The welding process is dangerous, especially for the eyes. It’s invented because every welder should be concerned about his eye’s safety. During welding, a welding helmet protects you from the unsafe ultraviolet rays from the arc. A welding helmet also guards your skin against hot temperatures or burn.
There are primarily two types of welding helmets: passive and auto-darkening helmets. The passive helmets are the traditional helmets that have been remarkably popular among welders for several years. Still, many welders are quite pleased with the performance of the passive helmets.
However, we have seen that the auto-darkening welding helmets have taken over the position of the welding helmet in recent years. It offers more dynamic features than a passive welding helmet. It makes the welding job safer and more comfortable.
How Do Auto Darkening Welding Helmets Work?
Adjusting the lens of a welding helmet manually can be frustrating. It kills the valuable time and lessens the focus of a welder. The greatness of the auto darkening helmet lies in that a welder can work without any intervals.
This is a must-have tool for welders due to its effectiveness. A welder perceives quite clearly thanks to the lens when the arc is not active. That’s why during a short break, he doesn’t have to take the helmet off. Therefore, the welding task becomes faster as the welder doesn’t need to put off his helmet.
A welder does not face any trouble to watch his workplace and knows where he keeps his tools and also checks the details of his work. All these can be done without removing the helmet for even once.
During welding, the auto-darkening welding helmet work like a sunglass. There are some sensors in the helmet which detect the arc when a welder lights the arc. Then the shades automatically go up. The expert welders recommend using a shade from 10 to a shade of 13.
The auto-darkening filter lens usually applies a shade of 3 or 4 filters when activated and go 10 to 13 when it strikes the arc. These lenses darken the moment they sense the arc and changes according to the intensity of the arc. Auto-darkening helmets are powered by either battery or solar power and sometimes the amalgamation of both.
The lifespan of an auto-darkening welding helmet is usually 3 to 5 years depending on its quality and how the welders treat it.
Tips For Choosing a Welding Helmet
Before you plan to buy an auto-darkening helmet, there are certain things you need to consider. Now, we’ll talk about the ANSI Standard for welding helmets. The safety standard for welding helmets is ANSI Z87.1 – 2003. Not all the welding helmet manufacturers provide this safety standard. So even if you see ‘ANSI Approved’, make sure that it shows the full ANSI Z87.1 – 2003 or Z87+ tag in the packaging.
It means that the welding helmet having this standard will protect against both ultraviolet and infrared rays. The main feature of the helmet is that it protects your eyes from damage even when the lens isn’t darkened. These welding helmets have light sensitivity and other useful functions.
The price of the auto-darkening helmet often varies on the reaction time. Generally, a professional welder uses a helmet having a reaction speed rating of 1/20,000. The benefit is that even welding for a longer period doesn’t affect the eyes. This headgear is expensive.
However, you need to consider that welding is laborious work. If you are into lighter welding, you can buy a helmet that has a slower reaction time. We do not recommend using this type of helmet professionally as switching speed is a crucial matter.
Welding helmets come with a variety of viewing area sizes. Having a bigger area size is more beneficial to a welder. Another thing to consider is the sensor. More than two sensors work better and a lot more coverage. Four arc sensors are the best for maximum eye protection. Nevertheless, for the lighter works, two sensors would work fine.
Unlike the passive helmets, the auto-darkening helmets require a power source. Auto-darkening helmets offer various power options such as batteries and solar powers. If you want your helmet to long last, a lithium battery is the best choice.
Nevertheless, these batteries are quite expensive and aren’t widely available. The AAA batteries are solar-powered and are used widely because they are quite affordable. The problem with these helmets is that most of them require direct sunlight to charge before use.
Last but not least feature that you should consider is the weight of the welding helmet. An extended period of using a heavy welding helmet might give you neck strain, headache, and fatigue. Choose a lighter welding helmet if you aim to work for a longer duration.
Currently, we have been watching the rise of the auto-darkening helmet. It gives safety to your precious eyes and skin. We hope that you have already a better understanding of the usage of the auto-darkening helmet. Happy welding.