3M™ Speedglas™ Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about 3M™ Speedglas™ Welding Equipment, Welding Helmets, Welding Respirators or Welding PPE? Search through our library of our most frequently asked questions below. 

How do I choose a welding helmet?

Which welding helmet is best? Where can I read welding helmet reviews or welding helmet ratings? Where do I find information on welding helmets? Since Speedglas™ released the first auto-darkening welding helmet ever in 1981 there has been an explosion of welding helmet brands and products available. This makes choosing the best welding helmet for you a confusing task if you are not sure what you need. Since inventing and launching the first auto-darkening welding helmet, Speedglas™ has continued to set the benchmark for Safety, Versatility, Performance and Comfort with exclusive features and superior manufacturing techniques in its range of welding equipment. To select the best Speedglas welding helmet for you, we recommend using the Welding Helmet Selector Tool or view the complete Speedglas range. Prefer to read reviews? No problems. Visit our welding helmet reviews page

Where can I find and search for Speedglas part numbers?

What Speedglas Part number do I need? If you have an existing Speedglas welding helmet and you are looking for a Speedglas spare part it has never been easier to locate the part number you are after. Simply use the Speedglas Spare Part Finder Tool to track down the exact helmet spare parts you need. You can then review product images, product information and find your nearest distributor or buy the Speedglas spare parts online.

I can’t find my Speedglas Spare Part? Plate markings.

Do you have a Speedglas part number but can’t find that part number anywhere on this website? It’s stamped on your 9000 series Speedglas inside cover lens, outside cover lens or grinding plate. It’s likely that you are not looking at a local part number but rather a plate marking. 

Speedglas Plate Markings: 

Plate Marking 

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What safety measures and safety equipment are needed for welding?

Safe welding practice requires recognition of the welding hazards, evaluation of the risks and implementation of control measures to protect welders. To cover this subject in more detail we have created a Welding Safety Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on this website. Or click here for more information on the Speedglas 9100 with Adflo PAPR or the Speedglas welding helmet series 9100 with V-500E SAR.

How can I care for and maintain my welding helmet or welding respirator?

A welding helmet and respiratory system protects you but what protects your equipment? And how and how often should a welding shield care & maintenance schedule be carried out? When it comes to auto darkening welding helmets with respiratory protection, consumables and respiratory filters must be changed at suitable intervals to maintain the desired level of protection. The Care & Maintenance Tool can help assist you in understanding what needs cleaning, checking and replacing and how often.

Why Speedglas Welding Helmets? Why does Speedglas have such a good reputation?

3M™ Speedglas™ released the first auto-darkening welding helmet ever and with its exclusive technology has been the benchmark for welding equipment and welder’s personal protection ever since. Understanding why Speedglas scores so highly in welding helmet reviews and welding helmet ratings and is considered the market leading welding helmet brand on the market is best understood by putting one on your head and literally seeing the difference. To do this, you can book an obligation free demo on any welding shield on this site.

Are there Welding Helmet Classifications Ratings and what do they mean?

Welding lenses can be classified across 4 optical class ratings. These welding helmet ratings are usually stamped on auto-darkening welding lenses in the following format: 1/1/1/1. The numbers represent how well the welding lens performed against the 4 criteria points. The points system ranges from 1 to 3, where 1 is the best and 3 is the worst.

1) Light Distortion Light distortion is the first number in the sequence. Quality manufacturing processes must be used to ensure that the auto welding lens glass packs and internal elements are lined up correctly as to not distort the light.

2) Diffusion of light The second number in the sequence. If poor manufacturing processes are used in the manufacture of the welding filter glass packs then small particles can be left throughout the welding lens which will affect the crispness of your vision.

3) Uniform shading looking through glass pack at a 90 degree angle

This is the third number in the sequence. This is a measure of shade consistency across the entire auto-darkening welding lens. The lens needs to have uniform shading across the entire lens area. So this auto welding helmet lens classification test measures the shade consistency across the entire welding lens from a 90 degree angle.

