AIHce 2011 Expo Brims with Products, Prizes

The industry's major names are here in Portland and, from the looks of things so far, they brought their best with them.

PORTLAND, Ore. — One of the more interesting parts of attending AIHA and ACGIH's annual conference and exposition is walking the expo showroom and checking out new products and services on display. The scene in Portland is no different; the industry's major names are here and, from the looks of things so far, they brought their best with them.

3M (booth 1725) is touting a "game-changing" PAPR in both hard hat and soft hood versions. The company that brought us N95 respirators decades ago has added a wrinkle to that invention: Coming out this summer, the 8210V is an N95 with a Cool Flow valve affixed to the front center of the mask, which concentrates the user's breathing. In order to draw attention to that device and the other respiratory and fall protection products at the company's booth here, 3M has a contest for attendees to win an iPad just for stopping by. One of the ways to enter your name for the drawing is to participate in the "Minute to Win It" challenge, which involves quickly disassembling and reassembling the Versaflo TR-300, a respiratory unit made up of the M-series helmet and TR-300 PAPR. Those who can complete the 12-step process (six steps for taking it apart, the same six in reverse to put it back together) are automatically entered in the drawing for the prize. As it turns out, a minute is ample time for the procedure, and the challenge is a good way to show how user friendly the system really is.

Meanwhile, a couple aisles over at booth 1518, Crowcon is demonstrating its new GAS-PRO confined space detector. This extremely lightweight, self-contained unit is designed for tight spots; its internal pump and top-mount display set it apart from similar small gas detectors because this one has no external accoutrements that might break off or become lost in confined spaces. The unit has a three-colored light status indicator (red, amber, and green) that users can customize for their purposes, whether to indicate calibration or some other function, while detecting up to five gases. This product will be available in about a month, according to the company — but just for stopping by to learn about it, attendees can enter a raffle for a $100 Visa gift card.

The X-zone 5000 Area Monitoring System is the highlight of Drager's booth 1535. It bridges the gap between portable and stationary gas monitoring devices for operations such as chemical plants and refineries, creating a flexible, wireless gas detection network, said Ed Ligus Jr., a product manager for portable gas detection with the company. Up to 25 units can be connected in a wireless fence line, each separated by as much as 100 meters line of sight, and the system can work in conjunction with personal gas detectors.

3E's newest offering (booth 1441) is 3E Mobile, an online tool for researching MSDSs on iPhones and Android phones. Tamie Webber, 3E's director of product management, demonstrated the product Monday afternoon in the expo theater. She said once users are on the website, they can search by keyword or simply scan a chemical product's bar code, bringing up links to its ingredients, physical properties, and classifications in the United States, Canada, or Europe, and users will have access to 3E's 24-hour hotline for assistance. The tool will be useful for field employees and for hazmat emergency responders, Webber said.

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