The sole South African agent for US-based climate control apparel designer and manufacturer TechNiche International, TechniSun Solutions, supplied 20 HyperKewl cooling vests to State-owned power utility Eskom last month for use at one of its major maintenance projects.
The HyperKewl vests were introduced onto the South African market three months ago.
“It uses evaporative cooling technology, which combines water with the specialised HyperKewl fabric, to create garments that gradually release water through evaporation to keep the wearer cool and comfortable,” says TechniSun sales manager Jessica Koumentakos.
She explains that the vest is soaked in water for one to three minutes and the excess water is gently squeezed out before being worn, keeping the wearer cool for up to eight hours.
“The HyperKewl fabric allows garments to have a uniform cooling effect. The inner nylon is a water-resistant fabric that keeps your body dry.
“The vest is lightweight, durable, nontoxic and available in a fluorescent reflective version, which is what Eskom is currently using,” says Koumentakos.
Besides TechNiche’s evaporative cooling products, it also manufactures phase change cooling and circulatory cooling, as well as thermal insulation apparel.
Koumentakos notes that these garments are made for professionals who work in extreme environments, such as firefighters and other emergency and safety services personnel, as well as in industry and trade, such as steelworkers.
The TechKewl phase change cooling vest functions reliably even under the toughest conditions. These vests are very effective especially where there is no air circulation or where air humidity is extremely high. These products are commonly used under high-heat protective clothing, hazardous material suits, security body armour and mascot costumes.
“The TechKewl vest is equipped with Cool Pax inserts, which are placed in a freezer until they reach the optimal temperature for use and then inserted into the special, perfectly sized pockets of the garment. Nothing slides around and nothing hampers the body’s performance because Cool Pax inserts are lightweight.
“The inserts offer comfortable, long-lasting relief for up to three hours, even during strenuous activities in high-temperature environments. With constant temperature-specific 14 ºC cooling relief, the human body can continue to perform without fatiguing,” she says.
Koumentakos explains that the vest is not a cold vest, but rather a cool vest, and is designed to keep the user cool and comfortable. There is no ice burn, condensation or fluctuating temperatures, which are common side effects of traditional ice vests.
Further, the KewlFlow personal cooling system is a self-contained and portable cooling system that uses a lightweight vest to circulate ice-chilled water for efficient cooling.
“It comes equipped with a backpack that serves as a source of chilled water for circulation through the KewlFlow cooling vest. The backpack has a 2.84 kg insulated reservoir that doubles as a hydration pack,” she explains.
Koumentakos adds that a high-efficiency battery-powered pump circulates water and ice through a network of 1.25 m of microtubing in the vest, creating a cool microclimate for up to four hours around the upper body.
Meanwhile, TechniSun also supplies TechNiche’s air-activated ThermaFur heating vest, which uses Heat Pax warmers to deliver up to 20 hours of air-activated heat and relief from the cold.
“The user tears open the package and removes the Heat Pax warmer, waits for 10 to 15 minutes for the Heat Pax to reach maximum temperature and then inserts it in the pocket of the garment to enjoy comfortable warmth for many hours. The inserts can be resealed in an airtight container for later use.
“This simple, yet effective technology works by combining several natural elements, including carbon, iron powder and vermiculite to create an exothermic reaction. Typical applications include industrial safety, construction, emergency services, outdoor recreation, athletics, motorcycling and equine [activities],” Koumentakos says.
She notes that several of the products are designed specifically for therapeutic applications that deliver simple cooling or warming relief for aches and pains.
“Multiple sclerosis sufferers protect themselves from the health hazards posed by hot weather conditions by using our standard vests,” she says.
Koumentakos adds that other climate- control accessories, such as neckwear, headgear and gloves, are also available.