4) Uniform shading looking through glass pack at an angle below 15 degrees.

Similar to the test above this is also a test of consistency of shade and is the fourth number in the sequence. This looks at whether the shading is different when you look through the welding mask auto lens at an extremely acute 15 degree angle. Disparity in shade comes about because you are actually looking through a thicker area when looking through the glass pack at a 15 degree angle than when you look through it at a 90 degree angle.

The classification system is a good guide but doesn’t take into account new technology or features like Speedglas TrueView. Speedglas TrueView allows the welder to more readily recognise colour and contours giving crisp natural vision. As always, the best way to gauge or judge vision is to try the helmet yourself. Obligation free Speedglas helmet demos are available on every welding shield on this site – book one today starting from our welding helmet overview page or welding helmet product selector

How important are the number of photo-sensors on a welding helmet?

More welding lens photo-sensors does not necessarily equal better.

Photo sensors detect the light from the welding arc and trigger the auto-darkening lens to darken. In circumstances or applications where the welder’s arc emits less light and becomes more stable (eg. TIG welding) the need for more sensitive welding lens sensor technology becomes increasingly important. Having more welding lens sensors does not make a welding shield more sensitive. So how do you determine how sensitive a welding lens is? All auto-darkening welding helmets have a sensitivity rating - the 3M Speedglas Welding Helmet Series 9100XXi has the market leading and best rating possible, rated for welding down to 1 Amp.

Welding lens photo-sensor position is extremely important.

If a photo sensor is obstructed from viewing the welding arc it will not react, especially during TIG welding applications where the arc emits less light and becomes more stable. So maybe having more sensors is better during TIG welding i.e. less chance of all sensors being obstructed? When TIG welding both hands are required and the welder’s hands can block the sensors positioned on the edges of the auto-darkening lens. Therefore more important than quantity is the placement of the welding lens sensors. A centre-sensor is extremely important for TIG welding and professional TIG welders.

Therefore, when it comes to welding lens sensors, the sensitivity and the position of the sensors is what welders should ask about.... Not the number of sensors.

Explore the new Speedglas 9100 Welding Helmet Series with TrueView, capable of detecting an arc down to 1 amp.

Is there a Welding Helmet Guide or Welding Shield Overview?

To view the Speedglas welding helmet range with a brief overview of all the shields and systems please view the welding helmet overview page. If you are looking for a welding helmet guide on which auto-darkening helmet is best within the range to suit your specific and individual welding requirements then please use the welding helmet product selector. For welding helmet reviews and welding helmet ratings please visit the Speedglas Welding Helmet Product Section of the website.

Can you add an Adflo PAPR to a non-respiratory Welding Helmet?

Is it possible to upgrade your current non-respiratory Speedglas 9100 welding shield to a respiratory welding helmet with the Adflo Powered Air Purifying Respirator or the V-500E Supplied Air Regulator? The non-respiratory welding masks cannot be retro-fit into respiratory helmets by simply adding an air-duct. The non-respiratory 3M welding helmets have a fog reduction vent and no face seal which means that the positive pressure seal that is required for welders’ respiratory protection would be broken. However, you can save considerable cost when upgrading by taking your existing 9100 welding lens and inserting it into a welding helmet respiratory system which you can purchase without the auto-darkening welding lens.
View the 3M Speedglas upgrade kits in the Speedglas 9100 powered air section.

What is the Warranty on Speedglas Welding Helmets, Batteries, Motors & other components?

All Speedglas welding helmets come standard with a three year revolving warranty on the auto welding lens. The Adflo PAPR is covered under a revolving warranty for two years. All other Speedglas parts and products including Speedglas batteries are covered under a manufacturer’s revolving warranty of one year. The Speedglas revolving warranty means that should you ever experience a problem with your Speedglas shield or welder’s respiratory system within the warranty cover period, your period of cover will start again once you receive your replacement product. You can extend your Speedglas period of cover by an extra 12 months by registering your welding helmet here. For more warranty information on specific products please visit the specific helmet page, review the user instructions or contact us. View the Speedglas Welding Shield Overview.

