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Title:
COOLING DEVICES FOR HARD HATS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2010/075391
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A cooling device attachable to a hard hat to deliver a cooling airflow to a crush space between a head of a wearer and a shell of the hard hat with a brim generally includes a housing having a fan assembly that draws the cooling airflow in through an intake opening in the housing and out of an outlet. The intake opening is disposed on an exterior of the hard hat and the outlet is positioned under the brim of the hard hat. An air tube extends from the outlet under the brim and into the crush space. A surface of the air tube is opposed from a surface of the housing to be operable to hold a portion of the brim between the surface of the air tube opposed from the surface of the housing. A fastening assembly releasably connects the housing to the hard hat.

Inventors:
WEBB, Nicholas, J. (16314 Texas Spring Road, Redding, California, 96001, US)
Application Number:
US2009/069215
Publication Date:
July 01, 2010
Filing Date:
December 22, 2009
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
WORKFLOW CONTROL PARTNERS, LLC (1827 West SR 434, Longwood, Florida, 32750, US)
WEBB, Nicholas, J. (16314 Texas Spring Road, Redding, California, 96001, US)
International Classes:
A42B3/28; A42B3/00
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SIMINSKI, Robert, M. et al. (Harness, Dickey & Pierce P.L.C.,P.O. Box 82, Bloomfield Hills Michigan, 48303, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A cooling device attachable to a hard hat to deliver a cooling airflow to a crush space between a head of a wearer and a shell of the hard hat with a brim, the cooling device comprising: a housing having a fan assembly that draws the cooling airflow in through an intake opening in said housing and out of an outlet, wherein said intake opening is disposed on an exterior of the hard hat and said outlet is positioned under the brim of the hard hat; an air tube that is connected to said outlet, said air tube extends from said outlet under the brim and into the crush space, wherein a surface of said air tube is opposed from a surface of the housing to be operable to hold a portion of the brim of the hard hat between said surface of said air tube opposed from said surface of said housing; and a fastening assembly that releasably connects said housing of said fan assembly to the hard hat.

2. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein said air tube delivers the airflow into the crush space over the head of the wearer.

3. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein the crush space includes a foam insert having air channels between the head of the wearer and the shell of the hard hat, wherein said air tube conforms to a space between the shell of the hard hat and said foam insert, wherein said air tube delivers the airflow between said foam insert and the shell of the hard hat and through said air channels.

4. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein said fastening assembly includes a strap that is positioned around the periphery of the hard hat and above the brim of the hard hat.

5. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein said fastening assembly includes a band that is secured to the hard hat with securing elements, wherein said securing elements are selectively tightened to the hard hat using adjustable knobs.

6. The cooling device of claim 1 further comprising a battery holder that is connected to a portion of said fastening assembly.

7. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein said fan assembly includes a concave back surface that conforms to a surface of the exterior of the hard hat.

8. The cooling device of claim 1, wherein said air tube includes a curved portion that is disposed between a lower portion of said air tube and an upper portion that is distal from said lower portion, said upper portion extends from said outlet of said housing that is disposed under the brim, said curved portion positions said upper portion into the crush space.

9. The cooling device of claim 8, wherein said upper portion is substantially flattened relative to said lower portion.

10. A cooling device attachable to a hard hat to deliver a cooling airflow to a crush space between a shell of the hard hat and a head of a wearer, the cooling device comprising: a housing having a fan assembly that draws the cooling airflow in through an intake opening in the housing and out of an outlet, wherein said intake opening is disposed on an exterior of the hard hat and said outlet is positioned under the brim of the hard hat; an air tube that is connected to said outlet, said air tube extends from said outlet under the brim and into the crush space, wherein a surface of said air tube is opposed from a surface of the housing to be operable to hold a portion of the brim of the hard hat between said surface of said air tube opposed from said surface of said housing; and a securing member that releasably secures said fan assembly to the hard hat, wherein said securing member includes a band that is secured to the hard hat using securing elements, wherein said securing elements are selectively tightened to the hard hat using adjustable knobs.

11. The cooling device of claim 10, wherein said band is positioned between protrusions on an exterior of the shell of the hard hat.

12. The cooling device of claim 10, wherein said band includes a battery holder.

13. The cooling device of claim 12, wherein said band includes embedded wires that connect said battery holder to said fan assembly.

14. The cooling device of claim 10, wherein said fan assembly includes a switch that selects one of an off state, an on state, and a pulsed state of said fan assembly, wherein said fan assembly does not draw the airflow in through said intake opening when in said off state, wherein said fan assembly continuously draws the airflow in through said intake opening when in said on state, and wherein said fan assembly intermittently draws the airflow in through said intake opening when in said pulsed state.

