Like hammers and pliers, screwdrivers are one of the basic tools in every workshop. However, unlike hammers and pliers, which have been in use since pre-historic times, screwdrivers are a relatively recent invention and first came into use only in the late middle ages for one specific object – the screw.
Just as screwdrivers are specialist tools, German Felo Werkzeugfabrik is a specialist in screwdrivers and bits. Its history dates back to the foundation of Hammermühle (hammer mill) in the state of Thuringia in 1878. This factory specialised in the manufacture of hammers, pliers and screwdrivers. In 1950 the company relocated to Neustadt, changing its name to Felo.
The family business grew and supplied its products to many countries in the world, mainly Europe and the Americas, and its first US patents were granted as early as the 1930s. Through the years the principle goal of the founders was carried on from generation to generation: To produce tools of the best quality and with the most innovative features – with all process and production parts under one roof.
For many years the handles of screwdrivers were made of wood or even metal, both of which needed elaborate machining. In the 1950s the use of plastic, as cellulose acetate, proved a giant step forward in ergonomics.
Developed and produced in Germany
Today the development department of Felo works alongside the in-house tool and dies department to improve product lines and realise new product ideas. Many of the machines in use at Felo were designed and built in-house. For high performance tools production process reliability is very important. “This ensures that decisive quality features of our products exceed DIN and ISO requirements by up to 100% and that we are able to produce almost every customised solution of bits and screwdrivers,” explains Martin Holland-Letz, CEO of Felo Werkzeugfabrik.
State of the art machines guarantee compliance with Felo’s quality standards and cost-effectiveness. Test systems exceeding current international standards ensure the superiority of many Felo products and help to document continuous quality improvement.
Automated industrial production methods gave rise to the demand for screw bits to be used with power tools or inserted into stationary assembly line machinery, which is why Felo offers a wide range of standard and special bits.
Bits coated with extremely hard titanium nitrate were another Felo first in 1989. The range also includes industrial bits catering for all types of screws and fasteners in daily use. All the ranges are offered in various lengths, from 25mm to 500mm, plus an extra slim option to fit the various heads.
To complete the bit usage, special bit holders were created such as the Felo 4Impact bit holder, with a 3 step torque absorption cascade that significantly extends the life of even standard bits when used with impact drivers. The Felo Star automatic holder also holds bits and screws, speeding up fastening operation. It virtually does away with dropped screws and provides extra safety in difficult working positions.
Through the years Felo has applied for and has been granted more than 260 patents and industrial property rights. Further Felo innovations include exchangeable blade systems for electricians, torque limiting screwdrivers, and multiple refinements of the screwdriver handle.
ERGONIC® – best in test 2018
Intensive research in the late 1980s led to a handle shape that became a market leader in ergonomics. The addition of a second rubbery material provided unprecedented grip and comfort and resulted in the first two component handles on screwdrivers. A new era in ergonomics was inaugurated with the introduction of ERGONIC®, the first adaptable screwdriver handle. Through a special injection moulding process, cells of a highly flexible gel are embedded in the handle allowing it to adapt to the pressure of the working hand, screwdriver handle and the user’s hand interlock. This provides optimal torque transmission and work comfort. ERGONIC is a worldwide unique tool, patented for Felo and produced by Felo in Neustadt.
Today Felo has more than 140 years of experience in the production of screwdrivers and bits, supplying 2,000 stocked items – and a multitude of customised tools – to more than 40 countries in the world.
“Felo has become a renowned world leader in screwdrivers and bits, carrying quality and innovation in its corporate DNA and handing it down to every new generation. Felo never stands still – we are always on the lookout for better and smarter tools.”
Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.
Claire prides herself on keeping readers well informed and up to date with the latest industry news.