Welding helmets are PPE headgear for welders which give protection to the skin of the welder's face and neck as well as the eyes. Welding can cause flash burns, with the intense UV light from arc welding techniques causing intense sunburn like damage including arc eye, which is extremely unpleasant. This can result in long term damage to vision. The heat of the welding process throws out intense infrared radiation, sparks, spatters of flux or molten metal and fumes. All of these are inherently unpleasant and are known to pose significant long term health risks to anybody involved in the welding trade: hobbyists too!
Since their introduction in 1937 by Willson Products, manufacturers have developed an impressive array of innovations and protective benefits. Crucial features of welding helmets to look out for, include: a viewing window that lets you see the work clearly before and during the welding process. In modern welding helmets, most of these windows have an auto darkening filter that is linked to sensors. The sensor detects the initial burst of light from the arc and electronically darkens the lens within milliseconds. The big advantage of electronic auto-darkening helmets is that welders have to get lined up for the weld, then drop the helmet into place by nodding their head. This saves time but also cuts out the risk of getting caught by a premature weld start before the helmet is down! Growing awareness of the danger posed by welding fumes has led to the development of helmets ventilated by an air filtering arrangement. This is often referred to as a PAPR - Powered Air Purifying Respirator system.
What is an Auto Darkening Welding Helmet?
Auto darkening helmets use an electronically controlled LCD shutter to react rapidly to the initial lighting of the welding arc. The light sensors in the front of the helmet can trigger the LCD filter to darken in as little as 1/25 of a millisecond!