15. The cooling device of claim 10, wherein said air tube is connected to said outlet using an extension tube, wherein a first end of the extension tube connects to said outlet, and wherein a second end of said extension tube connects to said air tube.

16. A cooling device attachable to a hard hat to deliver an airflow to a crush space between a shell of the hard hat and a head of a wearer, the cooling device comprising: a housing having a fan assembly that draws the airflow in through an intake opening in the housing and out of an outlet, wherein said intake opening is disposed on an exterior of the hard hat and said outlet is positioned under a brim of the hard hat, wherein said fan assembly includes a switch that selects an operating state of said fan assembly; an air tube that is press fit to said outlet, that extends from said outlet under said brim and into the crush space, that delivers the airflow into the crush space, and that conforms to the shell of the hard hat, wherein said air tube forms a channel with said fan assembly that accepts said brim of the hard hat; and a securing member that releasably secures said fan assembly to the hard hat, wherein said securing member includes a strap that is positioned around the circumference of the hard hat above said brim of the hard hat, and wherein said strap is secured to the hard hat using clips that are fastened to said strap and hooked under said brim of the hard hat.

17. The cooling device of claim 16, wherein the crush space includes a foam insert having air channels between the head of the wearer and the shell of the hard hat, wherein said air tube conforms to a space between the shell of the hard hat and said foam insert, wherein said air tube delivers the airflow between said foam insert and the shell of the hard hat and through said air channels.

18. The cooling device of claim 16, wherein said fastening assembly includes a band that is secured to the hard hat with securing elements, wherein said securing elements are selectively tightened to the hard hat using adjustable knobs.

19. The cooling device of claim 16, further comprising a battery holder that is connected to a portion of said securing member.

20. The cooling device of claim 15, wherein said fan assembly includes a concave back surface that conforms to a surface of the exterior of the hard hat.

Description:
COOLING DEVICES FOR HARD HATS

FIELD

[0001] The present disclosure relates to hard hats and more particularly to cooling devices for hard hats.

BACKGROUND

[0002] This section provides background information related to the present disclosure which is not necessarily prior art. [0003] Workers generally wear hard hats when working in dangerous environments, such as construction sites, mines, and/or industrial environments. In hot weather, humidity caused by body perspiration about the head and neck builds up under the hard hats, thereby thwarting the body's own evaporative cooling system and increasing discomfort to the worker. [0004] Fan-based cooling devices have been used for providing cool air into hard hats. Generally, hard hats include brims that extend outwardly from the periphery of the hard hats. The presence of the brims makes the attachment of fan-based cooling devices difficult. A typical cooling device can be designed to fit only a particular type of hard hat with a particular type of brim. Moreover, typical cooling devices generate turbulent airflow that stays at a particular area under the hard hat instead of flowing smoothly throughout the inner space of the hard hat. Accordingly, typical cooling devices can be ineffective in providing cooling to workers' heads.

SUMMARY [0005] This section provides a general summary of the disclosure, and is not a comprehensive disclosure of its full scope or all of its features.

[0006] The present teachings generally include a cooling device attachable to a hard hat to deliver a cooling airflow to a crush space between a head of a wearer and a shell of the hard hat with a brim. The cooling device generally includes a housing having a fan assembly that draws the cooling airflow in through an intake opening in the housing and out through an outlet. The intake opening is disposed on an exterior of the hard hat and the outlet is positioned under the brim of the hard hat. An air tube is connected to the outlet. The air tube extends from the outlet under the brim and into the crush space. A surface of the air tube is opposed from a surface of the housing to be operable to hold a portion of the brim of the hard hat between the surface of the air tube opposed from the surface of the housing. A fastening assembly releasably connects the housing of the fan assembly to the hard hat.

[0007] Further areas of applicability will become apparent from the description provided herein. The description and specific examples in this summary are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure.

DRAWINGS

[0008] The drawings described herein are for illustrative purposes only of selected aspects of the present teachings and not all possible implementations, and are not intended to limit the scope of the present disclosure. [0009] FIG. 1 is a partial cross-sectional view of a cooling device mounted on a hard hat to provide an airflow to a foam filled crush space in accordance with the present teachings.

[0010] FIG. IA is a partial cross-sectional view of the cooling device of FIG 1 mounted on a hard hat to provide the airflow to a crush space without foam-filing in accordance with the present teachings.

[0011 ] FIG. 2 is a rear view of the cooling device of FIG 1. [0012] FIG. 3 is a partial front view of the cooling device of FIG 1 mounted on a portion of the hard hat in accordance with the present teachings.

