Welding arcs are intensely brilliant lights containing ultraviolet and infrared light rays that can cause eye damage. During the welding process the welder needs protect his / her eyes using a welding helmet to protect against the dangers of arc radiation. Not only do welding helmets protect against the bright light that welding produces but also from heat and flying fragmets of slag and hot metals.
Choosing the correct Welding Helmets
Putting some thought into choosing new welding mask often poses a few questions, here are some points to make your buying decision easier.
Welding Helmet Lens
Firstly the lens shade number is often seen as the higher the number the more protection your eyes have. In reality good a quality welder helmet lens will have screen filters that filter 100 percent of harmful ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) rays. So the eyes are protected regardless of the shade number. The number ( 10 being brighter 13 being darker) denotes the amount of brightness or darkness while welding. The particular lens chosen should be suited to the weld shop project and amperage of the work being welded. It should provide the best visibility for the operator so the weld puddle can be seen clearly.
Auto Darkening Helmets
An automatic welder helmet won’t darken until the weld arc is struck. High-quality auto darkening helmets provide UV and IR protection even when the helmet is not activated, so you are always protected, even during that split- second before the lens darkens. For maximum comfort, look for a high quality helmet such as hobart welding helmets that have a response darkening time of 4/10ths of a millisecond, as less than a millisecond is not perceivable by the human eye.
Auto darkening welding helmets are essential for efficient productivity, in some manufacturing applications, such as fences and production work it can mean the difference of running at a profit. You or your staff need the best welding gear to do the best work, buy the best visor you can afford, look after your eyes and enjoy your welding.
Auto darkening welding helmets offer the best protection for any type of welding and give the welder much improved vision and scope when starting a new weld.
Fixed or Variable Shade Lens
If you are generally using the same weld process on the same material, a fixed shade is sufficient. But if you, like in most welding fabrication work, are using a variety of materials and working on a number of different metal fabrication jobs, your best bet is a variable shade, or auto darkening welding helmet , which will adjust to the correct darkness for your particular process. For instance, when you are using a Mig at lower amperages, you may need to lighten up the lens to see what you are doing – a variable shade will permit this while a fixed shade will not.
Variable shades are often used when a variety of applications and materials are being welded, such as arc and tig welding being switched on the same job.
Solar Powered or Battery powered lens
Generally it is a choice of personal preference and what is most convenient to the operator. One thing to watch for is getting “flashed” with battery-operated visors. These will automatically turn off the battery after the helmet has been sitting idle. If the welder isn’t careful, he could get arc flash thinking that his helmet is still turned on. Most modern welding visors have screen filters to prevent this however. Solar powered also offers the convenience of not having to worry about changing batteries.