Last month Stanley Proto introduced a new line of electricians’ tools — over 350 different products insulated against up to 1,000 volts. The line is broken down into two “series:” the VE series which Proto says “are designed for Craftsmen who install and maintain standard electrical equipment and wiring, such as that found in buildings” and the VSE series, which “are for use around the highest live voltages, such as those found in electrical power plants.”
All the tools appear to bear the Facom name; Facom is a part of Proto’s parent company StanleyWorks, and it looks like they’ve decided that Proto will bear the insulated-tool torch, incorporating Facom’s insulated tools.
One big difference between the VE and VSE lines is that the VSE tools feature two layers of insulation, each in a different color. The idea is that if you wear (or scratch) off the top layer while working, you can see the other color underneath, indicating that it’s time to replace the tool. This is a very practical feature.
A few quick comments on the Proto press release, though: first, workers in power plants see voltage much higher than 1,000 volts. Maybe “highest voltage” isn’t the best choice of words for a 1 kV-rated tool. Also, will the VE line prove popular in a pro package? Sure, a guy at the ‘Depot might pick up a lower-quality insulated screwdriver to change light switches, but in our book, if the wire holds 1 kV, it doesn’t matter whether that’s in a building or a power plant — it’ll kill you just the same.
Of course, marketing spiel aside, there are other reasons to buy the VSE line for power plant work. They’re stamped with year and week of insulation, which helps them to meet requirements for that type of use.