LeadHead Welding Helmets and Lens

Everything You Should Know About Welding Protection Equipment

Although welding looks like a rather easy process of joining metals together via pressure or temperature, it is not so simple. On the contrary, welding is a very risky procedure that includes lots of possible threats (flash burn, heat, ultraviolet & infrared light, sparks etc.), which must be prevented in any way. And it doesn't matter what is your personal skills. To avoid any risk it?????s important that all preventive measures and protection equipment are using to keep you safe while welding.

Welding Helmets as One of the Most Common Welding Accessories

In order to avoid any harm from welding, a welder may utilize several security tools, such as goggles, attires, hoods and others. But nothing can stand in comparison with a welding helmet, which is one of the most common and significant welding accessories. Let's face it: welding helmet is the best type of eyes and face protective shield.

The first introduction of a modern welding helmet was in 1937 by Willson Products. Since that time helmets were used as headgears while performing certain welding types to protect face, neck, and, most importantly, eyes from flying sparks (fragments of slag and hot metals), flash burn, infrared and ultraviolet light, heat etc. Most modern welding helmets include a tinted glass or tinted plastic window covered with a special filter called a lens shade. The number of lens shade denotes not a protection, but a brightness or darkness rate (10 - brighter, 13 - darker). Typical arc welding processes where they are used include: gas metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and shielded metal arc welding.

Also helmets & lenses assist in preventing or diminishing the effects of emission and other gases, which can lead to the following damages, usually caused by unprotected exposure to the highly-concentrated infrared and ultraviolet rays emitted by the welding arc:

  • inflamed cornea (arc eye);
  • retina burns (can cause loss of vision);
  • sunburn (uncovered skin damage).
That's why choosing the correct welding helmet will not only increase comfort and improve your welding ability, but will also result in higher quality welds and insure your safety. If you don't want your safety is compromised (helmets are susceptible to cracks), a special care should be taken when selecting a product, because you health may depend directly or indirectly on the type and quality of the helmet you choose.

Auto-Darkening Helmet vs. Passive Helmet

Welding helmets come in different varieties and sizes, and can be used for various purposes. So if you're not aware of the latest welding technologies and welding safety standards, then selecting the right helmet type may be confusing. Though, when it comes to a particular choice auto-darkening and passive (standard glass) helmets are most popular.

Passive welding helmets were common about 50 years ago, and they are still in use today. They have both their merits and demerits. Main benefits include: they are made of molded plastic, tinted glass filter (#10 shade), provide basic UV and IR protection, rather cheap ($20-$30). As for drawbacks, they are: it's difficult to keep the torch in the right position after lowering the helmet in workplace; it can be not enough space for flipping a helmet up and down when working in restricted areas (for example, under cars or trailers); neck's discomfort because of repetitive flipping up and down; inefficient helmet lifting and lowering.

Auto-darkening helmets are more preferred than passive helmets, because they are more handy and modified. Main pros are: it won't darken till the weld arc is struck, provide continuous UV and IR protection even when it is not activated, better protection for any welding type, and provide much improved vision and scope. Helmets of this type don't include cons of the passive ones. Auto-darkening helmets are divided into two types:

  • solar powered (designed for fusing outside in daylight, darkness gets adjusted in accordance with little changes in light intensity, instantly grow dim from the arc, no need to change batteries);
  • battery powered (designed for using in deep surroundings, changeable glasses).

Fixed Shade Lens vs. Variable Shade Lens

Fixed shade lens is used only when the same weld process is applied to the same material. But if you have a variety of materials and applications used, like in most of the welding fabrication work, then a variable shade lens, also known as auto-darkening welding helmet, is your best choice that will adjust to the correct darkness for your particular process.

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