Personal Cooling in the Hottest Work Environments

In manufacturing, workers frequently operate in hot, cramped environments. Heatstroke begins to set in when a body’s core temperature reaches 104°, resulting in fatigue, dizziness, and if untreated, loss of consciousness. To keep employees comfortable, safe, and productive, employers turn to Vortec Personal Air Conditioners (PAC).

For one marine service and equipment company, a record-breaking summer created working conditions with a persistent daily temperature of 100° F and 100% humidity. These high temperatures, along with the heat generated by several welders working in close proximity to one another, created an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe work environment.

The stationary welders below deck were working in elevated temperature environments for hours at a time. The closed-in workspace offered no natural airflow or air conditioning to dissipate heat. Frequent cooling breaks created inefficient downtime, and icepacks melted quickly in the heat. Making it difficult to provide effective continuous cooling. Without a way to keep cool, the welders were at an elevated risk of heatstroke.

The Safety and Compliance Coordinator found a safer way to care for their welders, without decreasing productivity: the Vortec Personal Air Conditioner (PAC), model 22835Paired with a Vortec yellow vest, the PAC connects to a compressed air line, allowing a full range of motion while keeping employee’s body temperature in a safe, comfortable range.

Unlike ice packs or gels, PACs provide continuous, consistent cooling, without the need for unproductive breaks or the risk of heatstroke from prolonged heat exposure. Using only a compressed air line, Vortex PACs use vortex tube technology to circulate cold air throughout the diffused air vest via its perforated inner lining. Factors that make Vortec’s Personal Air Conditioners the best solution for employee heat fatigue are:

  • Innovative Cooling Technology: With Vortex Tube Technology, compressed air is forced through a generation chamber, which spins the air at a high rate of speed (1,000,000 rpm) into a vortex. The high-speed air heats up as it spins along the inner walls of the tube toward the control valve, where a percentage of hot, high air speed is permitted to exit at the valve.                      The remainder of the now slower stream is forced to counter flow up through the center of the high-speed air stream into a second vortex. The slower moving air gives off energy and becomes cooled as it spins up the tube. The now chilled air passes through the center of the generation chamber, finally exiting through the tube into the vest as extremely cold air. 

  • Temperature Adjustment: Temperature can be adjusted via the control valve, which adjusts the percentage of hot air that is allowed to escape. The control valve is easily manipulated using safety or work gloves, and all three vest sizes (large, x-large, and xx-large) can be worn under other protective clothing, such as welding jackets.
  • Quick Connect Cables: we know that safety is a priority, especially for those using a tethered vest. If the need to detach from the compressed air line arises, wearers can do so quickly via the industrial interchange style quick-connect air coupling.  The quick-connect is placed on the side of the vest to ensure employees are always in their safest environments. 

In the example above, the Safety and Compliance Coordinator stated wearing the vests made the welders 10% more productive and allowed them to avoid unexpected downtime. The Vortec PACs provided much needed cooling where it mattered most, keeping the welder’s core body temperatures in a healthy range—despite the brutally hot work environment. The welders retained full range of motion without the need for unproductive, and unanticipated, breaktime.  

Want to know more about avoiding heat exhaustion and heatstroke? Read our blog on managing heat-related illness in the workplace here.

Leave your comment

Contact us