CoolTek work wear reduces effects of heat stress; Increases productivity in heat-related environments
Heat Relief Products Int’l, Inc., a Cleveland-based textile manufacturer and distributor, has rolled out a line of protective clothing for industrial and consumer applications that reduce the body’s core temperature and provide long-lasting relief from the effects of heat stress commonly experienced by individuals working in heat-related environments.
Heat Relief Products high performance line of CoolTek apparel includes lightweight vests, hoods, helmet liners, skull caps, baseball caps, coveralls, bodysuits, blankets, headbands, neckbands and wristbands – all designed to protect end users from the damaging physical effects of heat while providing maximum comfort.
The company also has produced a line of fire retardant apparel that includes foundry mitts, slip-on glove covers and welders sleeves, vests, bodysuits and helmet liners that are designed for professionals working under the presence or threat of fire. The CoolTek line of fire resistant apparel is coated with Nomex, a flame protection fiber developed and manufactured by DuPont Advanced Fibers Systems.
The material behind the CoolTek product line is a newly developed composite fabric known as Hydroweave. This recently patented fabric is made up of three quilted layers, including an outer shell made of cotton fabric; an inner core of polyester fiberfill imbedded with water absorbing polymer; and an inner liner fabric made with a breathable film laminated to cotton or high-density nylon.
When immersed in cold water for three to five minutes, the product will retain its coolness and allow water vapors to penetrate and cool the body without allowing any water to pass through. The cooling effect reduces the body’s core temperature and allows the wearer to remain in a high heat stress environment for longer periods of time, or cool down faster before re-entering the heat stressed workplace.
Upon activation, the CoolTek product’s cooling effects can last up to eight hours when utilized as an outer garment or up to four hours as an undergarment, depending on its end use application and the environment in which the garment is worn.
The Hydroweave fabric features a patented fiberfill technology that consistently out-performs similar "cool-wear" garments by providing longer-lasting cool-body comfort. The fabric absorbs a finite amount of water, which makes the CoolTek product incredibly lightweight (the CoolTek vest weighs 11 ounces dry and less than 20 ounces once activated). Competing product lines use granular polymer that can absorb an infinite amount of water, resulting in heavy, wet usage. Other obsolete cool-wear products utilize ice- or gel-packed vests which can cause skin damage, or air-conditioned suits and capillary suits which are bulky or leave the wearer drenched.
The Hydroweave fabric was developed by Thomas and Scott Bumbarger, a father and son team who founded AquaTex Industries, Inc., a Decatur, Alabama research company specializing in industrial textiles. The two inventors, who once worked as tailors for the Army, have spent more than two years assessing their product in field and laboratory tests in conjunction with the military and through a multitude of industrial applications testing. The base composite fabric received U.S. patent approval in March 1999.
"The industrial and consumer applications for CoolTek products are virtually limitless," commented Heat Relief Products president Mark Kovachy. "We’ve tested the product on various professionals who work in heat related environments such as firefighters, assembly line workers, military personnel, metal foundry workers, race car drivers, hunters – even professional athletes and spectators who have to endure sitting through sun-baked sporting events. The response has been remarkable and incredibly positive."
Kovachy went on to comment on the impact his company’s product line could have on employee output, saying a reduction in heat stress decreases fatigue often experienced by workers in heat-related jobs. "We’ve discovered that the use of CoolTek products in heat-related workplaces can result in as much as a 20% improvement in worker productivity," he commented. "In one test – a nuclear power plant which had no air-conditioning and where workers had to endure temperatures in excess of 100 degrees – employees wearing the CoolTek vest showed a 40% increase in productivity, since they could work longer before having to take rest breaks."
The company is in the process of developing applications for the CoolTek line in the agricultural and medical fields, and is applying the product overseas under international testing standards. "We’ve received inquiries from farmers who work on non air-conditioned tractors and orchard and field workers interested in the CoolTek line," said Kovachy. "And surprisingly enough, we’ve even generated a database of requests from multiple sclerosis patients who have discovered our website and say the product could be the answer to easing the heat intolerance suffered by MS patients."
Tyler Wright contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
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