The Festool service workshop
One long-reach sander, one fault, one solution: Festool's service workshop. A somewhat unusual type of field report.
As if by magic, the Systainer opens and a dazzling light shines towards me. Was that it? Is my service life over after just under a decade? A man with a dark-blue t-shirt casts a critical eye over me. What does he want from me? Normally I'd simply be taken out of the Systainer, assembled and put straight to work. Walls are my speciality. I am committed to sanding them to perfection. I simply can't stand unevenness. I attach myself using my vacuum function and use all of my sanding power to eliminate this problem. I try to put my thoughts in order. The only thing I can remember is that I was being used on a construction site. I was sanding – thanks to the power of the Festool mobile dust extractor connected to me – with a healthy 210 millibar vacuum over a gloriously uneven, rough concrete surface. That's where the memory comes to an abrupt end. I am a Planex tool, manufactured in 2009 in Neidlingen, southern Germany. The Systainer clicks shut. I'm being carried away.
A few minutes later, the Systainer lid is opened again. A different man wearing a blue shirt takes a look at me and lifts me out. He must be a service engineer from my family! But instead of switching me on, he carefully appraises me from all sides. His shirt has the same green lettering as my housing: "Festool". There is a plunge-cut saw nearby. The type plate reveals it to be a "Festool TSC 55 EBQ". Clearly a cordless plunge-cut saw. Let me tell you a secret: I'm suspicious of cordless tools. Working entirely without a cord or power from the mains; how is that supposed to work? On the other hand, it's mobile and not attached to anything, and it's full of verve thanks to two 18 volt battery packs. Before I can ask it what's wrong with it, the tool is carried away. The man with the blue shirt picks me up by my long neck. He speaks to his colleague, who is in the process of disassembling a Kapex KS 88. I hear only two scraps of conversation: "Ice" and "...get it really clean first."
"Well-being at minus 78 degrees"
Soon after, it becomes clear to me what "ice" has to do with "cleaning". A gun-shaped thing is pointing directly at my neck. I hear hissing! Ice-cold air shoots out at high pressure, peeling plaster and dust residue off my housing like scales. Just dreadful! The man with the gun obviously sees things differently. He's smiling and talking to a colleague about, "well-being at minus 78 degrees," saying that, "nothing beats dry ice." In fact, just a few moments later, my outer skin feels the smoothest it's been for a really long time. He takes his finger off the trigger mechanism and the ice storm abates. Although there's still some bits of plaster left on my narrow long-reach body, I'm much cleaner than before! I breathe a sigh of relief. The people here seem to know what they're doing … the only question is what's next?
Performing a root cause analysis
A moment later I find myself on a trolley. I'm obviously not just here to be cleaned, that much is certain, especially since this cordless drill started prodding around at my screws. I hear whirring. I recognise that sound: Clearly a Festool cordless drill, a CXS in first gear at around 400 rpm. Going by its appearance, it's a really young specimen. The tool's owner seems to know exactly what he wants; my external recessed handle is loosened screw by screw. A draft blows through my extraction channel, my transmission housing is opened...
No gear, no drive
„It's the gear!" says the man with a triumphant grin. I should have known! I had been lacking in drive lately. Despite my brand-new abrasive paper, I wasn't able to exert my full power on walls. The reason for this is clear now: Over time, the gear had become worn. No wonder; after all, I was being used continuously throughout all of last year and worked on walls and ceilings for many dozens of hours. The man looks really happy now. He takes a new gear from the shelf behind me. He fits it using a special machine and attaches a new seal. The whirring starts up again and a short while later, all my screws are back in position. Such a good feeling!
Planex under pressure
A few seconds ago, I was attached to some kind of blackbox. A man scans me with a cable – I've no idea what he's doing. Ah I see, he's comparing the values on the display. Then he puts a sticker on my head: "VDE and DGUV tested" to show that I have undergone the relevant testing. That's just great, am I supposed to go around with this sticker on my front when I'm sanding? He is murmuring something about, "... should do it every year." If he carries on like this, I'll hit the roof! But I'm given no further reason to be annoyed. Suddenly, a familiar round part is placed directly on my sanding pad and a mobile dust extractor starts up. A vacuum builds up. "There we go! 210 millibars; it's working again!" proclaims the man triumphantly, before picking me up by the neck and returning me to the Systainer. Once the lid is closed, my irritation begins to fade – I feel just as good as I did on the first day! Was the man right in the end? Was the torment actually just a well-being treatment? Whatever, I'm just looking forward to my next sanding task!