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From GAWDAwikiarc welding to protect the face and neck. It is equipped with a filter glass and is designed to be worn on the head.  Welding helmets are available with standard fixed shade lens or with auto-darkening lenses (ADF). Many users find an ADF lens to offer greater productivity since the user can often continue to work without removing the helmet between welds. The lens on an ADF helmet will automatically darken when an arc is created and return to a clear lens when the arc is terminated. 
A helmet is a piece of equipment used in arc welding or metal cutting to protect the eyes, face, and neck from sparks, flashes, spatter, and UV rays during the welding and cutting processes. Helmets are equipped with a filter glass, and some helmets may have auto-darkening sensors and an auto-darkening lens (ADF).
Welding helmets are critically important for welders because welding emits ultraviolet light rays that are generated by the electric arc. The eye's cornea can become inflamed or the retina burned if not protected. Though dark face plates have been a standard piece of welding equipment for years, a welding helmet provides more complete protection and many newer helmets offer a wider range of features.
Auto-darkening helmets detect the brightness of the arc while welding and provide the appropriate level of shade so that welders enjoy maximum visibility without sacrificing safety.
Typically, auto-darkening helmets include three basic settings: shade, sensitivity and delay, and all settings range for 1 - 10.
- Shade: the density of the darkening shield; 1 being almost clear glass, and 10 the completely dark, unless focused on the light of an active arc.
- Sensitivity: the degree of light required to engage the shade. The brighter the light, the darker the shade.
- Delay: the speed at which the shade engages once light is detected.
The greatest advantage offered by a helmet with an auto-darkening filter is the ability to strike an arc and begin welding without using one hand to move the helmet into position. Auto-darkening helmets have between 2-4 sensors that will activate the auto-darkening lens when the welder strikes an arc.
Auto-darkening helmets also protect welders from bright flashbacks. Without an auto-darkening helmet, a bright flashback will produce short term eye irritation and possibly long term harm to a welder's eyes. The most expensive auto-darkening helmets have four sensors that can pick up flashbacks. Less expensive helmets will have two sensors that may not be as likely to pick up flashbacks in every welding position.
Many users find an ADF lens offers greater productivity since the user can often continue to work without removing the helmet between welds. Auto-darkening welding helmets are especially popular for MIG and TIG welding work since the weld joints are often quite narrow and one small error could ruin a welding job.
Power Sources for Welding Helmets
Batteries and/or solar power are typically used for most auto-darkening welding helmets. Helmets that are charged by solar power and have non-replaceable batteries will need to sit in direct sunlight in order to recharge. If the batteries for the auto-darkening lens are non-replaceable, then the lens will need to be replaced when the batteries wear out. Another option is to choose a helmet that uses replaceable batteries that can be recharged by solar power.
One feature that can drive up the price of a welding helmet is its weight-with lighter helmets going for a higher price. Welders enjoy lighter helmets since they cut down on neck strain while working. Weight is an especially important consideration for welders who are on the job all day. There is a significant difference between a helmet that weighs one pound and a helmet that weighs two pounds.
The code "ANSI Z87.1 - 2003" or "Z87+" means the American National Standards Institute and Society of Safety Engineers has approved the product. Products that say ANSI approved do not necessarily meet today's safety standards.
- Welding Equipment - Basic Equipment, Protective Gear
- Find the Best Welding Helmet - What You Need to Know
- How to Choose a Welding Helmet
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