Heavy-duty welders working at high amperages have specific needs. They want personal protective equipment (PPE) that offers:
- Good protection against radiation
- Clear visibility of the welding spot
- Effective respiratory protection capabilities
- Comfortable to wear
- Protection against welding spatter and grinding sparks
Based on these needs, heavy-duty welders should look for an integrated helmet system that has the following features:
- An auto-darkening filter (ADF)
- Flip-up visor functionality to seamlessly switch between welding and grinding tasks
- Incorporated powered or supplied air respiratory protection
- Easily accessible helmet adjustments that can also be reached during use without compromising respiratory protection
Variable Color Technology
Some new ADFs may have variable colors that allow welders to choose between different color tones for their dark state and offer shade settings up to 14 for higher amp welding. This includes the ability to:
- Choose between natural, cool, or warm tones for the dark state, which can help a welder select their preferred viewing contrast for welds and the most comfort for vision
- Select ‘darker’ dark states, which can increase comfort in applications that involve high amperages with a very bright arc such as FluxCore, Arc Air Gouging, MIG/MAG, etc.
Why change colors? The ability to change colors may help with the ability to see the weld puddle better, see the joint better and see the arc better. Welders may also want to change colors when welding on different materials and when using different welding applications/wires.
Integrated Respiratory Protection
Having an integrated welding system that builds in respiratory protection and easy-to-use functionality can significantly help in reducing the exposure to respiratory hazards. Welders should look for helmets that allow them to adjust settings without removing the helmet so as not to expose themselves to these hazards.
Welding in the Digital Age
Welders may also want to consider a welding helmet that has comes with an app for a smartphone that allows:
- Programming different memory modes such as settings for dark shades, sensitivity, delay, etc.
- Easily keeping track of maintenance to the helmet
- Instantly call up statistics, including: when the ADF was first activated; hours on; hours in the dark state; hours in the light state; and the number of on/off cycles
- Access to information such as user instructions, spare parts, accessories, purchase information/links)
- Extract and export data for analysis