The first time we saw Milwaukee One-Key tool technology was demonstrated in 2015. Since then, Bluetooth-based systems have continued to improve and mature. It offers several integrated technologies that bring brushless tools to a logical conclusion. In particular, Milwaukee One-Key offers three features: Advanced Tool Control, Job Site Reporting, and Power Tool Inventory Control (including a form of tool tracking). We'll cover all three in more detail as part of our full Milwaukee One-Click review.
Table of contents
- What is Milwaukee OneKey?
- On-Tool integrated one-click hardware
- Milwaukee Tick Tool Tracker
- Milwaukee Bluetooth Tracking Tags
- Milwaukee Property ID Tag
- Free one-click mobile and web apps
- Milwaukee One Button Power Tool Control
- How the Milwaukee One-Button Tool Control Works
- how you use it to customize your tool
- Optimizing Milwaukee One-Key Tools for Specific Fasteners
- Save custom tool configuration file
- Management Tools and People
- Manage staff with Milwaukee One-Key
- GPS tool tracking via mesh network
- Geofencing and date-based alerts
- Network location history function
- Milwaukee One-Click Inventory Management
- Inventory Dashboard
- Tool Transfer's Transfer Dashboard
- Places Tab/Dashboard
- Milwaukee One Click Tool Report
- Tool Management Report
- Inspection Verification with Milwaukee One-Click Tool Reports
- Other Milwaukee One-Key Features
- Autodesk 360 BIM Integration
- Job costing with rate sheets and reports
- Milwaukee One-Key Software and Technology Summary
- final thoughts
What is Milwaukee OneKey?
I still remember the early 80's when cordless technology was first introduced to mainstream tools. It's exciting to think that you can drill holes or drive screws without being tethered to a power cord. Li-ion batteries hit the market around 2005 and everything got better, faster, stronger, cheaper and more flexible. What people don't realize, however, is that it's brushless technology that's really bringing us into the age of "smart" tools. By using electronically commutated motors, manufacturers are now able to digitally control torque and speed (even the clutch).
Milwaukee One-Key technology leverages smart tools and a smart battery platform to enable new capabilities.
Editor's note: Check out our review of Milwaukee One-Key's practice and its updated inventory system, as well as new features for people, locations, transfers, and alerts.
The Milwaukee Tool enables one-touch operation via Bluetooth technology on the tool. The system can register new tools by simply scanning nearby tools, connecting them and automatically registering the tool type, serial number and model number. You can then give it a tool number and show you where to buy it. You can also upload receipts and store them in the cloud. Retrieving tools from the tool store is easy, and when the job is done, you can mark the tool as returned, lost or damaged.
Milwaukee Tick Tool Tracker
Milwaukee also connects tools and equipment to the One-Key through external devices such as the Milwaukee Tick Tool Tracker. Any tool missing one-click integration can be quickly added to your inventory with Milwaukee Tick. This is especially true for legacy tools and even products not made by Milwaukee Tool can be added, managed and tracked.
Milwaukee Bluetooth Tracking Tags
When most people think of "tracking tags," they think of consumer-grade products such as Apple's Airtags or Tile products. Consumers use these to locate lost keys, wallets, backpacks and more. While these products are very popular, they are not designed to withstand job site conditions and abuse. Milwaukee Bluetooth Tracking Tags are ideal for professional contractors looking to track and manage medium to high value power tools, heavy equipment, generators, ladders and lifts, trailers, and even outdoor equipment like lawn mowers, hand blowers and trimmers.
Bluetooth Tracking Tags with Milwaukee TICK
Similar to the Tick above, the Milwaukee Bluetooth Tracking Tag utilizes ONE-KEY Network and Bluetooth technology. Combined, the tag provides accurate information on the tool's last seen date, time and location when within 300 feet of any one-button device. It also lets you quickly add products to your one-click inventory management system. Each label measures only 1.9 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches.
New accelerometer adds more functionality
Additionally, while TICK offers basic Bluetooth tracking functionality for untracked items, the new Bluetooth Tracking Tags allow you to see when an item was last used/moved. This new capability, enabled by an integrated accelerometer, improves tool positioning accuracy and provides more real-time updates. In addition to being able to see when the item it's attached to was last seen by the network, users can now see when the item was last used within the past hour. You also get up to 30 days of full location history.
The accelerometer senses any motion that lasts longer than 4-6 seconds. This ensures that the accelerometer accurately measures the tool as it is being moved to a new location, not just when it is bumped or moved to the side.
Powered by an internal battery with a 3-year run time, you can set your tags once and reduce the risk of breakage associated with battery replacements. Milwaukee sells them in singles (48-21-2301 – $30), 2-packs (48-21-2302 – $50) and 10-packs (48-21-2310 – $180).
