What makes a welding helmet “ergonomic”?

Article By: Team AWS

Ergonomic (adj.)
Designed for efficiency and comfort in the working environment

There are countless welding helmets on the market that are advertised as having an “ergonomic” design. On the one hand, it’s true that all modern welding helmets have come a long way from the older ‘box-on-your-head-feeling’ models: however, there are a few telltale signs that make certain helmets a more natural extension of the welder than others. So, what makes a welding helmet “ergonomic”?

How was the helmet made?

Many self-described “ergonomic” welding helmets have a lens, harness and shell that have each been made at different places by different manufacturers. Only the sticker slapped on the side unites these parts under one brand.

By contrast, every aspect of a Speedglas welding helmet is devised by the same team as part of one streamlined design; built from inception to bring lens, harness and shell together as a coherent whole. This in turn means each component intuitively ties into the next, allowing the final product to amount to more than the sum of its parts.

How does it feel on your head?

When assessing the comfort of an auto-darkening welding helmet, an understandable priority for welders is the overall weight of the helmet: especially for those who are working long shifts. As a result, many brands will use the term “lightweight” as a selling point for their welding helmets, when there is actually more to it than a number on a scale. After all, you don’t wear a welding helmet on scales or in your hand: you wear it on your head.

Comfort and ergonomics are dependent on the helmet’s centre of gravity. As such, Speedglas head harnesses are crafted to evenly distribute weight across the top of the wearer’s head, creating a comfortable, balanced feel that eliminates pressure points and minimises neck strain over extended periods. The Speedglas G5-01 and 9100 series head harnesses feature two adjustable crown straps, along with a ratchet tightening mechanism, for a truly custom fit and more even weight dispersion. Also of note is the placement of the pivot mechanisms, which enables the helmet to rest closely and securely on top of the head.

This contrasts with the many front-heavy designs available elsewhere, as the lightest helmet in the world will feel heavy if its weight is concentrated to one area rather than being properly dispersed. Subsequently, a Speedglas helmet can feel lighter than another helmet that technically weighs the same: think of it like the difference between holding a cricket bat by the handle compared to the toe end.

Is the helmet versatile?

Across the board, Speedglas helmets are built to adapt to different welding applications AND different welders. For instance, their head harnesses are not only designed to avoid pressure points on your head, but also have a market leading 6 points of adjustment. This enables welders to perfectly tailor the fit of the helmet to the shape of their head, and again serves to evenly distribute the helmet’s weight, contribute to a lighter feel, reduce fatigue and ensure your comfort all day long.

What’s more, versatility doesn’t just apply to how a Speedglas helmet fits, but also how the helmet functions. A prime example of this is the smooth flip-up mechanism pioneered in the 9100 FX Air and now also included in the MP Air and G5-01. This is a game-changer in how it allows welders to seamlessly shift between welding and grinding by simply lifting the welding visor when necessary: helping to optimise welders’ efficiency and increasing their productivity.

The new G5-01 Heavy-Duty Welding Helmet takes this a step further, as its flip-up welding visor can be removed entirely for extended non-welding applications. This reduces the helmet’s weight by 35%, and can easily be reattached when necessary. Ultimately, this is one of many cutting edge and fully adjustable features that in turn make the G5-01 the most versatile Speedglas model yet.

Learn more standout features of the G5-01 here

What about the PAPR unit?

Just like the Speedglas helmets it is paired with, the award-winning 3M Adflo Powered Air Respirator is designed for efficiency and comfort over prolonged periods of use. This starts with the durable leather belt that comes standard with every unit: its large surface area evenly spreads the weight of the Adflo and offers additional back support, which is sure to pay dividends over the course of a long shift. Plus, the belt includes ventilation holes that maximise breathability for all day welding by allowing air to escape.

Alternatively, the Adflo can be worn on your back, using a backpack attachment: a truly ergonomic and exclusive solution that cannot be found elsewhere on the market. Many welders claim this improves the wearability of the Adflo PAPR, as it means you can share the load of the system across your back and shoulders as opposed to just your back. Moreover, the harness allows the Adflo system to access cleaner air away from the welding pool, arc and fumes while also protecting it from sparks, spatter and other materials.

Check out the Adflo backpack here

Check out the range of Speedglas welding helmets with Adflo PAPR

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