Which feature is the first one you consider while choosing your welding helmet? If you are not a newcomer or are not using welding techniques not involving creating sparks or lights, you will definitely think of the auto-darkening feature.
Among different welding helmet types, auto-darkening is one. So how do auto-darkening welding helmets work? Why do you need them? What are the features that make it work? Is it safe to use?
You will find all the answers as you keep reading.
What Is An Auto-Darkening Helmet?
As its name says, the helmet features a glass lens to darken automatically in the presence of dazzling welding lights. Users consider it the best welding helmet due to the technology and the build that give you minimal distractions. Buyers who want effective welds should keep their eyes on this.
The helmets can do the darkening trick because of their filter lenses. The lenses, a kind of LCD, resemble devices with displays like digital clocks, TV, and other similar machines.
You will enjoy numerous advantages from an auto-darkening helmet. It will increase your pace of work, which a regular or passive welding helmet cannot do. The feature will show up every time an arc is there, helping you see through your lens clearly when you are not welding. That makes the job more comfortable.
Why Does One Need An Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet?
Most experienced users will say that a welding helmet is one of the most crucial gears a welder can have. There are lots of welding helmets, such as passive lens helmets and auto-darkening helmets.
The passive ones have a glass lens coated with UV and IR protection. You can use it for regular welding. Contrarily, the auto-darkening ones change whenever they can sense light.
So, no wonder why experts choose auto-darkening helmets over passive ones. Although they are costlier, they provide more protection. Plus, they become clear in a natural environment, allowing you to check your welding outcome without removing your blanket.
How Do Auto-Darkening Welding Helmets Work?
Since you now know the fundamental concepts about the darkening feature, let’s get to the main point – how does it work?
First, an auto-darkening helmet has lenses with IR and/or UV filters. They protect you from ultraviolet and infrared rays. They always stay activated whether light is present or not.
The filter is mostly composed of thin glass layers and metallic layers. Companies use aluminum oxide and silver to make them.
Metallic layers are highly effective at preventing IR radiation. Besides, the filter will not let the crystal panel melt since you weld using heat. And for the UV radiation, it will combine the polarization filter with the metallic layers to protect you. There must be both filters and layers to provide optimal protection.
Another thing used in the auto-darkening helmet is the polarization filter. There is a trio of polarization filters in these helmets. There are three polarization filters in an auto-darkening welding helmet to provide rigorous protection, meaning each filter reduces the light intensity from the arc.
You will observe that the manufacturers set the filter after the IR and UV filters perpendicularly. Thus, you can avail the darkest views for that angle.
Liquid Crystal Cells
Polarizing filters are set after the UV and IR filter layers. So, manufacturers design the liquid crystal cells in between the polarizing filters. When switched on, the cells help refract light. Due to them, you can see how the filters darken while reflecting light from your welding arc.
Light And Arc Sensors
The next major component of an auto-darkening welding helmet is the light and arc sensors. The helmet cannot recognize dangerous light requiring lens darkening without these sensors. There are several of them featured in each helmet.
The task of the light sensors is to filter the extra light out from the welding. On the other hand, the arc sensor puts up with the bright light coming from your arcs.
You have to switch on every helmet before starting your welding. It will begin at shade three initially but will go higher, varying with the arc demand or brightness.
Sensitivity Control And Delay Control
There are more pieces of the helmets to strengthen the helmet cases, one being the sensitivity controls. They make it comfortable for you to use the gear without pulling it to monitor your work. And because you do not need to adjust the lens while working, professionals recommend it highly.
However, I should mention that not everyone can adjust to the light intensity similarly. Some individuals cope better with bright light, while others cannot. So, it is good that the helmets do not come in one-size-fits-all shapes. It has options for you to change the darkening settings as per your demands.
Now come to the other one. The delay control determines the time duration your lens will stay darkened when the welding arc stops.
Most auto-darkening welding helmets let you pick the delay controls. If your project requires short processes, shorter delays will do it. You can set your timer for long periods for lengthier sessions. The significance is that it gives your eyes the time to get along with the light intensity.
So, I have broken down each key component of an auto-darkening helmet so that you understand how it works. Now let me answer the most asked question before concluding.
Is It Safe To Use An Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet?
It is safe to use an auto-darkening welding helmet. If you can use it right, it will be safer than the passive ones. You do not have to take them out frequently, which helps you focus on the work and enjoy it. The helmet also minimizes the possibility of getting injuries and making mistakes.
The one drawback of auto-darkening welding helmets is their costliness. But if you have read the article entirely, you know they are not over-priced. Instead, the safety and benefits outweigh the price to a large extent. So, if you want to decide which helmet you should buy, I hope you now have a precise answer.
Good luck, and thank you for reading!