Page 35 - MetalForming March 2011
P. 35

 Welding helmets can weigh as much as 3 lb., and that additional load is placed on the neck and cervical spine. Whether the welding helmet is in the up or down position, it adds weight and forward stress on the spine. In fact, a welder may generate more than 50 lb. of internal force in his neck and back. The further outside the spine’s base of support the external force is held, and the heavier the welding helmet, the greater strain on the neck muscles and intervertebral discs. If this force is held in this position for long periods of time, the intervertebral disc can tear and lead to herniation. To help prevent neck fatigue, strain and degenerative disc disease, lighter-weight helmets and those that don’t need to be nodded down are recommended.
ADF welding helmets also can help improve productivity. First, the time required for an ADF helmet to switch from light to dark is much less than the time it takes to manually lower a passive helmet, whether by hand or nodding. While the few seconds saved may seem inconsequential, they can add up to increased welding output when one considers the total time saved by an entire crew over a shift. In fact, research shows that a single welder can save an average of 4 min./hr. using an ADF helmet rather than a passive helmet. Based on an average labor rate of $16.5/hr., that productivity gain allows a metalformer to save about $1.10 for every hour welders wear an ADF helmet. Extrapo- late those figures and it’s possible to recover the investment in an ADF hel- met in just a few weeks.
Second, elimination of helmet nod- ding reduces the chances that a welder will jar the electrode from its starting position, helping to ensure more accu- rate welds that will require less rework.
Third, the ability of ADF helmets to afford a clear, unobstructed view of the weld in light and dark states further improves weld quality and welder pro- ductivity. And fourth (the cost benefits are starting to add up), ADF helmets may allow the welder to more easily work in confined spaces, where there
simply isn’t room to enter with the hel- met in the up position.
Comfortable = Productive
Common sense tells us that a com- fortable welder is a more productive welder. And while the purchase price of an ADF helmet compared with that of a passive-filter helmet may give some met- alformers pause, the productivity advan- tages inherent with ADF helmets more
than make up for the premium cost. Further, some helmet suppliers also make it easier for welders to cost-effec- tively upgrade the performance of their welding helmet by offering component systems. Users can mix and match standard headgear to different shells and lens options, and swap them out to optimize performance based on the application, without having to buy completely new helmets. MF
MetalForming/March 2011 33

   33   34   35   36   37