Milwaukee Property ID Tag
Tick devices are fine for devices that make sense, but what about smaller devices that don't easily fit into larger plastic battery-operated devices? For this, you have Milwaukee Property ID Tags. These QR code-like stickers are placed on tools and products, allowing you to keep track of inventory.
You can scan these with any mobile device using its integrated camera. One-click app records time and location data. Even better, you can buy them in batches of 25, 100, or 200, and the Milwaukee-made version sticks to plastic or metal surfaces. They also include fade and scratch protection.
Free one-click mobile and web apps
Users can download Milwaukee One-Key for free. Mobile software applications are available to end users through the Mac App Store or Google Play. Sorry, they haven't made a version for Nintendo Switch yet, lol.
The software also runs as a web application on the desktop – compatible with Mac and PC users. It also scales well and can target almost any size company.
It shows tool photo, manufacturer, tool description, model number, tool number and location. The app also stores useful information about the tool, such as serial number, category and purchase information (giving you the "when, where, how much" information you need). Finally, it even has access to your smartphone's camera and lets you store digital proof of purchase for each tool.
The first thing the Milwaukee ONE-KEY does is provide advanced digital tool control. Years ago, I remember one of our media friends asking , "So, if Milwaukee can digitally control power, torque, speed, and clutch function—when can we take advantage of those controls ourselves?" Close nervous, declined to comment. milwaukee ONE-KEY was released shortly thereafter.
It turns out — Milwaukee is already working on the technology. While the tool control portion of the technology debuted in January 2016, the Milwaukee One-Key finally enables users to take advantage of their tools and customize and configure them to their specific needs.
how milwaukee One-key tool control engineering
ONE-KEY connects users to their tools, but also connects those tools and products to a cloud-based information network. The system can help individual users—even tool store administrators—track hundreds of products. It's all possible because Milwaukee has developed lithium-ion cordless tools from the ground up. Milwaukee doesn't just make Bluetooth Smart batteries, it has been "overinvesting" in its tool electronics and battery electronics. With smart batteries and smart tools, they have opened the door for this technology.
The One-Key iOS or Android app actually connects to the tool using Bluetooth technology. Once connected, you can set up and customize the different tool modes accessible on the configuration tool. These are the modes that used to simply mean low speed, medium speed and high speed/torque. You can now customize RPM (speed), torque, trigger acceleration time, and whether to use torque control to stop the rig/driver. You can also toggle modes like precision and auto-stop on tools that support these features. You can even customize the behavior of the LED light (always on, always off, delay off, etc.).
how you use it to customize your tool
So how does this benefit you and how can you use it to customize your tools? Here is an example. If you're fastening to metal, you may want to increase the rate of rise of the trigger to help prevent the self-tapping screw from wandering when activated. Or, you can adjust the impact driver's attack, drive, and end speeds—helping you better protect your fasteners, but giving you power when you need it.
For drills, you can set a maximum RPM speed for low and high speeds. You can even enable kickback control, determining how hard the tool must engage before the kickback protection shuts it off.
Milwaukee says this is just the beginning.
The possibilities that One-Key brings to the job site seem endless. Once you get into digitally controlled power tools, the ability to customize and program seems destined to grow and evolve. For the first time, tools may offer consumers more and more features, even years after you bought them!
Optimizing Milwaukee One-Key Tools for Specific Fasteners
You might think hand tool customization is the end, however, Milwaukee also started messing with how their tools interacted with specific fasteners. You can custom configure one-click tools to allow users to use predetermined settings for specific fasteners and materials. Let's use the Milwaukee Gen3 impact driver as an example:
In addition to customizing the speed and torque of the tool, you can even select the self-tapping screw mode. You now have the option to set the screw diameter and length, as well as the type of screw head and gauge you intend to drive in. This takes things to a whole new level when it comes to training new users who may not have years of experience in the construction industry.
Save custom tool configuration file
Once you find settings you like, you can save them to your system through the app. Now, you don't need to turn on the One-Key again to access these custom modes – they're just hard buttons assigned to the tool. You just call them up on the tool and you can switch back and forth between these saved profiles as needed. Consider the following possibilities:
- Set the torque control to stop the impact driver when the fastener hits the metal
- Start with slow acceleration speeds, fast run speeds, and eventually deceleration for sunken drywall screws
- Programmable quick start and steady drive with torque control off for driving self-tapping screws into steel columns, purlins or sheet metal
I once tested a Milwaukee one-button impact driver on a commercial power strip. On this app alone, customization makes perfect sense. First, we fasten the outlet box to the steel post – this requires self-tapping screws. We then used Tapcons (another great app) to attach the panel itself to the cinder block. Finally, we used MC cables and EMTs fixed to steel columns to lay the conduits.
