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Professional tools used in construction for cutting and/or bending iron rods, crimping, and cutting tools, as well as pressing tools for bending, cutting, or joining pipes, are generally operated by an electric motor. The motor transmits the force to a mechanical arm either thanks to a complex system of gears, like in bending tools for construction, or based on a hydraulic pump that uses oil as the means to transfer pressure and convert it to force/torque. The most appropriate motor type for plumbing depends on the type, model, size, and power of the equipment. Universal or induction motors are often found in heavy machinery used in the construction industry, while brushless DC (BLDC) motors are most commonly used in pistol-grip or in-line handled pressing tools, and they can be either powered by a battery pack, or plugged to the AC mains.

Key challenges

Pressing is a way to join metal pipes, that uses force/pressure to make a connection between two parts, eliminating the need to solder, and enabling fast professional repairs. It requires calibrated jaws and pressing rings to which a very tightly controlled force must be applied to ensure a perfect sealing and avoid any equipment damage. With this comes the need for certified accessories. The tool itself needs to be recalibrated after a predefined number of use cycles, which is accounted for by an internal counter, sometimes based on a Human Machine Interface. The tool is automatically disabled after the maximum number of cycles has been reached. As this information needs to be recorded and stored over time for both result quality and user safety, many plumbing tools are nowadays connected over Bluetooth® LE to mobile phones or tablets, where data on the tool usage can be stored and analyzed.


Our products and solutions

ST offers a wide range of motor control solutions to fit the large variety of motor types and power ratings found in plumbing tools. Our offering includes an extensive range of 32-bit microcontrollers equipped with a set of hardware peripherals and software development tools, including System-in-Package (SiP) solutions featuring an STM32 microcontroller and a monolithic 3-phases driver (STSPIN32 family), which are ideal for space-constrained tools such as hand-held drills. Our range of power discrete solutions, such as IGBTs, thyristors, and power MOSFETs available in several types of packages, including power modules and intelligent power modules, can contribute to making power tools lighter and more energy-efficient. In addition, our broad range of inertial and environmental MEMS sensors can also make power tools smarter and more connected.