Reporting will be added to the ONE-KEY platform. Using the electronics in the tools themselves (first to be launched are Utility Crimpers for electricians), the user will be able to interact with the ONE-KEY platform to keep track of data like successful applications and the need for service maintenance on the tool.
What else was at the Milwaukee Tool show? Lots of things, including a 3-1/4 inch planer set to release in October (yes, I got to play with it), which allows you to choose which side – left or right – your chips will eject on; new M18 FUEL drills and drivers with brushless motors and reworked electronics (those should be coming out later this summer) – plus tool storage, new heated hoodies and redesigned heated jackets for women, work gloves with both a terrycloth “wiping away sweat” strip and a “smart” section that allows you to tap on your phone to answer without removing your gloves.
And, of course, after hours there were a few beers and pretzels on offer. I do have German heritage, after all, and it was Milwaukee.