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Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

Author: Chris Mark
by Chris Mark
Posted: Aug 21, 2015

Welding helmets are crucial for the safety and protection of your eyes whether you are working in the garage or performing the work you are employed to do. There has been an evolution with the welding helmets in the last few years. This type of welding helmet not only offers protection, but also helps the welder to add a semblance of personal flair to his gear.

The welding helmets auto darkening should offer adequate protection from the following:

a) flying materials

b) splatter

c) emissions of radiation

What are the Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets?

The main difference between the auto-darkening welding helmets and other traditional types is the presence of the auto-darkening feature. These new types of helmets come fitted with the auto-darkening feature. The huge upgrade from the traditional welding helmets that required batteries for the auto-darkening feature to function is the main attraction.

Some modern helmets still require batteries or solar light to power the auto-darkening feature. Any person using such helmets for welding purposes is free to press the buttons or rolling knobs for adjusting the darkening feature to a preferred level. The fact that these types of welding helmets are not as heavy as the traditional types is also a welcome attraction.

Welding is often a laborious task regardless whether you are doing it as a mere hobby or a profession. Closing the lid to the lens might cause you to feel like a blind man in the alley without any idea regarding where or at what you are pointing. However, what the welding helmets do is that they eliminate the stress you might experience when welding.

The moment you light the flame, the auto-darkening feature on such helmets begins functioning thus making it easier for you to enjoy your job. The helmets make it easier for you to do your welding tasks. Therefore, you are likely to enjoy increased pleasure at the welding tasks that you have to do – all the time.

More importantly, the welding helmets should:

  • reduce the errors the operator/welder is likely to make
  • increase production
  • eliminate the effects of welder/operator/user fatigue that is common with other types of welding helmets that require constant upward and downward movement

Do not forget that the lens on the helmets darkens automatically the moment the light begins flashing from the weld. During the rest of the time, the lens can lighten to ensure that the welder has no trouble seeing whatever is in front of him. In the absence of the auto-darkening aspect, the lens would be completely dark making the welder’s task impossible.

Features of Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

The main feature of the auto-darkening welding helmets is that it should be effective in provision of adequate protection against all forms of hazards. This is crucial since the main purpose of the welding helmets is the provision of sufficient protection to a welder when at work. For that reason, the helmets should be strong enough and contain all necessary protective features.

The welding helmets must also be comfortable. This feature is a requirement by OSHA, and is applicable to welders operating in an area that is within OSHA’s jurisdiction. The welder needs to be comfortable when doing his work while wearing a welding helmet. Without comfort, the welder runs the risk of committing potentially fatal or disastrous errors.

A secure fit is a mandatory feature on all welding helmets. The helmets ought to fit the welder securely without interfering with either his movement or vision. More importantly, a secure fit also enables the welder to work comfortably, thus reducing the likelihood of committing costly mistakes when welding.

A good auto-darkening welding helmet is easy to clean. Remember that all tools used in welding and other similar tasks must be in excellent condition. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the helmets is one way of ensuring that these tools continue functioning excellently, thus not placing the welder’s life at risk or making his work that much harder.

The durability of the helmets is a feature worth considering when buying such tools. A good helmet should serve the welder much longer. Durable welding helmets are made using tough materials that do not succumb to the effects of wear and tear within a short period. Never purchase the welding materials if unsure of its durability.

Other crucial features that the helmets must possess include:

  • electronic shutter module, which contains Fixed/Static Infrared Filters, Ultraviolet Filters, photocells (also known as Light-dependent Resistors)
  • sensitivity adjustments
  • auto-darkening technology
  • lightweight, weighing between 534gms and 602gms
  • ergonomic design
  • delay controls
  • arc sensors
  • external/internal controls for grind and shade control
  • replaceable lithium batteries
  • solar cells

Factors to Consider when choosing Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

Before buying, it would be prudent to understand the factors that you need to consider first. The factors are as shown below.

a) Safety

The main reason for using welding helmets auto darkening is to enhance safety when welding. For that reason, never compromise on safety when buying such tools. Do a bit of research to choose welding helmets with a history of proven safety and enhanced protection. Remember that any compromise you make on safety places your life at great risk.

If the welding helmet is to offer you the desired level of safety, it must adhere to the ANSI Z87.1 requirements. The helmets that adhere to this requirement offer the welder or use adequate protection against the effects of the arc flash. A proper verification of the welding helmets (with the help of professionals) would be necessary to ensure that it satisfies this requirement.

b) Comfort

Comfort during welding is a crucial factor and one that you should consider when thinking of buying welding helmets. Lack of comfort when welding can lead to huge mistakes. For that reason, check that the helmets fit properly and possess all the necessary features that make them comfortable.

It is advisable to identify welding helmets fitted with sensor bars. Such helmets are perfect for users or welders who work in close proximity to others, thus require a way of avoiding any form of contact that could lead to injuries, damages or massive losses. Moreover, the sensor bars protects against unwanted darkening when the neighboring welders begin working.

c) Convenience

The helmets should be convenient to use. In this regard, check that the helmets are lightweight. The normal welding helmets tend to be too heavy, thus causing plenty of inconvenience when in use. Convenience also means choosing welding helmets that make work easier. Any helmet that offers convenience allows the welder to enjoy his welding tasks.

d) Style

The welding helmets should also enable the welder’s personal style to emerge. After all, the helmet should not only serve a functional purpose. A good helmet ensures that the user enjoys an improvement in his appearance while working. Fortunately, the market is full of various types of stylish auto-darkening welding helmets.

e) Cost

The cost of the helmets is an important factor. This is because a person who uses the welding helmet only once a month needs to avoid spending close to $300 or more on such a tool. However, for a person who welds frequently in a week or on a daily basis, the cost of the welding helmet should not be too much of a hindrance.

f) Specifications

A proper analysis of the helmet specifications is necessary prior to making a purchase. Some of the specifications worth analyzing include viewing area and switching speed. Power supply and UV/IR protection is also worth analyzing. You should also analyze the weight and operating temperature of the helmets.

Before buying the welding helmets, check the time it takes to darken. A good helmet should take not more than a second to darken. Checking the sensitivity of your eyes to the welding is a crucial factor. Therefore, to avoid damaging your eyes, it is prudent that you choose welding helmets with adjustable shades ranging from 9-13.

The delay as well as sensitivity settings are crucial because they allow the welder or user to make adjustments when welding in poorly lit surroundings or outdoors. Choosing a helmet with such features prevents the likelihood of being flashed when welding. If you pay premium rates for such helmets, it is only wise that you choose one that does not cause flashing.

Benefits of using Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets

Welding requires higher precision more than other types of tasks. Traditional welding helmets do not offer higher precision. If the welding helmet does not enhance higher precision, the welder or user has a bigger chance of doing a shoddy job, thus attracting the customers’ wrath. Higher precision eliminates the likelihood of suffering losses – time and monetary.

Good welding helmets remove the possibility of suffering injuries. The welding industry is replete with many instances of welders suffering injuries. Some of the injuries can render the welder incapable of ever working again.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that its increase the levels of efficiency among welders. In fact, research shows that efficiency levels can improve by as much as 30 percent when a welder opts to use the auto-darkening helmets. The welder is able to move from one weld and on to the next one with minimal fuss. It is for this reason that the regulatory authorities insist on having the right safety equipment in industrial setups. As a rule, ensure you have the right safety equipment whenever you are working in a company. Safety is a collective responsibility of every individual who is working in a company.

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Author: Chris Mark

Chris Mark

Member since: Aug 21, 2015
Published articles: 2

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