Keeping veteran employees cool and healthy under hot conditions

Vortec’s Personal Air Conditioners (PAC’s) make high-temperature work environments more comfortable and healthy for workers at DRS Technologies


Company Overview

DRS Technologies works with a wide range of commercial and governmental clients, including the US Department of Defense, providing mobile and stationary refrigeration systems and decontamination systems, or as they like to call them “pressure washers on steroids.” The 35-year old firm, which has facilities in Florence KY and Cincinnati OH, has been listed on Military Times EDGE magazine’s annual “Best for Vets: Employers” list.


The Challenge

Providing a healthy work environment for their employees, many of whom are veterans, is a high priority for DRS. Therefore, the company management team was concerned about the conditions in DRS’s paint booths. These facilities handle painting and coating of steel, aluminum sub-assemblies, and weldments. The structure of these buildings makes air conditioning cost prohibitive. Still, the management team wanted to generate environmental improvement that would enhance the working conditions, helping to reduce the effects of working during hot Midwest summers.

The employees working in the paint booths already wore air-cooled helmets, but this left the rest of their bodies vulnerable to the heat. DRS was employing a temporary solution to the heat issue by using area fans and having paint booth employees take frequent breaks, during which they were supplied with cold Gatorade. However, the Management Team knew they needed a more reliable way of keeping workers cool. “Our employees’ health and well-being is very important. We didn’t want anyone to suffer heat stress. One of the employees in this area is over 50, and we particularly wanted to improve the environment for him.”

In conducting an online search for personal cooling products, the Manufacturing Engineer found Vortec’s website. “It was obvious to me that what Vortec offered was an entirely different level of body cooling compared to what other companies were selling. The other firms had products which either required a power supply or used ice which would melt quickly in the paint booths, neither of which were viable solutions.”


The Solution

The Manufacturing Engineer contacted Vortec Engineering Manager Steve Broerman, who visited DRS’s Kentucky facility to gain a comprehensive view of the company’s cooling needs. Broerman also brought demonstration models of the Vortec model 22835 PAC. The ME recalls that “The operators really liked the effects of the vest from the first time they tried the model units Steve brought. They were able to work for much longer stretches of time and still feel comfortable.”


The Result

Based on rave reviews from workers who used the demo models of the Vortec PAC’s, DRS purchased two vests for their facility in Kentucky. Less than one month after seeing the positive effects on employee satisfaction and productivity, DRS decided to purchase an additional two vests for the remaining workers in their Kentucky facility. They are currently evaluating the possibility of additional units for their Ohio location.

The Manufacturing Engineer notes, “I had a very good experience with Vortec. Their Personal Air Conditioners do exactly what they say, and I found Vortec’s personnel to be extremely helpful. Working with Vortec is a very beneficial relationship for our company.”



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