Vortec Personal Air Conditioning Vests (PACs) circulate cool air to minimize temperature-related stress and fatigue, thus improving comfort and productivity. They are available as a Cooling Only or a Dual Action PAC (pictured), which switches quickly from cold to hot, to provide comfort in all seasons.
According to OSHA Emergency Preparedness Guidelines, workers can be exposed to heat stress when their deep internal core temperature rises higher than 100.4°F. In addition to high air temperatures, culprits for inducing heat stress can include high humidity, radiant heat sources, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities.
Vortec Personal Air Conditioning Vests have two components:
- A cooling/heating tube with belt that generates cold and/or hot air to provide airflow to the worker
- A diffuse cooling vest through which the cold or hot air flows to cool the worker’s torso
Vortex tubes are a compact source of refrigeration and cooling, with models ranging from 6″ to 13″ long and cooling capacities ranging from 100 BTU/hour to 6,000 BTU/hour (29 watts to 1,757 watts). A vortex tube does not have any moving parts and requires no electrical connection at the cooling site. The tubes cool instantly, relying on compressed air spinning in the tube to separate the air into cold and hot air streams. Performance is easily adjustable by changing the inlet air pressure, ratio of cool air to exhaust, or by changing the generator in the tube itself. And while normally used for cooling, vortex tubes can also be used for heating applications, merely by channeling the exhaust hot air to the application.
How PACs Create Cold Air
Fluid (air) that rotates around an axis (like a tornado) is called a vortex. A Vortex Tube creates cold air by forcing compressed air 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. A percentage of hot, high-speed air is permitted to exit at the valve. The remainder of the (now slower) air stream is forced to counter flow up through the center of the high-speed air stream in a second vortex. The slower moving air gives up energy in the form of heat and becomes cooled as it spins up the tube. The chilled air passes through the center of the generation chamber finally exiting through the opposite end as extremely cold air. Vortex Tubes generate temperatures down to 100°F below inlet air temperatures. The control valve located in the hot exhaust end can be used to adjust the temperature drop and rise for all Vortex Tubes.
PACs are available in different cooling capacities and models. The Dual Action PAC 29625 has a cooling capacity of 900 BTU/hr with air consumption of 25 @ 100 psig (pounds per square inch gage) and 29635 has a cooling capacity of 1140 BTU/hr with air consumption of 35 @ 100 psig. The Cooling Only PAC 22815 has a cooling capacity of 900 BTU/hr with air consumption of 15 @ 100 psig, 22825 has a cooling capacity of 1,500 BTU/hr with air consumption of 25 @ 100 psig, and 22835 has a cooling capacity of 2,500 BTU/hr with air consumption of 35 @ 100 psig.
All Personal Air Conditioning models can achieve temperature differentials of +/- 45°F to 60°F from the inlet compressed air temperature using the vortex tube technology. The Dual Action PAC can be switched from one mode to the other by rotating the tube and swapping the muffler from one end to the other. The cooling only models are adjustable by the worker using an integral temperature adjust knob. All PAC models are supplied with an adjustable waist belt and an Industrial Interchange style quick connect for attachment to the compressed air supply
The diffuse air vest is available in three sizes (plus a vest extension) and provides continuous cooled or heated air through its perforated inner lining. It is made of an abrasion resistant, flame retardant vinyl laminated nylon that is self-extinguishing and has a melting point of 300°F. The durable plasticized PVC vest allows full range of motion with no airflow restrictions and does not absorb sweat or other contaminants. Body cooling vests can also be worn under other protective clothing.
Personal Air Conditioning models are suitable for a variety of applications including foundries, welding operations, steel mills, sand blasting, power plants, mines, refrigerated lockers, shipyards, boiler rooms, and unconditioned warehouses.