It’s noon on a hot summer day, and your workers are starting to feel the heat. They are required to wear their hard hat for protection, yet workers are tempted to remove it because temperatures inside the hat can rise up to 40°F above ambient temperature, causing a sort of greenhouse-like effect. This is where a WorkFlow™ Hardhat Cooling System can pay dividends.
Available from Workflow Industrial Products LLC, Redding, Calif., the WorkFlow system is designed to reduce the heat inside a worker’s hard hat through evaporative cooling. By doing so, the lightweight hard hat attachment not only increases worker safety, but it can also improve productivity and quality of work life, suggests Nicholas Webb, president and CEO of Workflow.
“The purpose of creating WorkFlow wasn’t just to blow air in a hard hat,” says Webb, an inventor and former CEO of Micro Dynamics Medical and SunMedica Inc., as well as a founding partner of Nupak Medical and Talon Medical. “Studies show that when an employee is uncomfortable, or miserable, bad things happen â€” they don’t make the best decisions, and their safety becomes more at-risk.”
Moving heat out
Using an impeller-type fan that draws air into the back of the hard hat and accelerates the air into an exhaust tube that goes inside the hat, the WorkFlow system “foils the greenhouse effect” inside a worker’s hard hat, according to Webb. “The human body sweats to allow ambient air blowing across the sweat to physically remove the heat away from the body. You can’t kill heat; you’ve got to move it, and you move it through evaporation,” he says. This is the idea behind the WorkFlow cooling system.
The WorkFlow, which can be retrofitted to any hard hat, both short- and long-brimmed, and works with bump caps, accelerates air quickly through the crush space of the hat, so that hot moist air is rapidly evacuated out of that space, making it feel like air-conditioned air is coming into the hard hat.
The high-volume, microprocessor-controlled fan uses a rechargeable lithium ion battery, which allows the unit to operate all day long. A variety of mode settings, including an AutoFlow function that turns the unit on for one minute and off for four minutes, enable the fan to optimize the process of evaporative cooling. This also extends the unit’s duty cycle to at least one full day, or in some cases two or three days. The unit can also operate in continuous mode.
“The goal is to bring the temperature inside the hard hat to ambient temperature and ambient humidity,” explains Webb.
Similar to the way a light is attached to a hard hat, WorkFlow features an industrial strap, weighs only 10 ounces, and is made of high-impact plastic.
In addition to the WorkFlow™ Hardhat Cooling System, the company is also launching WorkFlow ToGo, a lighter weight version of the cooling system, weighing just six ounces and utilizing a two-battery system instead of four.
A third product, the ProAir, has been developed in partnership with Salisbury and is designed for use with a flash hood. ProAir combines a WorkFlow unit with an inlet snorkel that not only provides cool air inside the flash hood but also allows more oxygenated air into the hood.
Looking for distributors
According to Webb, the company, which has filed multiple patents and began shipping WorkFlow products in April, hopes to achieve $30 million in annual sales between the three products.
Workflow Industrial Products is looking to set up a national network of distributors, says Webb. “Our target is the institutional buyer. We don’t sell the product direct. We are looking for more distributors. Any safety distributor can call us and we’ll set them up.”
Distributors receive materials that explain the science and technology behind the WorkFlow Hardhat Cooling System. And Workflow offers high-end point-of-presentation packaging, giving dealers high-impact displays that they can present to customers during the hot seasons, says Webb.
Workflow Industrial Products LLC, www.coolhardhat.com, (877) 406-4501
SUPPLIER PROFILE: With WorkFlow™ system, cooler heads prevail
May 1, 2007