Testing times – Ensuring speed doesn’t compromise performance
24th March, 2023
Onsite time is precious. As any installer will testify, time is money when it comes to deploying personnel, kits, and materials in the
1st December, 2022
To perform the best job possible, you need the best possible tools.
Yet with so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to try and find the right tool for your requirements, and how it compares with its competition. With so many tools on offer, what are the key considerations you need to bear in mind when trying to select the best tool to meet your needs?
Let’s start with the fundamental factors that need to be taken into account when choosing your next purchase
1) Ergonomic design
The importance of ergonomic design in a tool cannot be overstated. For workers using these tools again and again, day-in and day-out, the design and comfort of a product can make a noticeable difference to how quickly you’re able to undertake a task, how straightforward this process is, and how comfortable the action itself is. This final point is particularly crucial, as using tools that are not designed to be light and balanced to use can, over time, potentially cause harm in the long run.
Features such as angled handles, padded hand grips and non-slip coatings can all play a part in making sure a tool is easy and safe to use. With hands and fingers typically the most frequently injured at work, it’s critical to make sure tools involving repetitive motion actions have been designed by a trusted manufacturer, who has the design credentials to prove its products are simple, intuitive and practical to use.
2) Assured safety
Following on from ergonomic design is safety. These two are fairly interlinked, as most solutions that have paid attention to factoring in ergonomic design will have typically also considered how safety elements and features can be incorporated into their products.
From cuts and abrasions, to repetitive motion injuries, eye injuries and even broken bones and bruises, any hand tool worth your time should take every possible step to reduce the possibility of hand tool injury to an absolute minimum. For cable engineers, common safety features might include shielded blades, and automating tasks wherever possible.
Employers also have a responsibility to regularly inspect hand tools to ensure they are still in good working condition, and replace them if this is not the case.
It should also go without saying that engineers should always use the right tool for the right job.
3) Precise performance
A product’s quality and the reliability is an absolutely key component of any solution – without it, even the greatest cable technician would not be able to perform their job properly.
For the fiber industry, precision is only set to become more important in years to come, as cables are more densely packed and the air gap between cables and other components gets smaller and smaller. Quality of performance should never be compromised on, and the best solutions on the market will deliver consistent performance over extended periods of time, with a strong reputation within the industry for having done so.
Testing provides essential evidence of a product’s claims. Keep a lookout for the number of testing cycles a hand tool has undergone, illustrating its performance over time, as well as any standards or regulations a solution has been accredited to.
4) Speedy efficiency
Nowadays, fiber technicians are under more pressure than ever before to complete jobs in a quick and timely manner. With ambitious targets to extend cabling networks, and serious repercussions if a network was to go down or a job not completed according to timescales, the need for fast and efficient tooling solutions has never been more prominent.
The latest innovations will consider how a job can be completed more efficiently. New products will come with automated functions that previous iterations did not have, in a bid to make the engineer’s life easier, or they may come with a range of predefined options for different cabling measurements, improving accuracy and enabling the technician to quickly select the one they need.
5) Built to last
There’s no getting away from the fact that cost will always be a factor when choosing a product. As a result, decision-makers want products that are as cost-effective as possible, without compromising on quality. It’s understandable that when investing in a tool, you want a product that’s built to last, delivering value for money throughout its service life.
You want a long-lasting solution, which has been designed to stand the test of time. Factors such as materials used and testing will provide evidence of how much effort has gone into creating a product that’s designed to be durable and robust, so you can have every confidence that you won’t be replacing your new tool anytime soon.
The in-house knowledge, experience and expertise of a tool’s manufacturer will influence this, too. A brand will no doubt have needed to evolve and enhance their hand tool products over time, to continue impressing the cabling market with the latest innovations, designed to operate as expected again and again and again.