Welding can be a dangerous and challenging job that requires proper equipment and protection. The best protection for welding is a welding helmet. However, not all helmets are made equal and you must choose wisely which helmet will work for your needs. A good helmet should be considered an investment that will ensure your safety while working. This article will provide ample information about welding helmets and a concise study on different factors required to purchase a suitable welding helmet.
Why Do We Require a Welding Helmet?
Welding helmets provide a shield against the hazards of welding such as UV rays, infrared radiation, and X-rays. In addition, a good helmet can protect you from the dangers of green flashes when it reflects light of different wavelengths. Welding helmets are made to withstand extreme temperatures ranging from 100C to 500C. Thus, they must contain reflective glass or plastic with a coating for protection against heat.
Types of Welding Processes
1. Tig Welding (Tungsten Inert Gas) Welding
This type of welding is a common welding technique. This method of welding uses a tungsten electrode that contains an inert gas during the process. The process involves melting the materials at the joint by using a current of electricity while simultaneously rotating the tungsten electrode and feeding in filler metal through a shielded gas supply.
2. Stinger Welding
Stinger welding is used when working with aluminium and magnesium alloys. Stinger welding involves removing filler metal from the weld pool. The tungsten electrode is submerged in the weld and fuses together the joint to be welded while the scrap metal is detached using a plasma arc.
3. Gas Metal Arc Welding (Gmaw)
Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is used for forming joints with mild steel and stainless steel material. This technique uses a wire electrode protected by a flux during the welding process.
4. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (Gtaw)
Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is used for welding with or without filler metal to join two or more parts of metals and other materials with an electric arc. This method is often used for dipping or plunging the weld area into a bath of molten material to create a pool which ultimately fuses the parts.
5. Tack Welding
Tack welding is used to join two or more parts of metals or materials temporarily. Tack welding is often used in situations where the joints need to be welded repeatedly. It is also used to provide additional strength and support until the main welding process can be carried out.
6. Oxy-Acetylene Welding
Oxy acetylene welding uses oxygen and acetylene gas as the main elements in melting metals. This type of welding is used for joining all metals, including precious metals such as gold.
Choosing a Welding Helmet
Choosing the right helmet will depend on several factors. These factors are vital and should be considered and examined well before purchasing the welding helmet from a helmet-oriented store or online through different websites.
Some of the factors enlisted are as follows
If a shield is used, the helmet must have grooves on either sides. If there is no groove, then a spatter shield or cover can be used. The welding arc will spit tiny flecks at your face if you’re close to the welding process, causing potential harm and damage to your eyesight.
Most face shields are made of fiberglass and plastic. These types of helmets are much lighter and more comfortable but offer only minimal protection. However, the heavy protective liner is often the type of helmet most needed for industrial welding. This liner absorbs the heat and shock from the arc and protects a person’s face on all sides.
There are numerous types of welding helmets available on the market. Some of them are enlisted below:
Straight helmets are designed to protect the entire face and sides of the head. These can be harder to wear than the side-helmet helmets because they cover more of the head. When using a straight helmet, a shield is used to protect the face. The shield can be placed in front of the helmet or on the sides if there are grooves to hold it in place. People will often purchase a straight-helmet helmet with an attached shroud to help protect the neck and ears in most scenarios. These helmets provide safety from neck strain and come with an affordable price range.
Side Welding Helmets
These helmets are better for welding because they keep the jaw area under protection. The helmet reduces bulk and weight but protects most of the head area. They also minimize neck fatigue and stress that is caused by the static positioning of the professional welder.
Full-face helmets are often the best option for welding because they offer protection from all angles. It offers better peripheral vision and ensures optimal workability for long hours. These helmets are more comfortable in hot weather. Glasses can be worn underneath the helmet for added safety. However, these are a bit heavier than other options. These helmets provide safety from neck pain and stress.
Passive Welding Helmets
These helmets are used for arc welding with no requirement of an arc shield. They have many advantages and offer protection to the hands as well as the head. Full-face helmets are also available in passive models which are designed to protect the face from hot sparks and debris. However, be careful when choosing a high-quality passive helmet because it can get bulky.
Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets
These helmets come with electric light that automatically turns on upon activation of the power source. The auto-darkening helmet is useful, especially for people who do not wish to wear a protective mask or helmet. However, these helmets can only function in specific situations and should be used carefully while welding. Also, these helmets require a powerful source of electricity to function. They come with an auto-darkening lens that provides a clear and visible view, reducing eye fatigue and stress. Auto-darkening welding helmets are ideal for different types of welders including industrial welder, novice welder and others.
Solar-Powered Lens Helmet
These helmets are designed to protect the welders from the harmful UV rays emitted by welding fire. They work with solar power by using photovoltaic cells placed on the top of the helmet. These cells store energy and function in the absence of sunlight. In addition, the lens of the helmet is made of special material which blocks out these dangerous rays and reflects them to their source. The lens is a circular screen which is placed around the circumference of the helmet. However, these helmets are only helpful in welding situations where no other means of protection from UV rays or sunlight is available.
Fixed-Shade Lens Welding Helmet
These helmets can be used for both auto-darkening and non-auto helmets. However, they are not powered by electricity. Instead, a single shade is fixed to the helmet at all times. These helmets might pose problems in some situations because the eyes can still get damaged by bright flashes and flash flares even if the helmet is protecting them. However, they tend to reduce neck discomfort and uneven stretches.
Variable-Shade Lens Welding Helmet
These are the best and most common types of helmets and offer many advantages. These helmets come with a variety of shade options. The wearer can adjust the darkness of the viewing lens according to his/her needs. The headgears offer full protection but are less expensive than powered helmets. These helmets are powered by electricity which turns on when activated by your body movements.
The color of the welding helmet is a significant factor to consider. Darker colors absorb more heat than light colors. Darker colors are better in hotter conditions and lighter colors offer better visibility. One needs to know about the environment when choosing the color of the welding helmet.
The helmet costs can vary greatly based on the materials used. A helmet that offers better eye protection will be more expensive. Usually, a helmet with a better enclosure is more expensive than one without. The material and design of the helmet also has an impact on the price.
The weight of the helmet is crucial to a person’s comfort and can be an important factor when choosing the right helmet. Ensure that the helmet being purchased is light enough to wear for long periods without tiring your neck and shoulders.
A welding helmet is an important piece of equipment for anyone who wants to protect their eyes and face from harmful UV radiation while working with a welder. Some helmets even allow people to work without wearing a hood or cap underneath them.
A helmet is made from several different pieces and parts that must protect the eyes and mouth.
The visor is the part of the helmet that protects the eyes and face from UV rays. It is made of dark-tinted glass that blocks out harmful rays and other debris and provides a clear field of vision for the welder.
Protecting your eyes is as important as protecting your face while welding. A face shield should make contact with your upper lip to block dangerous particles from entering your mouth if they were to fly into the air.
The safety glasses or welding goggles are separate pieces of equipment that should always be worn underneath the visor. These provide extra protection for the face and eyes. Depending on the type of welder, they can be secured to the helmet in various ways.
A hood is usually worn over the helmet to protect the neck and ears. Some helmets are designed with a built-in hood.
The chin strap should be adjustable and durable to keep the helmet fixed while working and ensure easy removal if the situation calls for it.
A cap is worn underneath the helmet to keep the entire face safe from UV rays. Inside the hood, you can place a cap that will protect your face and neck from UV rays.
A mask is worn over your face to protect it from harmful UV radiation and personal injury. Your welding mask should be the right size so that it covers up all of your face and mouth. However, many people are not aware that they should also wear a cap for further protection.
There are various types of welding helmets present on the market including auto-darkening helmets, fixed-shade helmets, variable-shade helmets and others. Each helmet has its own characteristics and quality. A lens is also an essential part of the helmet. It provides infrared filtering, UV rays protection and safety from arc strikes. There are different types of lenses which include electronic filter lens, auto-darkening lenses, entry-level lenses and others. They provide efficient shade levels and larger viewing parameters.
Welding helmets are an integral part of the process itself and should be purchased with utmost care and know-how. Hope you found this article to your liking and will aid you in buying a durable and functional welding hood. You can also ask your welders’ colleagues for advice regarding the kind of helmet they buy and the kind of protective equipment used.