What respirator mask, filter or respiratory protection should be used when welding?

Respiratory protection is always recommended when welding. Knowing which filters to use or type of respiratory protection required when welding is based on a number of factors: material to be welded, welding process, toxicity of the various airborne hazards, concentration of pollutants and ventilation conditions of the working environment. Selection of the right welding respirator and welder’s protective equipment is easy once the airborne hazard has been identified and quantified. The 3M™ Speedglas 9100 series with the Adflo Powered Air Welding Respirator is suitable in areas where the airborne hazard concentrations are up to 50 times the exposure standard. The 3M™ Speedglas 9100XXi series with the supplied air V-500E regulator is suitable where the airborne hazard concentrations are up to 100 times the exposure standard.

For more information on which welding respiratory equipment & systems are suitable and which filters should be used when welding different types of materials go to the Welding Safety FAQ section. Click for more information on the Speedglas 9100XXi with Adflo PAPR or the Speedglas 9100XXi with V-500E SAR.

What is the difference between the different filters offered with the Adflo PAPR?

The Adflo particle filter (Part No. 837010) is used to capture airborne particulate contaminants like welding fume. It has been tested and performs to PAPR-P3 level i.e. capture efficiency > 99.95% against the challenge aerosol used by AS/NZS1716.

AS/NZS1715:2009 gives the Adflo PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) fitted to any of the air fed Speedglas shields a Minimum Protection Factor of 50.

Welding operations produce welding fume (i.e. a particle exposure) but can also generate amounts of organic vapours. These are produced by the arc reacting with the oxygen in the air and creating ozone and also from the combusted components of any coatings, oils or grease that may be on the work pieces. To capture all of these, an organic vapour carbon filter is suitable. For the 3M Adflo Welding Respirator, there are two approaches – as well as the Adflo particle filter, use the higher capacity “A” rated filter (Part No. 837542) or the smaller capacity Adflo odour filter (Part No. 837110) which can be suitable depending on the actual scale and style of welding being done.

The 3M Adflo gas filter (Part No. 837242) protects against nuisance level organic, inorganic and acid gas.

An Adflo pre-filter (Part No. 836010) and particle filter (Part No. 837010) are always required when using the Adflo PAPR. The “A” rated gas filter (Part No. 837542), the smaller capacity odour filter (Part No. 837110) and the nuisance level gas filter (Part No. 837242) are all optional based on your individual requirements.

For more information on which filters should be used when welding different types of materials go to the Welding Safety FAQ section. Or click here for more information on the Speedglas welding helmet 9100 with Adflo PAPR.

How long does a PAPR respirator filter last and how often should I change them?

How long the respirator filter will last depends on the material being welded, welding application, concentration of fume and the working environment. The Adflo welding respirator comes standard with a particle filter indicator which visually and audibly alerts the welder to the particle load status of the PAPR filter. The welder should change the particle filter when the first red light is reached. The pre-filter should be changed to extend the life of the particle filter. For advice on the care & maintenance of your Speedglas respiratory welding equipment and a guide on how often parts including filters should be checked or replaced please use the welding shield and respirator Care & Maintenance Tool. Click here for more information on the Speedglas 9100XXi with Adflo PAPR.

How does an Auto-Darkening Welding Lens Work?

With the helmet in the safe down position, you have a clear view through the auto-darkening lens. Both of your hands are free and the electrode can be precisely positioned.

Within 0.1 milliseconds of the arc strike, the lens has switched to the dark state.

The lens automatically returns to the clear state after welding is complete, allowing your immediate and safe inspection of the weld pool, as well as preparation for the next weld.

An auto-darkening welding lens allows you to work faster and more accurately than a passive helmet and is safer due to the welding shield being kept in the down position at all times.

Click here to explore the complete range of Speedglas welding masks or here to learn more about the Speedglas welding helmet brand.

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