Keeping Welders Cool

Respiratory equipment uses Vortec’s personal air conditioners

ArcOne manufactures and distributes personal protective equipment for industrial welders including auto-darkening welding helmets, safety glasses & goggles and respiratory protection products. The firm, founded in 1992, has developed a reputation for innovative technology through expert in-house design and engineering. Its technologically advanced products have made this Taunton, MA-based company a leader in providing high-quality products that meet welders’ needs. In addition to its dominant presence in the North American market, ArcOne is also one of the most highly respected names in welding protective equipment in Europe.

The Challenge

Jim Watkins, Engineering Manager at ArcOne, has directed the development of new product lines for the company since 2003. He oversees all facets of creating new products from R&D to engineering and quality control. The ArcOne team developed a concept for personal supplied air respirators for welders to use as cooling sources.

“Previously,” notes Watkins, “welders did not have cooling systems although they often work in very hot environments—either outdoors or in shops without air conditioning. Our familiarity with this marketplace told us that they needed a product that would significantly enhance working conditions. In concert with ITW Vortec, we developed a design for a product which would enable the exhaust of hot air away from the user while bringing cool air into the helmet.” To manufacture and market their Supplied Air Respirators (SARs), ArcOne needed a lightweight personal air conditioner (PAC).

ArcOne’s design for an air-cooled helmet involves high pressure compressed air entering a PAC where it is converted into a low pressure cold air stream which cools the worker and also a low pressure hot air stream which is exhausted. The welder can adjust the cold air stream’s temperature and flow volume by turning a knob at the end of the PAC. A short hose connects the outlet of the PAC to the respirator’s helmet or hard hat. The cold air flows through the short hose from the PAC into the helmet via the air hose.

A very important stipulation was that the air the user inhales must meet the requirements set forth by NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). The air passes through Arc One’s filtration panel, to ensure the air meets NIOSH standards. The hot air stream fromthe PAC exhausts into the environment rather than recycled into the helmet. To bring this new helmet design to fruition, ArcOne needed an air products company capable of understanding and working with these complex specifications.

The Solution

ArcOne chose Vortec to supply the high-performance PAC the company needed to bring their vision of an air-cooled welder’s helmet to the market. “Vortec was very responsive to our needs, helping us match the correct generator for the product we wanted to create”, Watkins states. “They assisted us in qualifying the product to meet regulatory standards. As a result of our affiliation with them, we were able to put a high-quality product for our customers on the market in a relatively short period from the initial concept to commercialization. We have very high standards here for our technology, and Vortec was able to meet us on our level. Their products offer high performance which helps ensure the product we offer to our customers meets our benchmark for excellence.” ArcOne, like other Vortec clients, benefits from Vortec’s 10-year product warranty.

Conclusion

“Without a doubt, if we develop further product lines requiring air products, we will turn to Vortec,” saysWatkins. “I highly recommend them, for the excellence of their engineering as well as their ability to grasp and meet unique customer needs.”

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