Mill and foundry workers cast molten metal into shapes by melting the metal into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the molded material after the metal has solidified. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron. This process involves an extreme amount of radiant heat, and it is critical that these workers have proper PPE to protect them from this heat. This can include aluminized hoods with heat reflective face shields, as well as aluminized or heat resistant suits, gloves, and spats.
Aluminum melts at around 1200° degrees Fahrenheit. Steel at around 2500° Fahrenheit. Titanium at a whopping 3000° degrees Fahrenheit. We all enjoy products made from steel, aluminum, etc. but very few of us know what it takes to transform the raw metals into millions of different products used across the world. Proper PPE is crucial to mill and foundry worker safety, and Paulson has been supplying gold hard coated (aka metalized) heat reflective face shields to this industry for decades.
A Brief History on Paulson’s Gold Hard Coated Face Shields
The origins of our gold hard coated face shields go back 35 years when Paulson was contracted by the U.S. Navy to build a face shield for aircraft rescue & firefighting (ARFF). Fires onboard aircraft carriers can burn at extreme heats, particularly when jet fuel is involved. To battle this type of radiant heat, they needed a heat reflective face shield. The resulting product was our first gold hard coated face shield to be used with firefighter helmets. This is a great example of a military technology applied to commercial applications.
Immediately following the development of this shield for the Navy, we turned our focus to the steel and metal industries and started making gold hard coated face shields to be used by mill and foundry workers across the U.S., and eventually across the globe. Over the years we have made many improvements in the adhesion, heat rejection and hard coatings associated with these shields. Today, our gold hard coated shields are made with 99.99% fine gold dispersed on an injection-molded polycarbonate face shield in a vacuum chamber. A protective hard coating is then applied over the gold coating to minimize scratching to the shield and extend its service life. The gold coating not only blocks the extreme radiant heat from the molten metal, it is also designed to optimize the visible light transmittance (VLT) to allow the best possible view while working.
Radiant Heat Protection at a Lower Cost
While our gold hard coated shields have stood the test of time in terms of reliability and durability, the one drawback can often be the high price. Because these shields are made with actual gold, our prices are directly affected by the cost of gold, which continues to increase year after year. That said, we wanted to make a heat reflective face shield option for mill and foundry workers that would offer similar protection but cost about half as much as our gold hard coated shields. This led to the development of our new aluminized heat reflective shield made from flat, die-cut polycarbonate sheet material (as opposed to our gold hard coted shields made from polycarbonate resin that is injection molded to shape). We then laminate the clear sheet material with an aluminized film that provides the radiant heat protection.
To be clear, our economy aluminized heat reflective shields will have a shorter useful life than our gold hard coated shields. Because the economy shield does not have a protective hard coating, it will deteriorate faster over time. However, for mill and foundry workers seeking radiant heat protection (especially for use with “lower” temp molten metals like aluminum), our economy heat-reflective shields provide excellent protection at an affordable price.