Once again we’re looking at a special new product from 3M, a further refinement of their flagship respiratory protection technology. The Versaflo TR-800 (available in Painter’s, Easy-Clean, and Heavy Industry kits) is an exciting leap forward for 3M’s PAPR line, featuring a number of features that make it stand out in the marketplace. Let’s take a look.
At first glance, the TR-800 may look like any other high-end PAPR. It’s got the compact design that stays close to the body and out of the way, tube connecting to a face shield or hood, etc. What’s the difference between it and the others? The TR-800 is, uniquely, “intrinsically safe.” Intrinsic safety is an engineering technique that designs products and technology to operate with minimal electric activity. This involves simplifying the circuits, setting up the energy flow to minimize heat, and eliminating space where dust can gather. An intrinsically safe device will not explode or ignite, and is therefore clear to use in highly conductive environments.
The promo brochure for the TR-800 highlights the “innovative materials” used in its construction, specifically the plastic exterior that houses the filter, battery, and motor. 3M claims this material, whatever exactly it is, can meet a “new material properties requirement” in the UL Standards Catalog while also passing intrinsic safety protocols. This indicates that 3M keeps track of the shifting legal landscape, and their creators are working to make products that perform optimally within it.
3M has given the TR-800 yellow highlights around the edges, making it stand out visually as well. This is intended to indicate its uniqueness among their PAPRs as an intrinsically safe product. It’s a brilliant touch, as it prevents the unit from getting mixed up with other more standard units in storage. Also of note is the mechanically secured battery, which is held in place by a pin rather than a programmed lock that may fail. They say they have included this measure as part of the same UL standard mentioned before, so it may be helpful to turn to that text at this point.
Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) set many of the industrial world’s early standards for safety, and has continued to fill that role ever since. Section 60079 of their standards catalog is dominated by one phrase: “explosive atmospheres.” These texts serve as guidelines for manufacturers to make sure their products are safe to use in potentially dangerous areas and situations. The content of the standards themselves is highly technical, and I’m obviously not the target audience. 3M, for their part, boasts of the TR-800 being the first to be UL-certified as intrinsically safe, which is quite an impressive endorsement. Intrinsic safety standards are set out in part 25 of standard 60079.
As for accessories, the TR-800 is compatible with TR-600 components and replacement parts, so there’s no need to seek out a whole new line of 800 parts, as such a line probably will never exist. Any part that fits the TR-600, from filters to tubes to belts, will also go with the TR-800. We’re proud to welcome this exciting new addition to our inventory, and highly recommend the TR-800 to any worker who requires intrinsically safe technology to do their job.