It’s no secret that it’s much easier to create heat than to remove heat, which is probably why no one has created a “reverse microwave” yet. It’s also one reason why there is only a small amount of clothing and accessories built around cooling people off outdoors, especially those who work in the construction industry. Sure, you can install some fans around the job site, but they only help workers when it’s blowing directly at them. Now, a Japanese company is releasing their personal cooling jackets and hard hat fans to US customers and targeting the construction industry.
Zippkool, invented by Japanese manufacturer SFT Laboratory Co. Ltd, is making its American debut in May at the National Hardware Show 2016 in Las Vegas, which runs from May 4-6. The cooling jackets are powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can run the cooling fans inside the jacket for up to 20 hours on a single charge. Using two fans, which are located at the lower back, air is pushed through the jacket simultaneously cooling your body and evaporating sweat. That jacket will add a little weight obviously, since there are extra components. The two fans together weigh just over 7.05 oz, which is less than half of a pound and the battery will add additional weight, but that amount has not been released.
There are currently 5 different versions of the cooling jacket to choose from:
BP-500N – long sleeve, 100% polyester, cuts 99% UV, meant for outdoor use
BPN-500N – long sleeve, titanium coated polyester, blocks 92% IR heat and cuts 99% UV, meant for outdoor use
BPF-500N – Roughly the same as the BPN-500, but includes a hood
BM-500U – long sleeve, cotton jacket, meant for indoor use
BMK-500U – short sleeve, cotton jacket, meant for indoor or outdoor use
The main challenge with these jackets are the bulkiness, because, as you can imagine, blowing air inside a jacket makes you look like a balloon that’s ready to pop. Creating greater surface area can set a worker up for getting snagged on plenty of job site hazards, so it remains to be seen how well these jackets can hold up to the rigors of a typical job site. But, as you saw in the descriptions above, the outdoor jackets also provide an extra benefit, besides the cooling: UV protection. Construction workers are at one of the highest risks of getting skin cancer, due to the long hours worked in the sun and our general aversion to using un-macho sunscreen.
For those who may not be interested in a fairly cumbersome, upper body cooling system, the company is also releasing a hard hat fan, which is attached to a polyester neck cover. As opposed to the cooling jackets, the hard hat fan will be powered by a Nickel Hydride battery pack, which you can clip to your belt. It’s not cordless, either, which is probably better on your neck, but leaves you to deal with a cord wrapped around your body.
What do you think? Would you use a cooling jacket on your job site?
Caterpillar is not resting on what made it successful in the past anymore and probably for good reason. The equipment manufacturing giant recently bought Yard Club, a heavy construction equipment sharing company, looking to take advantage of the recently popularized sharing economy. Earlier this month, Caterpillar invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics, an Australian robotic technology company.
Augmented and Virtual Reality has always been designated for large headsets. Even with recent developments in the construction industry, like Microsoft Hololens and the DAQRI Smart Helmet, if you want to experience AR, you have to get used to wearing something you’re not used to around a job site. As cool as both of those technologies are, it seems that the ole trusty smartphones and tablets have been overlooked. A Danish BIM company has developed a smartphone and tablet application that leaves the headsets behind.
It’s pretty amazing all of the things that smartphones can do right now. While some wish phones would go back to “just making dang blasted phone calls, like the good ole days,” it’s clear that phone’s will always be more than that moving forward. Through apps and other attachments, phones can now turn into a thermal imagine camera, an x-ray vision scanner to see what’s behind walls, a laser measure, and now an augmented reality tape measure.
For many construction superintendents and project managers across the world, tablets are becoming one of the most important tools on the job site. They’re great for looking at plans, taking pictures, making notes, and running your favorite construction apps. Carrying a tablet does take up at least one of your hands, however, so it can be a hindrance if you need to help a co-worker lift material or climb a ladder.
Fiskars was first founded as a Finnish Ironworks company in 1649, making it one of the oldest companies I have heard of that is still going strong. Recently – relatively speaking - in 1967, Fiskars made a name for themselves with their orange handled scissors. Noted for their build quality, sharpness, and durability, these scissors quickly became an industry standard and a leader in the category. Since then, Fiskars has expanded into other areas of the home and outdoors. You may also recognize the name Gerber, as this is one of the brands Fiskars sells under.
Every now and then a new product comes along and you ask yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?!” The OVAL Fire Extinguisher is just that product. Architecture and interior design have been moving towards cleaner lines in their spaces. Foregone are the days of bulky protruding water fountains (bubblers for my northern friends) and fire extinguisher cabinets. Interior designers are looking for cleaner and sleeker interior spaces but the 10lb fire extinguishers and cabinets have not changed for quite some time. OVAL is about to change all that.
Do you own Bosch Cordless Power Tools? Is it time for a battery upgrade? Take a look at Bosch’s new CORE 18V batteries. They have gone in and completely revamped their 18V batteries! They are now smaller, lighter, more powerful, have a longer life, and allow for more cuts and drives. Bosch has been able to achieve all of these benefits while also delivering corded performance in high-load applications.
The 2017 Milwaukee Tool New Product Symposium (NPS) was held last week at Milwaukee’s headquarters and it proved to be a whirlwind of new products and information from the red brand. Over 80 new tools and accessories, which will be released throughout the remainder of 2017, were presented to dozens of media representatives, including construction magazines, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and your favorite construction blog (Construction Junkie, obviously).
After flooding our social media pages with Milwaukee information and gathering our thoughts from the event, we’ve come up with our 9 biggest takeaways from the event, in no particular order.
After recently announcing the release of a bunch of new Bluetooth enabled tools and products, as well as an inventory platform, DeWalt has jumped all-in on internet connected construction sites with the announcement of Construction Site WiFi. Construction sites, especially large complex sites, are becoming more and more reliant on internet connectivity to efficiently manage their projects. This is great news for all of you who count on a consistent internet connection to use programs like Procore, PlanGrid, and Bluebeam, among others, to communicate between different parties on the job site and in the office.