By: Cooper Miller
Auto darkening welding helmets offer an intuitive protection to modern welders. These helmets automatically darken when a welder strikes the arc. They free the hands that in the past had to lift and lower the faceplate, or remove the helmet altogether to see. Many injuries have been eliminated by auto darkening helmets because they cover a welder’s eyes at all times without risking exposure to irritating fumes and flying debris. By instantly responding to light, these helmets auto darken when the welder strikes the arc and clear up after the welder shuts off the arc.
Auto darkening welding helmets prove especially useful to welders working indoors under poor light conditions. Traditional welding helmets can literally blind a welder if he has to suddenly cease welding and kill the arc, leaving himself in total darkness and subject to fall and/or injury. Because of this, many construction companies now require all of their welders to use auto darkening welding helmets so they can see to walk the buildings they are working in. Auto-darkening helmets also help farmers working outside because they react to sunlight much like the light an arc. In future years, it is very likely all welding helmets will be auto darkening not only because they are more convenient than standard helmets, but also because their ever-increasing precision allows for customized-eye protection—something Federal authorities and Insurance agencies may soon require.
There are two types of auto darkening helmets that welders use. One is battery-powered; the other is solar powered. Solar power is more convenient and efficient when working outside, but work deep inside of large structures, or even underground, will require battery-powered helmets. Both employ sensors to “know” when the light brightens, and when it is time to adjust the special glass in the face shield to block just the right amount of light. From time to time a welder calls in with the question, “Won’t the arc from my fellow welder trigger the auto darkening glass?” The answer could be yes or no, depending on the model in question. Basic models will grow darker with any exposure to arc light, regardless of the source. Deluxe auto darkening helmets have a sensor built into their design that “understands” the difference between the operator’s arc and a coworker’s arc. For private individuals working by themselves, it makes little difference, if any, if the helmet has an auto-darkening sensor like this. For a company, however, it is best to invest in high-end auto darkening welding helmets to have a sensor for secondary arc light. It simply makes sense to do so.
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[vimeo width=”200″ height=”150″]http://vimeo.com/7064305[/vimeo]