Manage staff with Milwaukee One-Key
The Milwaukee One-Key not only manages your tool pool, it also manages your people. The People Dashboard lets you add, delete, move and manage your employees. This includes contact information, assigned tools, and job site assignments. It will display recent and historical tool transfers so you can manage your entire team from a one-click interface.
GPS tool tracking via mesh network
The Milwaukee One-Key app includes integrated tool tracking. This feature lets you keep track of your tools just by pulling out your phone. Integrated Tool Tracking technology works using two fundamental principles:
- Tools and Ticks includes a coin cell battery to keep track even when the tool battery is not plugged in
- One-click shows where (and when) you last saw a specific one-click tool
- Enabled one-button tool location updates when the one-button app comes within 100 feet of a reported lost one-button tool
- Permission to these features is requested when you initially install the Milwaukee One-Key app on your smartphone
It's not a GPS, but it does work efficiently due to its large user base. The system uses Bluetooth to connect to the app, but a large number of users have created a kind of mesh network that allows the tools to be tracked even without batteries plugged in. Currently, Milwaukee claims more than 5 million tool location updates per day.
Geofencing and date-based alerts
Geofencing is now available in one click. Geofencing systems allow you to set virtual boundaries. If your one-click tool strays from it, the one-click app will alert you.
The Milwaukee One-Key app also includes access to tool location history. They also add a deeper and comprehensive project history for more context on where your tool has been during its use in the field.
The alerts dashboard contains all service reminders, warnings and geofence alerts. It contains everything you need to manage your personnel and inventory. It also acts as a "lost and found" for tracked tools. You can mark reminders as read or unread, and even recall and delete reminders for up to 30 days.
Network location history feature
Beginning with software version 8.6, Milwaukee Tool adds location history functionality to the web application. You can now see a timeline of where your items have been for the past 30 days since they were last viewed. They also deployed the ability to set a date range for the location history data you want to drill down into.
In software versions 8.8 and 8.9, Milwaukee One-Key plans to improve the process of adding items to inventory in the future. For example, they plan to optimize the system to take advantage of the Milwaukee combo kit. They also wanted to make it easier to connect and add multiple one-click compatible tools at the same time .
Milwaukee One-Click Inventory Management
Today, tool inventories can exist as primitive paper systems, spreadsheets, or even as expensive custom software programs. Milwaukee One-Key lets you share and update inventory across multiple levels – and it's free. The intended goal of developing this software is to help organizations work faster with higher productivity. Milwaukee designs software for organizations ranging from sole proprietors to 1000 employees.
Take, for example, a tool that is not on the job site (but needs to be), such as a compressor. Tool library managers will have to hunt around and bring tools to the job site. A $150 tool could delay your entire job. Milwaukee sees this as a "single source of truth" for end users. Considering that 75-80% of contractors have 10 or fewer contractors, management tools are an important part of reducing overhead waste. Why procrastinate on work or buy unnecessary tools when you don't need them?
The Milwaukee One-Key Inventory web software received a major update in July 2019. They have redesigned the entire interface to maximize the organization of your inventory. It also includes a tablet-friendly browser for easy access when you're away from your desk. With Milwaukee one-click inventory management software, everything is there in the event of a theft or other event that causes you to need that information to report the tool.
Tool Transfer's Transfer Dashboard
In the transfers dashboard, you can monitor tool and product transfers across your organization. This central location is important because you can make transfers from multiple locations within the app, including inventory, locations, or the crew dashboard. The Transfer dashboard lets you recall all recent transfers between People or Places. You can also view all transfers stored in your transfer history.
The Milwaukee One-Key Places tab gives you several ways to manage your work locations and track checkout tools. In Places, you can create places for where your people and tools are used or stored. A location can be a project, job, vehicle, or tool library (your "home base"). The dashboard allows you to view the total number of projects, number of locations, and type of location. You can also search. Milwaukee makes adding places easy, you name the place and add details. You can even add a person to be in charge of the place. For vehicles, you can add details like VIN, make and model. Everything can be searched and filtered.
The system includes maps, photos and grids that allow you to search, sort and track your inventory and tools quickly and easily. It's a powerful system that can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.
Tool reporting lets users and job site managers wirelessly sync with a web-based application through which users can upload tool data and history to track the success and timing of things like electrical terminations and other crimping or crimping actions. The software can handle daily uploads, and even weekend (or end of work – though less helpful) uploads.
