Pt. 2 of 3: Next-Gen Nanoparticle Arc Shields
In our first installment of this 3-part series, we discussed some of the key trends the electrical PPE market, and how GORE-TEX Professional Fabrics & Paulson Mfg. employ advanced technology to improve electrical PPE. Arc flash suits that are lighter weight and more breathable, and face shields that provide enhanced visibility are examples of these improvements and this is driven heavily by feedback from the end-users.
In this second installment, we’ll discuss the specific technology used in Paulson’s next-gen arc flash face shields. Before we do that, however, let’s look back to the early days of arc flash face shields.
Legacy Green Arc Flash Face Shields
Over 20 years ago, Paulson Mfg. was on the ground level of developing a face shield specifically for arc flash protection. The original face shields were made of a propionate material, although several years later the shields were converted to polycarbonate for its durability and heat resistance. To achieve not only the arc flash protection levels but also the visible light transmittance (VLT) requirements set forth by NFPA 70E, we used organic dyes to tint the shields. Originally the shields featured an amber tint, and eventually evolved to a light green tint, which became the standard color for most arc shields on the market.
Over the years, Paulson’s legacy green arc shields became synonymous with quality, durability and a level of protection that was second to none. However, one drawback to these shields was that the worker’s color recognition could be distorted through the green tint. Color recognition in electrical work is obviously very important, especially when dealing with different colors of wires.
HT™ Arc Shields – The Future of Arc Flash Face Protection
Recognizing the need in the industry to improve arc flash face shields, we worked meticulously to create a next-generation shield. Fast forward to 2017, and Paulson launched our HT™ (highly transparent) line of arc flash face shields, which features a grey tint instead of green, significantly improving color recognition for the worker.
Nanotechnology: Benefits Beyond the Grey Tint
The HT™ arc shield line from Paulson certainly solved a pain point in the marketplace that demanded better color recognition from their arc shields. However, the benefits of our next-gen arc shields go well beyond the grey tint. In fact, we use an entirely different formulation for these new shields. Instead of using organic dyes like we did with our legacy green shields, we employ a nanoparticle formulation with our HT™ arc shields. Nanoparticles are ultra-fine particles that measure less than 100 nm in size. Using nanoparticles derived from metal oxides and dispersed across the polycarbonate matrix of the shield, we were able to achieve not only the new grey tint, but also improved performance in terms of impact rating, UV light resistance, and compatibility with higher quality protective coatings.
In addition to the improved impact and durability, the nanoparticles are more effective at absorbing the energy of an arc flash, which means we can achieve higher protection levels (up to 40 cal/cm2) with a single lens, allowing us to cut down the weight (and the cost) of a 40-cal shield, which historically was always a dual-lens. The result of this proprietary nanoparticle formulation is a premium shield that will provide better visibility & protection and have a longer service life in the field.
Next Level Comfort & Visibility
Paulson’s HT™ nanoparticle arc shields offer protection for every arc flash PPE category as laid out by NFPA 70E. Whether it’s our 12-cal and 20-cal AmpShield® line, our arc shields for switchgear hoods, which range from 25-cal to 100-cal, or our premium 3Phase° lift-front arc shields, which range from 12-cal to 100-cal, there is a next-gen face shield solution for every arc flash application. These shields are packed with features and benefits that are the direct result of end-user feedback on what they want and need from their arc flash face shields. Improved visibility, enhanced ventilation, better resistance to fogging and scratching, and longer service life—these are all features that the end-users demanded, and that Paulson has delivered.
Next Up: In-Depth Look at Arc rated GORE® PYRAD® Fabrics
Be sure to read our third installment of this three-part series in a few weeks, which will take a deep dive into the technology behind the arc rated GORE® PYRAD® fabrics.
Please contact us today for more info on the next-gen arc flash PPE from GORE-TEX Professional Fabrics® and Paulson Mfg.