[0013] FIG. 4 is a functional block diagram illustrating exemplary control of a fan located in the cooling device in accordance with the present teachings.

[0014] FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of a short air tube of the cooling device in accordance with the present teachings.

[0015] FIG. 6 is a partial perspective view of a long air tube in accordance with the present teachings. [0016] FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view of a tube extension and the short air tube of FIG. 5 in accordance with the present teachings. [0017] FIG. 8 is a partial exploded assembly view of the cooling device with an intake filter in accordance with another example of the present teachings.

[0018] FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a brim cushion mounted on a back surface of the cooling device in accordance with another example of the present teachings.

[0019] FIG 10. is a perspective view of the cooling device mounted to the hard hat with a strap and hard hat clips in accordance with a further example of the present teachings.

[0020] Corresponding reference numerals indicate corresponding parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0021 ] Example aspects of the present teachings will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings. [0022] The present teachings relate to a relatively light and compact cooling device having a fan that produces a relatively high volume of airflow. The cooling device can be attached to a hard hat using an elastic band (e.g., a cloth incorporating elastic material) that can be secured to the hard hat using brim clips. Alternatively, the cooling device can be secured to the hard hat using one or more fasteners that can include adjusting knobs. The cooling device can incorporate a battery source implementing one or more battery chemistries (e.g., lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, nickel cadmium, alkaline, etc.) that can be contained within a housing of the cooling device or that can be attached to one of the fasteners.

[0023] The cooling device can draw in air through a relatively high volume filter and discharge the air through an air tube that can be configured to follow contours of the hard hat. The air tube can define an outlet that can terminate in a crush space of the hard hat. Accordingly, the air tube can be shown to increase the cooling in the hard hat and also can be shown to not adversely impact crush absorption when installed in the hard hat. The air tube can be implemented in varying lengths and/or shapes so that the cooling device can be configured to conform to and be installed in varying shapes and sizes of hard hats. [0024] The term "hard hat" as used herein can be defined to include not only the specific designs shown, but also other types of head-protecting hats and/or gear that employ a rigid head and/or face protecting shell.

[0025] Referring to FIGS. 1 and IA, a cooling device 10 can be attached to a rear portion of a hard hat 12. The hard hat 12 can be a molded, hard plastic protective shell 14 that can be fitted around a head of a user. The hard hat 12 can include a brim 16 that can extend outwardly from a lower rim of the protective shell 14. While the cooling device 10 is described as being connected to the hard hat 12, the cooling device 10 can be implemented on other protective gear, such as mounted to a welding mask. [0026] The hard hat 12 can have a crush space 18 that can be defined between the head of the wearer and the inner surface of the protective shell 14 of the hard hat 12. The crush space 18 can define a foam filling, as shown in FIG. 1; or an air space, as shown in FIG. IA.

[0027] The cooling device 10 includes a housing that contains a fan assembly with a fan 37 (FIG. 4). The fan assembly can draw air in through an intake opening 26 formed in the housing 20. An air tube 22 can extend from an outlet 24 formed in the housing 20. The fan assembly and the housing can be one single unit and piece of material or may be two or more components. The air tube 22 can guide cooling air into the crush space 18. The air tube 22 can be configured to provide a cooling air flow from the fan assembly 20 to immediately near the back of the head of the wearer and then to the top of the head of the wearer. The cooling airflow can then leave the hard hat 12 through a gap that can be established between the forehead of the wearer and the hard hat 12.

[0028] In FIG. IA, the crush space 18 can be an air gap between the head of the wearer and the hard hat 12. Accordingly, the air tube 22 can deliver a relatively evenly dispersed cooling airflow over the head of the wearer and throughout the crush space 18. In FIG. 1, the crush space 18 can include a foam padding material 41. The air tube 22 can be configured to deliver the cooling airflow into the crush space 18 and above the foam padding material 41 that can include one or more channels 19. The one or more channels 19 can allow the cooling airflow to flow through the foam padding material 41 to relatively evenly disperse the cooling airflow over the head of the wearer. [0029] In FIGS. 2 and 3, the cooling device 10 can include a fastening assembly 28 that can secure the cooling device 10 to an outer surface of the hard hat 12. The fastening assembly 28 can include a strap member 29 that can conform to an outer periphery of the protective shell 14. The hard hat 12 can also include protrusions 21 above the brim 16. The fastening assembly 28 can be situated between the protrusions 21 to prevent the fastening assembly 28 from rotating around the hard hat 12 along the brim 16.

