Planning to buy a welding helmet? The market has a lot of options like auto-darkening or passive lens, variable or fixed shade, 2, 3 or 4 sensors and varying viewing sizes.
Choosing The Right Welding Helmet
To begin with, look for a welding helmet which meets the recommended ANSI Z87.1 to 2003 standards. This basically means that lenses and helmets have passed independent testing that proves its survival from high-velocity impact from flying objects. It also ensures 100 percent infrared and ultraviolet filtering irrespective of shade setting.
It also meets switching speeds as advertised along with darker shades in 23degrees F low temperatures and 131degrees F high temperatures. Low temperatures may result in causing a delay in LCD switching times. The companies must ensure clear information to the buyers when marketing their range of welding helmets, focusing on pros and cons of each. It will help buyers make the right buying choice.
Auto Darkening Versus. Passive Lens
The shade numbers on welding lens refer to the ability of the lens to filter light. Many welders prefer going for darker shades welding helmets as it meets ANSI Z87.1 meaning complete protection against harmful Ultraviolet as well as infrared rays. In case of low amp applications, it may be in a range of #8 while in case of high-amp applications, it may be in a variety of #13. Additional ranges of #3 to #8 may be included in top-line helmets for cutting and grinding.
Passive lens, on the other hand, uses IR- & UV- coated with dark-tinted glass that comes with a fixed shade-value of #10. It is usually worn in the up position when the gun, torch or electrode is positioned. With a quick snapping of the neck or a nod, the welder flips it into position right before striking an arc.
Why Welders Prefer Auto-Darkening Lens Over The Passive Lens?
Although the passive lens is also common in use as it has passed the tests of time and has proven to be a cost-effective solution, certain drawbacks make it the second choice after auto-darkening lens. Some of these drawbacks are-
• For a new welder who doesn’t weld often, positioning the electrode may be slightly tricky while snapping up this helmet into place. It results in poor weld start, leading to weld defects. It may also require excessive grinding.
• The constant flipping of helmet up and down results in neck strain and fatigue. Sometimes, it also results in stress-related injuries.
• The helmet fails to lock into position or sometimes, it may also lead to inadvertent arc flashes even before the helmet is in place. It can result in an injury.
Auto-darkening lenses address these shortcomings; hence it is preferred by the welders over the passive lens. It has #3 or even #4 shade even in an inactive state through which one can quickly look through. The lens darkens as soon as the helmet sensors sense an arc to shade #8 up to #13.
Moreover, the helmet stays put before, during as well as after welding. As a result, the auto-darkening welding helmet ensures setting up welding joint positioning the hood correctly. Thus, it is entirely possible to indulge in cutting-edge using the welding helmet.
There is no longer any need to lower the helmet or indulge in head snaps. This way, there is no chance of sloppy starts as the torch moves. There is no need to lower or raise the helmet for tack welds. Thus, the welder has no problems associated with the neck strain.