Protect Those Eyes With An Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
Author: Harry Nguyen Date Posted:12 October 2018
When it comes to welding, a helmet is the most important protective gear you can get. It is essential in protecting your eyes, at the same time having the right helmet can also increase your productivities and your weld quality. The most expensive and crucial part of a helmet is their lens. We will go into details the different type of lenses you can get in a welding helmet.
Passive vs Auto-Darkening Lens
Passive lenses are made of coloured glass and they don’t change in colours. It is slightly more inconveniences when you weld as you would need to constantly remove your helmet to get a better look of your work. While passive lenses on the market are a lot cheaper compare to auto darkening ones they do have some serious drawbacks.
- Inexperienced welders cannot see the electrode of the torch when they are starting to weld. This ultimately will result in a poor form of welds.
- Passive lenses will slow you down since you must repeatedly lift and lower the helmet. Also by constantly adjusting the helmet, the user can get careless and not strap the helmet on properly each time which could cause severe damage while welding.
Despite these drawbacks, they are still widely used by experienced welders who prefer the best budget welding helmets. These passive lenses are disposable and can easily be replaced at a low price.
Auto-darkening helmets are becoming more popular nowadays since it eliminates all the cons that a traditional passive lens have. When the helmet is not in use, the lens will stay clear, so users would have no problems seeing through it. As you start welding away, the lens will automatically adjust its shade according to how much Amps are involved in that welding process.
Due to the helmet stays in position before and after the weld, it makes welding applications a lot quicker by enabling you to consistently set your welding joints in the right positions.
An auto-darkening helmet will cost more than a traditional helmet and replacing the lenses can also be quite pricey. However, they are worth it in the long run as welders will be able to produce high-quality work as well as minimising their chances of hurting themselves. Many big welding sites across Australia are standardizing their workers with auto-darkening helmets.
Different Type Of Shades For Welding Lenses:
Welding helmet lenses are measured from #1 to #13. #1 is the brightest and clearest and #13 being the darkest shade which can be hard to see through. It is strongly recommended that you use the correct shade according to the AMP involved with your welding processes.
Use the table below to determine the correct shade you need for your welding applications. Note the number indicates the minimum shade you require, it is always safer to go slightly more than what is recommended.
Helmet Auto-Darkening Options:
Fixed vs Variable shades: A fixed Auto-darkening helmet will usually change its shade to #10 when it senses an arc, it is suitable for a welder who works with a small range of AMP. However, if a welder who works with different processes such as TIG, MIG or Stick then a variable shade is a better option. Variable shade will adjust its shade depending the AMP involves in your welding application. If your welding applications have a wide range of Amps then a variable shade helmet will provide your eyes with maximum protection.
Adjustable delay control: The delay control is a very handy feature with an auto-darkening helmet. It enables you to control how long the helmet stay darkens after you stop welding. This feature will protect your eyes in the long run, given when welding at the high AMP, molten metal can still be harmful to your eyes until they cool down.
Viewing size: It comes down to personal preference of how big the view you would like to have and how often you have to weld in odd positions. For a light duty application, the viewing size is around 6 sq. in. and a 9 sq. in. is suited for industrial use.
Lens reaction time: This indicates how fast the lens switches from natural state to darken states when it senses an arc. For a welder who welds all day, the continuous exposure to the arc light will cause eye fatigue so it is important that this feature is optimised and reacts as fast as it can to minimize any negative effects for welders.
A number of sensors: The more sensors the helmet has, the better the coverage you will get. When you are welding in odd positions the sensors are proven to be very handy. Two sensors are sufficient enough to assist casual welders. However, if welding is your profession and it involves a lot of out of position work, four sensors are strongly recommended to optimise your performance.
Other things worth considering when purchasing a welding helmet:
Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR): When performing any high-risk aerosol-generating procedures, a PAPR must be worn. These respirators help to protect users from TB exposure. A PAPR welding helmet is expensive but they are worthwhile for your own well being.
Weight: A suitable light helmet would minimize strain on the user’s neck. As your head constantly moves while welding, it can become rather painful if the helmet is too heavy.
Warranty: Opting for a genuine welding helmet will surely cost more than a regular budget helmet. However, a genuine welding helmet will not only meet all the Australian Standards, but it will provide you with a legitimate warrant.
Whether welding is your hobby or a part of your career, take time to research and decide what is the best welding helmet for you. A lot of people always look for a decent and cheap helmet, but the reality is you get what you pay for. Cheap does not mean it is the right one for you, your vision is priceless. Spend your money wisely on a reliable, high-quality and genuine welding helmet that will last while providing you with many long-term benefits.