The second line of defence for a welder against harmful fume is the Air Fed Welding mask, with Foster offering a number of clean air options from the 3M Speedglas Adflo to the Weltek Navitek S4 & the Foster Prem-air system.
Operators not wearing an Air fed welding helmet, need to know about welding fume & it's harmful effects: In February 2019, the Health & Safety Executive issued a warning around all welding fume, linking it to lung cancer. There is no known safe level of exposure to fume and we urge all users to review their processes, local exhaust ventilation & respiratory protective equipment. Taking away all welding fume from the operators breathing zone is virtually impossible, so we recommend air fed welding masks are worn.
It is important to tackle welding fume in the workplace in two stages; Firstly, make sure welding fume released is controlled adequately by installing LEV & secondly, protect the welder from breathing in any residual welding fume by issuing an air fed welding mask.
Your choice of Air fed welding helmet should consider a number of factors such as; welding filter specification(clear view technology), headgear, grinding options and level of protection. You can maker deeper assessments before buying your air fed mask around PAPR battery charging times, particle filter life, blower unit weight & the general cost of consumables. If you are a spectacle wearer, it is important to fit test the welding helmet or ensure you can fit an extra magnifying lens.
Selecting the right air fed welding mask for the job.
1./Flip top grinding options(where grinding is prevalent)
There are a number of systems which sit under this category. The Prem-Air GX is great value and offers true view lens technology, a comfortable headgear & P3 filtration, whilst those seeking a magnifying lens & heavy duty battery option would need to opt for the 3M's blue chip Adflo 9100xxi FX. This can be flexxed further by upgrading to the MP or MP lite hard hat options.
3M's introduction of the heavy duty G5-01 with Adflo has taken air fed welding helmets to another level. It's G5-01VC variable lens technology allowing the operator to view in natural, cool or warm colour. A smart phone app allowing the user to save dark shade, switching & delay settings. An optional task light on the head top front offering a better view into dark corners.
Three other head top enhancements from the 9100 air head top stand out. Air flow adjustment allows the welder to change the directional flow and the headband, often a bug bear with welders, has more adjustment & a comfy back of head pad. Additionally, the head top can moved closer or further away from face with a headtop lever adjuster. If you want to grind all day, the welding head top can be removed reducing weight.
The G5-01 with Adflo is incredibly versatile, with lots of additional extras available to enhance safety. A hivis head covering can be purchased, in addition to two extra head coverings, which push the protection factor of the system to 1000.
2./ Air Fed welding head tops, non-flip.
Whilst head tops with flip up grinding options over versatility, they carry extra weight, so if you rarely grind, save yourself the burden.
Most headtops carry a grind only mode in any case, one such model being the Foster Prem-Air Pro.