A battery pack system for trade and industry: How the Cordless Alliance System (CAS) is bringing change to the power tool industry.
In 2018, on the initiative of Metabo, power tool and machine manufacturers created something unique in the industry: The cross-manufacturer battery pack system CAS. This benefits everyone – professional users, specialist dealers, CAS partners and Metabo itself.
The carpenter swears by the Mafell plunge saw, the plumber by the Rothenberger tube press, the stainless-steel expert by the grinder from Eisenblätter. And all three also use a Metabo drill screwdriver – with rechargeable battery, and with the same 18-volt battery pack. A uniform interface: This topic occupies many industries that deal with energy or data transmission – be it the USB interface, charging electric cars or the smartphone charger. In the power tool industry, the cross-manufacturer battery pack system, the Cordless Alliance System (CAS) is unique. And when Metabo managing director Horst W. Garbrecht takes the Rothenberger tube press into his hands at the company’s headquarters in Nürtingen, he knows: “This is an absolute special device. Metabo does not have a tube press in its product range. But thanks to CAS, our customers can still use it with our battery packs within a fully compatible system.”
The freedom to change
For Garbrecht, CAS is a fourfold “win” situation, because “our CAS partners, the specialist trade, the users and Metabo all benefit equally from the cooperation”. For users, the advantages are obvious and literally in the palm of their hand: a mobile cordless device with which craftsmen can work flexibly on the construction site and in the workshop, and a battery pack that is also compatible with machines from other manufacturers and their chargers. “Metabo has gained partners through CAS who are absolute specialists in very different trades,” says Garbrecht. In addition to Metabo, Mafell, Rothenberger and Eisenblätter, a further thirteen partners are currently part of CAS and more are to follow. Whether the stirrer from the painter specialist Collomix, the plaster processing machine from Eibenstock, the vaccum cleaner from Starmix, the hot air devices from Steinelhe concrete shaker from Rokamat or the cordless nailer from Prebena – all these devices run with the high-performance cordless technology from Nürtingen and are 100 percent compatible with one battery pack. More than 160 machines are currently available to professional users within CAS, and the number is rising rapidly. Many devices, but only one battery pack and one charger – this is only practical, but also sustainable. “All in all, professionals need fewer battery packs and can make maximum use of them,” says Garbrecht. CAS thus touches exactly the nerve of the user. “The market is dominated by competition between systems. On many construction sites and in workshops there is still a chaos of batteries and chargers from different manufacturers. CAS is supposed to change that. “Suddenly it is no longer necessary to change the battery packs for the machines from different manufacturers, it means freedom and flexibility. Of course, craftsmen also have this freedom with hard-wired machines: they can use their favorite devices from different manufacturers, because they all have the same plug. But only with the limitations of a cable that is always too short or somehow in the way.“
Full power from Nürtingen
A high-power requirement no longer speaks against battery operation for a long time. “With our LiHD technology, we can now supply almost any machine with sufficient power,” explains Dr. Andreas Siemer, Head of Product Management & Training at Metabo. The cordless screwdriver is only the lower end of what is possible. Two Metabo 18-volt battery packs, for example, provide up to 3,200 Watts with a mobile table saw. Dr. Siemer explains that two points are decisive in the development of the battery packs from Nürtingen: runtime and current carrying capacity. “It depends on the optimum interplay of runtime and maximum power output. With our 8.0 Ah battery pack, we currently have found the best interaction between these two components in the double-row battery packs on the market”. In the future, even 10.0 Ah or more would not be unrealistic, says Dr. Siemer. “Metabo has shaped the topic of battery pack technology in recent years as a technology leader. Even in the future we shall continue to be at the forefront.”
CAS brings technological progress
And the CAS partners benefit from the battery pack competence from Nürtingen: “Many of the smaller companies simply do not have the necessary resources to develop their own battery pack technology,” says Thomas Zeller, head of the CAS partner program. The “CAS Task Force” at Metabo, consisting of Zeller and his team from product management, development, marketing and sales, is in close contact with the colleagues from the partner companies. They regularly meet to exchange product news, latest trends and activities. “Our experience in motor and drive technology is also helpful for some of the partners,” says Zeller. “This enables us to advise our partners when questions arise during their development process.”
The response has been great
Metabo has a long-standing partnership with some of the companies, even before CAS. Others are new additions. “The response has been great,” says Zeller. “We are currently talking to more than 30 other companies that are interested in CAS. But the admission of new partners needs time, says the program manager. “First, we compare whether the requirements of the potential partner match ours. After all, there are certain framework conditions that have to be fulfilled in order for a CAS partnership to come about at all.”
The prerequisites of partnership
“To become part of CAS, the machines of potential partners must meet the high demands of professional users,” says Zeller. “Let’s take a building services installer: for example, we use a powerful combination hammer to prepare the assembly, and a drill screwdriver to assemble the sanitary modules. And he presses the pipes with the Rothenberger pressing machine and removes blockages with a special pipe cleaning device. So he has enough reasons to rely on our system. From the user’s point of view, there should always be a certain overlap, thus: “Which special-purpose machine supplements my standard range and vice versa? Another point is sales: Metabo sells its range through specialist dealers. Although this is not absolutely necessary for potential partners, the sales structures must at least fit together so that compatible products are also available where they are needed, says Zeller. Partners deliberately opt for CAS – and thus also against other systems, of which there are many in the industry. “We receive positive feedback from our specialist trade partners. CAS is an opportunity for them to differentiate themselves from their competitors.”
CAS should grow further
After all, regular contact with each other is an important criterion, because only in this way can we make progress as a partnership”, says Zeller. Progress is the keyword for CAS. “We are open to other manufacturers and brands. In this respect, CAS is implementing a trend in our industry that is also becoming increasingly effective in completely different areas. Today, cooperation between competitors is the order of the day for many challenges in order to solve them as user-friendly as possible for the benefit of our customers,” says Horst W. Garbrecht. Overlaps within the product range do not have to be an exclusion criterion. “If a specialist supplier knocks on our door today with a tool that we may also have in stock, then he is still welcome. Because we win many users for our system who rely on the same special product. CAS will be the battery pack system for trade and industry – the battery pack for everyone, so to speak.”
CAS was launched in 2018 and presented to the public by the managing directors of the companies Metabo, Rothenberger, Mafell, Eisenblätter, Collomix, Haaga, Starmix, Eibenstock and Steinel. Since then, the companies Rokamat, Elried/edding, Birchmeier, fischer Prebena, Cembre, Pressfit and Jöst abrasives have joined. Other partners are to follow: “CAS will become the battery pack system for trade and industry – the battery pack for all so to speak“, says Metabo boss Garbrecht (center).
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The Cordless Alliance System (CAS) is a cross-manufacturer battery pack system initiated by the Nürtingen power tool manufacturer Metabo. In the summer of 2018, CAS started with nine power tool manufacturers and machine manufacturers from different sectors. Currently, the following companies are part of CAS: Metabo, Rothenberger, Mafell, Eisenblätter, Collomix, Haaga, Electrostar (Starmix), Eibenstock, Steinel, Rokamat, Elried/edding, Birchmeier, fischer, Prebena, Cembre, Pressfit and Jöst abrasives. Within this battery pack system that is unique in the industry, all machines of the CAS partners are one hundred percent compatible with one battery pack and can be combined at will. Based on the powerful Metabo, CAS unites different trades under one roof and thus offers professional users the freedom to work with standard and special products of different manufacturers mobile and flexibly far away from any power outlet. More on CAS at www.cordless-alliance-system.de.
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