Whether you just got into the welding field or you are simply curious and want to know more about welding helmets, knowing how an auto-darkening welding helmet works is both interesting and useful. Unlike passive lenses, the auto-darkening ones have the ability to automatically darken when UV light is detected. While passive lenses don’t change color and require that the welder takes his helmet off in order to have full visibility, auto-darkening lenses allow the welder to work with his helmet on.
The tech behind auto-darkening welding helmets can be easily understood by anyone these days. Basically, the main idea focuses on one element: the auto-darkening filter. Brought by the Swedish manufacturer, Hornell, for the first time, back in 1981, this filter works with the help of an LCD shutter. Auto-darkening welding helmets are functional due to one or more sensors that detect bright light. During welding, light is extremely intese, which is why sensors immediately detect the change, causing the auto-darkening of the lens. The LCD shutter is electronic and can be controlled by users who can adjust shades or delay time. The more sensors a welding helmet includes, the better the welder will be able to perform.
The main reason behind this technology development in the field of welding is eye protection. Although the lens seems to be the only thing that matters when choosing an auto-darkening welding helmet, that is not entirely true. What is even more important is the size of the viewing area, which can turn an auto-darkening helmet into an almost useless device if its display is extremely small. Once manufacturers understood that, they started developing larger and larger viewing areas that now allow workers to perform greatly, without having to take the helmet off or make mistakes while welding.
Giving the fact that auto-darkening welding helmets have electronic LCD lenses, they only work if electricity is present. Therefore, it is easy to understand why welding helmets need batteries. Although some models are designed with non-replaceable batteries and others come with rechargeable or replaceable ones, they all need to take electricity from somewhere. Some of the modern products have various indicators on display, such as the low-battery indicator that becomes red when a low electricity level is detected. In order to avoid unpleasant situations while working, welders should always make sure that the battery level isn’t low before starting a project.
Most welding helmets with auto-darkening function are also equipped with solar cells, which makes them even better tools. Therefore, when exposed to sun light, batteries automatically recharge. This is mostly the case for helmets that come with non-replaceable batteries.
The great thing about the way auto-darkening helmets work is the fact that manufacturers need to comply to standard rules regarding technical specification. Therefore, all such devices must be validated before entering the market so that welders can benefit from all the advantages they pay for. Among the most important specifications are the switching speeds of colour, the shades’ settings, UV and IR filtering, high temperature resistance of materials and more.