[0030] The fastener assembly 28 can have a pair of securing elements 31 and a pair of knobs 33 formed at opposing ends of the strap member 29. The securing elements 31 each define a U-shaped element that can be mounted on a lower edge of the hard hat 12. The securing elements 31 can define an opening that can be configured to receive a wide variety of structures of the brim 16. When the knobs 33 are tightened, the fastening assembly 28 can be secured to the hard hat 12.

[0031] In FIGS. 1 and 3, the fan assembly 20 can have a concave back surface 35 that can conform to the convex outer body of the hard hat 12. The outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 can be disposed below the strap member 29 of the fastening assembly 28. When the cooling device 10 is mounted on the hard hat 12, the outlet 24 can be located below the brim 16 of the hard hat 12 and the opening of the outlet 24 can be configured to face the back of the head of the wearer. [0032] Battery holders 30 can be provided on both sides of the cooling device

10 and can receive one or more batteries. The one or more batteries can provide power to the fan 37 in the fan assembly 20 through electric wires that can be embedded in a rim portion 32 of the strap member 29. In one example, the one or more batteries can be housed in the cooling device 10. [0033] In FIG. 2, the battery holder 30 can be affixed adjacent to the knobs

33 to distribute the weight of the batteries and the cooling device 10 relatively evenly along the back of the brim 16 of the hard hat 12 to increase the comfort of the wearer. The battery holder can be constructed of a PVC vinyl, or other suitable materials, such as silicone, rubber or other elastomeric plastics. The one or more batteries can include a suitable battery chemistry such as a lithium polymer or other high capacity battery chemistry to provide the increased airflow with decreased weight. [0034] In FIGS. 1 and IA, a switch 23 can be mounted on a side of the fan assembly 20 for switching on and off the fan 37 (FIG. 4). The fan assembly 20 can also include a power indicator light 25 and a low battery indicator light 27. The switch 23 can allow the wearer to select a continuous airflow setting in which the fan is constantly run. The switch 23 can also allow the wearer to select a pulsed airflow setting that cycles the fan on and off that can be implemented to extend battery life. For example, in the pulsed airflow setting, the fan 37 can operate for a predetermined period (e.g., ranging from second to minutes), then turn off for a predetermined period (e.g., ranging from seconds to minutes). The above predetermined periods can be configured so the wearer can build up perspiration during periods when the fan is off. A subsequent period when the fan is on can cool the user and do so more effectively when perspiration is built up on the wearer. In a 12-14 hour workday, for example, the cooling device 10 can be run in the pulsed setting to provide relatively improved cooling airflow while maximizing battery life. [0035] In FIG. 4, an exemplary functional block diagram illustrates an exemplary control of a fan 37 using the switch 23 connected to the fan assembly 20. The battery 39 can provide power to a fan driver circuit 80 that can drive the fan 37 based on a position of the switch 23. The switch 23 can be in one of three positions: off, on, and pulsed. The fan driver circuit 80 does not drive the fan 37 when the switch 23 is in the off position. The fan driver circuit 80 continuously drives the fan 37 when the switch 23 is in the on position. The fan driver circuit 80 periodically drives the fan 37 when the switch 23 is in the pulsed position. When the switch 23 is in the pulsed position, a timing circuit 82 controls an amount of time the fan 37 is on and an amount of time the fan 37 is off. A level of charge of the battery 39 can be monitored by a battery monitoring circuit 84. The battery monitoring circuit 84 can turn on the low battery indicator light 27 when the battery 39 can be detected as being discharged below a predetermined level.

[0036] In FIGS. 5 and 6, the air tube 22 for guiding the cool air from the outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 to the crush space 18 of the hard hat 12 can be made of a flexible, soft material. An inlet 34 of the air tube 22 can be connected to an outlet 36 of the air tube 22 by an elongated body. The elongated body can include a lower portion 38 and an upper portion 40 that can be connected to form a curve 42. The upper portion 40 can be flattened so as to be wider than the lower portion 38. In this regard, the outlet 36 can be larger and wider than the inlet 34. The inlet 34 can be attached to the outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 with snap fit and/or with one or more fasteners.

[0037] Because the air tube 22 can be made from a flexible and pliable material, the wearer is able to adjust the position and orientation of the elongated body of the air tube 22 to conform to the profile of the back of the head of the wearer. In FIGS. 1 and IA, the air tube 22 and the fan assembly 20 can define a U- shape, where a bottom portion of the U-shape is positioned under the brim 16 of the hard hat 12.

