A new startup focused on keeping workers in hot environments cool and productive is hoping to break into the aviation industry. Qore Performance thinks its IcePlate Safety Vest (IPSV)—which it bills as “an air conditioner, hydration bladder, safety vest and tool belt combined into one streamlined piece of personal protective equipment”—could help MRO and ground support staff by providing improved comfort, safety and productivity.
The IPSV combines Qore Performance’s ergonomic IcePlate water bottle product with a safety vest featuring 3M Scotchlite retroreflective materials—similar to safety vests already worn in industrial environments. The vest holds two IcePlates for a total capacity of three liters of water, which can be frozen overnight to provide 2-4 hours of cooling ability, according to Qore Performance. As the water melts during wear, workers can drink hands-free from a specially engineered drink tube to stay hydrated.
“The idea behind IcePlate is to make the water you already have to carry for basic hydration serve more than one function for you,” says Justin Li, inventor and co-founder of Qore Performance.
Li says the IPSV provides 140 watts of cooling power and weighs approximately 8 lbs when completely filled. When worn with the IPSV Cummerbund, the product can also hold tools for added utility. According to Li, the product is currently configured to hold tools used by existing customers, such as first aid kits, radios, flashlights or batteries. “However, the pockets are multi-purpose and users can put anything they want in them,” he adds. “In the very new future, it will be able to hold other more regular tools, such as screwdrivers, hammers and wrenches, using expansion inserts.”
The IPSV is currently in use at more than 300 industrial safety sites across the United States, including a variety of Chick-fil-A restaurants where Li says the average return on investment is less than two months due to the productivity gains the IPSV provides. “A Chick-fil-A drive-thru is basically a single runway airport with only two ways to increase revenue: number of occupants per vehicle or number of vehicles. Chick-fil-A has no control over the size of the cars, so they focus on throughput,” says Li.
At Chick-fil-A drive-thrus, Li says, the IPSV provides enough cooling power to prevent heat illness in most people when used as directed, which can reduce the amount of time employees spend rotating positions from outside to inside. According to Li, this improves employee comfort and morale while keeping employees more alert by reducing fatigue.
The Qore Performance team sees these same benefits as an opportunity for fixed-based operators and airlines to improve aircraft turnaround time through reduced downtime and increased MRO and ground support staff productivity. Li says the Qore Performance team comes from the law enforcement, finance and construction industries, but hopes to break into aviation as soon as possible.
The IPSV can also be used as a cold weather solution when filled with hot water, which the company says provides 3-5 hours of heat. Pricing for the vest itself starts at $115 and goes up to $265 for the full IPSV solution.