The problem with batteries is that they need to be charged. The problem with charging is that it takes too long. Festool’s new Airstream batteries address the latter of those problems.
Wanting faster recharging times is nothing new, says Rick Bush, director of product marketing for Festool. But it’s a challenge that’s been tough for manufacturers to solve. The problem, as Bush explains it, is that when you up the amperage of a charger to increase charging speed, you also increase the rapidity with which the charging battery will overheat. Festool’s solution to the problem is Airstream. The trick is in the name.
“To be able to charge the battery faster without overheating, we had to come up with an active cooling system that forces a stream of cool air through the battery,” Bush says, adding that while the idea to cool a battery is not new, the way Festool goes about it is.
Other cooling systems draw air in through the charger and force it into the battery, which means that if the charger is warm, so then will the air being used to cool the battery. Festool’s system pulls in ambient air through the battery itself, and has a dedicated channel to allow the cooler air to pass directly between the battery’s cells. According to Bush and company, those innovations result in a 60 percent reduction in charge time compared with typical charger-battery pack combos (and that takes both cooling and charging times into account).
“If you compare a non-Airstream battery charger and battery pack versus the Airstream charger and battery,” Bush says, “the overall charging time is reduced from 110 minutes to 40 minutes.”
Additional features of Airstream products include a countdown timer on the SCA 8 charger indicating battery readiness, and LED battery-level indicators on the batteries themselves to alert the user to remaining capacity.