[0038] The air flows from the inlet 34 to the outlet 36 of the air tube 22 in a curved direction. When the air tube 22 is installed, the outlet 36 of the air tube 22 can be located adjacent to the top of the head of the wearer. As such, the exiting airflow can be injected upward from the rear of the hard hat 12 into the air gap between the head of the wearer and the protective shell 14 and up over the head of the wearer. In this arrangement, a portion of the flexible air tube 22 can be positioned under the brim 16. [0039] The air tube 22 can be implemented with varying lengths and shapes so as to be implemented in hard hats having different brim configurations and lengths. For example, long brim hard hats are especially common in hot outdoor operations and a long air tube 51 (FIG. 6) can provide a proper fit for such longer brim hard hats. In FIG. 6, the longer air tube 51 can include a longer brim section 53 that can extend under the hard hat having a longer brim. The air tube 51 also can include a joint 55 that can allow the air tube 51 to conform to a longer brim hard hat. The air tube 51 can connect to the fan assembly 20 in the same manner as the air tube 22.

[0040] The air tube 22 is relatively wider and flattened to provide adequate airflow through the air tube 22 despite the limited space between the protective shell 14 of the hard hat 12 and bulb-like contour of the back of the head of the wearer. The air tube 22 can define a slightly concave surface 44 that can fit with an outer contour of the back of the head of the wearer. The air tube 22 can also define a slightly convex surface 73 that can fit with an inner contour of the protective shell 14 of the hard hat 12. At the outlet 36 of the air tube 22, a dimension (i.e., thickness) 65 of a sidewall 67 of the air tube 22 is relatively small compared to a width 69 of the air tube 22. Accordingly, the dimensions 65, 69 and concave/convex shape of the air tube 22 can provide an increased airflow in the relatively minimal backspace of the hard hat 12. [0041] The air tube 22 can have a sufficient length to allow the cooling airflow to flow to the top of the head of the wearer. The connection between the air tube 22 and the outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 can form a slight curve, which can allow for a smooth flow from the fan to the outlet 36 of the air tube 22 and therefore can reduce generation of turbulent flow. As a result, a sufficient amount of smooth (i.e., laminar) cooling airflow can be blown into the crush space 18 to circulate along the top of the head of the wearer and to the forehead of the wearer.

[0042] The inlet 34 of the air tube 22 can be fit into the outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20. The outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 has an annular rib 50 extending outwardly from the outlet 24. The inlet 34 of the air tube 22 can have an annular flange 52 extending inwardly from the inlet 34. The inlet 34 of the air tube 22 can be connected to the outlet 24 of the fan assembly 20 by inserting the outlet 24 into the inlet 34. When the annular rib 50 contacts the annular flange 52, the connection between the inlet 34 and the outlet 24 is completed. [0043] In FIG. 7, the air tube 22 can be connected to the fan assembly 20 using an accordion-like tube extension 60 to accommodate a variety of hard hat sizes. The tube extension 60 can be expanded and collapsed to provide the ability to customize the tube extension 60 and adjust the position, the length, and the shape of the air tube 22 within the hard hat 12. [0044] In FIG. 8, the fan assembly 20 can include a high flow intake filter 56 that can maximize airflow while concurrently filtering the air, which can be shown to reduce the propensity of exposure to the wearer of poisonous gas or smoke. The filter 56 can be a molded and die cut filter medium that can be sandwiched between a screen 58 and an outer attachable screen 68. [0045] In FIG. 9, a brim cushion 70 can be mounted at the back surface 35 of the fan assembly 20 to adjust the orientation of the fan assembly 20. A thickness of the brim cushion 70 can be varied depending on the size of the hard hat 12. For example, the brim cushion 70 can be thicker in order to fit hard hats having larger brims. The brim cushion 70 can be made thinner to accommodate shorter brim hard hats. The brim cushion 70 can serve not only to fit the cooling device 10 more securely to the hard hat 12, but can also serve to deaden vibrations generated by the fan assembly 20. [0046] In FIGS. 8 and 10, the cooling device 10 can be mounted to the hard hat 12 using a fastener assembly 71 in accordance with another example of the present teachings. The fastener assembly 71 can include a strap 72 that can be secured to the hard hat 12 using plurality of hard hat clips 74. The hard hat clips 74 can have an open C- shaped radius to fit a wide variety of brim structures. When the strap 72 is implemented, the cooling device 10 can be implemented with the one or more batteries within the housing of the cooling device 10.

[0047] Those skilled in the art can now appreciate from the foregoing description that the broad teachings of the present disclosure can be implemented in a variety of forms. Therefore, while this disclosure has been described in connection with particular examples thereof, the true scope of the disclosure should not be so limited since other modifications will become apparent to the skilled practitioner upon a study of the drawings, the specification and the following claims.