You can use Milwaukee One-Key software to create custom reports that tell you exactly what you need to know. This also helps you spot potential problems before you leave the job site. The Milwaukee One-Key program also helps track tool utilization and service intervals to maximize uptime and keep inventories lean. Got a Milwaukee Force Logic tool that was taken out of the crib but not used in the last week or so? Now you can recycle it and put it back into service instead of leaving it sitting idle on the job site.
Tool Management Report
What was formerly known as the Inventory Report has been simplified and improved. You can now build more powerful inventory reports to manage tools and equipment. The system now allows you to share important information between team members, inspectors and customers.
You can view the reports within the application and even download them as PDF files like the example above.
Inspection Verification with Milwaukee One-Click Tool Reports
Inspectors are now required to confirm electrical connections by inspection. This can be a very manual (and, let's be honest, rather vague) process. The Milwaukee One-Key can download, extract and provide reports in seconds, verifying your crimps and connections like never before. This feature is available on Force Logic hydraulics and punch tools, as well as certain torque wrenches.
Force Logic records the date time and the number of cycles the tool reached full pressure. Simultaneously, project managers can remotely view synchronized information from the job site (all tools are checked in on site). You can create custom job reports including logging any incidents, Milwaukee One Click Hydraulics Reporting includes access to CSV downloads of your reports.
You can also see when tools are being used and which tools require maintenance.
For torque tools like the Milwaukee M12 FUEL Torque Wrench, you can record torque events on the tool as you work. Later, you can upload the data to One-Key to collect all this information and generate a PDF report. You can sort and select by date range, tool, or any number of filters.
Other Milwaukee One-Key Features
Autodesk 360 BIM Integration
For advanced commercial use, Milwaukee One-Key has several key partners to extend the use of its tool tracking and reporting. This includes integration with Autodesk Construction Cloud's BIM 360 construction management software. This integration allows customers to seamlessly share information between the two software systems. Integration should enhance asset tracking, project management and reporting. It ties together key project information to further inform asset management.
When users link a OneKey account with their BIM 360 account, they can directly import master records such as projects and contacts into OneKey. This allows them to keep the two systems in sync.
What Milwaukee's 1-Click BIM integration does:
- Integration of Milwaukee's OneKey and Autodesk's BIM 360
- Synchronize contact information and file information
- Upload One-Click Digital Torque Reports to BIM 360 Docs
For example, Milwaukee M12 FUEL digital torque wrench users can upload torque reports directly to BIM 360 Docs from one click. This digitally syncs torque quality data from the field to the background. Users should expect similar reporting capabilities integrated with other tools from Milwaukee Tool.
Job costing with rate sheets and reports
The Milwaukee One-Key Job Costing feature allows you to accomplish several convenient tasks using the One-Key software. You can assign daily rents to various tools in your inventory.
Transferring these tools to the job site will cause One-Key to calculate an accrued cost for each day that these items are used on site. You can use this job costing feature at multiple job sites at the same time.
Milwaukee One-Click Job Costing lets you:
- Assign daily and weekly rentals to tools in inventory
- Apply these rates to one or more one-click-created projects/jobs
- Add a smart table that automatically calculates rates for you
- Generate reports showing accrued rent for tools and sites over different time periods
Milwaukee One-Key Software and Technology Summary
So what does Milwaukee One-Key Technology mean to your company? It means many things – potential things. First, you can start using the free one-click inventory management software as early as September 2015. Next, you can consider what benefits "smart" tools mean for productivity on the job site. If you have issues with consistency, repeatability, or speed, the Milwaukee One-Key can really elevate your game. It automates many tool functions that used to have to be done "by feel". It can also add features that simply aren't available without digital control.
The Milwaukee One-Key tool with tool control is slightly more expensive. It promises to make up for this in terms of production savings and tooling flexibility. If you're a home user, this might be a novelty. But if you drive fasteners all day, or if you're managing a team of electricians who use utility crimpers, the One-Key could fundamentally change your life for the better.
As more and more tools use Milwaukee One-Key technology, we expect there will be even more reasons to love the customization this app brings to the job site.
Previously, the manufacturer's plan was to make tools suitable for the widest possible audience. Now, it's blown out of the water. With the Milwaukee One-Key, you can dial in tools for specific job types. Take the Milwaukee M18 Fuel impact driver, for example. It comes with four pre-configured speeds – but now you can customize these to suit your needs. The same tool can be configured for use by an electrician, MRO professional, plumber or HVAC technician.
These tools are smart, and they will make professionals more productive. By allowing custom acceleration, drive and deceleration speeds, and torque control, the Milwaukee requires little of you to do more than pull the trigger and get the job done.