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What Is The Best Cooling (AC) Tube For Your Blast Helmet?

It Was Supposed To Cool Better Than The Blue Tube

Recently, an early summer heat wave resulted in a customer calling us to complain that his C40 cooling tube wasn’t as good as his previous blue cool tube.  The C40 was supposed to be an upgrade.  It was supposed to drop the temperature in his blast helmet more than the blue tube – and yet it made things hotter.  He wanted to know what was going on.

So this gives us the perfect opportunity to explain the difference between the three most common air flow devices –to ensure you get the maximum comfort you’re expecting.

Here’s a quick refresher:

  • The Constant Flow device provides your respirator helmet with the filtered air from the Radex breathing air filter, but it does not provide any heating or cooling capabilities.
  • The blue cool air tube improves upon the constant flow device by cooling the incoming air… up to 33 degrees F/ 18 degrees C.
  • And the C40 improves up on the cooling capabilities of the blue tube. It can cool the incoming air up to 52 degrees F / 29 degrees C.  It also provides the functionality to heat the air which eliminates the need to change the device to the red heating tube in the winter.

The C40 is definitely the premium option – so in our customer’s case, why was it not cooling as well as the blue tube?

So here’s what causes this issue:

While the C40 does have the highest degree of cooling capacity, it’s conditional upon your blasting setup.  Whether you should use the C40 vs. the blue cool air tube comes down to how big your blast crew is and the equipment being used.

Let me explain:

First, let’s talk about the equipment:

  • The primary determinant is which Radex breathing air filter is being used.
    • The 2-outlet version has a capacity of 30 CFM,
    • while the 6 outlet’s capacity is 75 CFM.
  • The next factor is how many CFM the respective air flow devices consume.
    • The base model Constant Flow tube consumes 12 CFM,
    • the blue & red tubes consume about 20,
    • and the C40 consumes about 25.

Now let’s talk about the size of your blast crew:

Single Operators

When you have a single operator, the 2-outlet Radex is perfect because one outlet is always dedicated to the CO monitor. With the 30 CFM capacity of this unit, it supports any of the climate control devices, even accounting for a few CFM required by the CO monitor.

Radex 2 outlet with cooling tube

Multiple Operators – Constant Flow

It gets a little more complicated, however, when you have multiple operators running off the same breathing air system.

In theory, the 6-outlet Radex should be able to support 5 blasters plus the CO monitor.

In practice, however – because it has a 75 CFM capacity limit –  this capacity supports 5 operators only if all are using the Constant Flow tube. (5 x 12 cfm plus CO monitor).

Radex 6 outlet with steady flow tube

Multiple Operators – Blue & Red Tubes

When using the blue & red tubes, (20cfm each) the 75 CFM capacity of the 6-outlet Radex will truly only support 3 operators. (3x20cfm = 60cfm… plus CO monitor )

Radex 6 outlet with cooling or heating tube

Multiple Operators – C40 Tube

With the C40 device it could even be as low as 2 operators. With the ability to add a 3rd as long as they are using the Blue tube. (2 x 25cfm… plus CO monitor).  You can approach it like a game of mathematics.

Therefore, if you wish to provide the premium C40 climate control cooling experience for your blast crew, depending on the how many are drawing off the filtered air, you may need multiple Radex systems to accommodate the cooling requirements of each tube.

Radex 6 outlet with cooling tube
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