Q&A with David Fernandez, Makita’s Product Category Manager, Metal Working & Concrete Products (www.makitatools.com).
Q. What made Makita U.S.A. develop the world’s first grinder with a non-removable guard?
Makita has received inquiries from business managers asking if a grinder can be designed with a non-removable guard feature. In response to these customer requests, Makita has developed the first in-concept handheld angle grinder that has a non-removable guard feature, and right now Makita offers two models with this feature: a 4-1/2” Paddle Switch Angle Grinder (GA4553R) and a 4-1/2”/5” Paddle Switch Angle Grinder (GA5053R).
Q. What kinds of applications are Makita’s Paddle Switch Angle Grinders with non-removable guards used for?
These new grinders are part of the compact industrial class, which are widely used for grinding, surfacing and cutting applications in Construction, Metal Fabrication and other heavy use industries such as Petro-Chemical/Oil Refinery, Water Treatment, Power Plants, Mining and Ship Building.
Q. How does having workers use grinders with non-removable guards help companies?
Our new non-removable guard will provide another element to help business owners manage their teams and follow the manufacturer’s instruction to always maintain proper guarding while operating a grinder tool.
Q. What happens if a guard has to be adjusted in order to provide access to the grinding task?
We recognize that angle grinder guards need to be constantly adjusted throughout the course of a workday. And while the grinder guard is not removable, it can be quickly adjusted with the push of a button (no tools needed) so the user can easily match the guard position to the application.
Q. How powerful are these angle grinders?
Grinders in the compact industrial class range from 9 AMP to 11 AMP, and these Makita grinder models deliver on the upper end of the power spectrum at 11 AMPS.
Q. What about use of the grinder when performing work overhead?
Makita Angle Grinders should always be used as specified in the instruction manual. Those instructions cover the subject of holding the tool properly and securely. The Non-Removable Guard feature included in our new Angle Grinders keeps the wheel guard in place for use with depressed center grinding wheels and has a Cut-Off Guard Cover (sold separately) that can be attached for use with cut-off wheel applications where a fully enclosed semi-circular guard is required.
Q. What about ergonomic comfort for the user? Was that factored into the design of these grinders?
Yes. A key characteristic of a Compact Industrial class grinder is comfort and ergonomics. We thoroughly analyzed the comfort characteristics when designing the GA4553R/GA5053R Angle Grinders. The new angle grinders have a large paddle switch that allows for power start press points at multiple grip positions. Additionally, the barrel grip has a narrow design that allows for increased hand comfort during prolonged operation.
Q. What other features does the Makita U.S.A. Paddle Switch Angle Grinders have?
These grinders are loaded with additional features. We were informed by customers that they would be assisted with tethering options, especially when working at heights or on a lift. These Makita grinders have an integrated tethering loop at the rear end of the barrel grip which can be attached to lanyards. In addition, they have a no lock-on power switch with lock-off – this means the user cannot lock the paddle switch in the on-power position. These new grinders require two pressing actions in order to power-on the tool. The lock-off power switch is designed to prevent accidental start-ups when the tool is plugged in. And to further prevent accidental start-ups, both grinders are equipped with anti-restart protection. This feature is engineered to prevent motor start-up in the on-power switch position after a power disruption.
Q. Is the company launching any other new grinders?
As mentioned, Makita has over 30 industrial grinders, from 4-1/2 to 9-inch, and a deep engineering legacy in the category. There are more corded and cordless solutions on the way for your readers. WMHS