Choose The Right Welding Helmet For Your Needs

Choose the right welding helmet for your needs

Welding helmets come in many shapes and sizes. Selecting the right one for your needs becomes a serious task for professional welders. They have to consider many different aspects of the job at hand – from welding type and the environment they work in the longevity of the project and the scale of the objects. Amateur and hobby welders are not so demanding, but still, they need to know the basics of the job to choose the right helmet.

We can classify helmets according to the way they stop UV radiation, the number of sensors they have, the size of the protective glass and so on. Keep reading to find out what are the most common types of helmets you can find on the market and how to choose one for your own, special needs.

Legal requirementsLegal requirements

Welding helmets have to comply with the ANSI Z87.1-2003 standard. It means they have passed independent testing procedures and proven to satisfy the requirements of the regulation. Helmets have to provide 100% protection against both infrared and UV radiation; they have to withstand high-speed impact from flying objects and meet specified switching speeds and darkness shades. All this in temperatures ranging from 23 to 131 Fahrenheit.

Basic types

Welding helmets come in two basic types: passive and auto-darkening lens helmets. Passive helmets are the ones welders place into position when they nod their head just about they are going to start welding. They have tinted glass with special coating for protection against ultra-violet and infrared radiation. This glass comes with a fixed shade value. Just before the welder is about to strike an electric arc, he flips the helmet into the right position.

These helmets are cheap, simple, economical and durable. But, they have some disadvantages. Most common problem for beginner users is the fact they have to position the helmet just at the right moment, and this often presents a challenge which can lead to weld defects and bad welds. Furthermore, these helmets are not that suitable for tack welding and making short welds; they can lead to neck fatigue and accidental arc flashes.

Auto-darkening helmets can alleviate these problems. They come with a special sensor to darken the lens automatically, as soon as the welding starts. They bring up the shade from the normal 3 or 4 grade to grade 10 or 13. And this happens very quickly, in about 1/20.000 of a second for industrial grade helmets.

Auto-darkening helmets This feature allows the welder to set up his helmet and start welding without having to worry about accidentally exposing his eyes to the bright light of the electric arc. It also reduces the chances of bad welds, easier welding and not room for neck strain.

Welding Safety

Welding Safety

Welding is inherently unsafe and unhealthy. However, with proper safety precautions, it becomes a harmless, everyday job. Modern technology allows welders to operate under difficult conditions without being in danger of jeopardizing their health. Still, with all the technology at our disposal, adequate procedures have to be respected. Welders need to protect their skin from the extreme heat generated in the process of welding, and their eyes from hazardous UV radiation.

Skin protection

The most common risks connected with welding are burns and fires because welding involves an open electric arc or flame. Welding is, therefore, described as a hot work process. Welders need to use extensive personal protective equipment which includes industrial grade leather gloves and long-sleeve jackets. It protects the skin on their hands and arms from exposure to extreme heat.

Eye protection

Another vital organ weldersAnother vital organ welders need to protect are the eyes. Welding process creates bright light which can be a very serious hazard. Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation created while welding, without proper protective equipment like a welding helmet, will lead to a condition called arc eye. This problem leads to cornea inflammation and burned retinas. Ever since modern welding was invented, welders utilized welding goggles and helmets equipped with UV-filtering plates.
The welding process creates a burst of UV radiation in the form of bright light which can endanger not only the welder but the bystanders around the welding area, as well. The welding area is usually surrounded by special welding curtains. They are PVC film; translucent curtains positioned to shield people from the electric arc UV radiation.

Fume Exposure

dangerous fumesBesides heat and light, the welding process creates dangerous fumes. Some welding procedures like flux-cored arc welding or shielded metal arc welding create smoke which contains hazardous gasses and particulate matter. Smaller particles present a very danger because they can cross the blood-brain barrier, leading to severe health problems. Welding has to occur in well-ventilated areas where gasses like carbon dioxide, ozone, and heavy metals leave the space immediately.Exposure to dangerous fumes which contain manga, even at very low levels, can lead to severe neurological issues and damage to internal organs.
Welding is an integral part of many production processes, and modern industry is unfathomable without it. The inherent risks connected with welding are manageable thanks to modern technology, good labor procedures and safety precautions and equipment, such as welding helmets, suits, and masks.