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The Next Welding Helmet _



Janis Beinerts


Table of content Introduction Abstract Welding background

4 5

Method Welding industry Welders tasks Problem analysis Welding helmets Respiratory systems Technology Conclusions Goals and Wishes

6 7 8-9 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 17

References Index of Web sources Index of figures

18-19 20-21

Appendices Study visit 1 Study visit 2 Study visit 3 Study visit 4 Time schedule Personal action plan


22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32-33



Introduction Abstract This is a brief for Thesis project at Advanced Product Design Master program. The aim of this project is to identify the problems in the manual welders environment. Look at welding tools, safety equipment and work specific aspects with a deeper focus on UV / toxic fumes protection and work efficiency. It is a 20 week project during which it is planned to get insights from the users and manufacturers to see how a personal safety equipment for a manual welder could look like in the nearest future.


Welding industry forecast

Health and safety

Rising construction and manufacturing activity worldwide, growth in the automobile industry, increasing demand for energy, and the emergence of friction stir welding technology are the key factors fuelling the growth of the welding equipment market. (1) According to the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics, the demand for skilled welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are expected to grow at a rate of six percent through the year 2022. (2)

Welding may be a lucrative job, but it comes with health hazards. Health and safety in the welding industry have witnessed a significant improvement over the last few years. Though, to be fair, there is still work to be done. In most countries, there is extensive legislation that assigns responsibilities to employers to take reasonable care of health and safety at work for their workers, including the workshop environment, electrical safety, fume, noise, hand-arm vibration, MSD, optical radiation, burns and mechanical hazards, gas bottles, welding in difficult situations. Welders must familiarize with these factors and have ways to minimize their exposure to those dangers. By so doing, they will enjoy their work more.(4)

It does not matter if it is building bridges, nuclear power plants, windmills or drilling for oil. Welders are going to be needed as long as the world needs energy, infrastructure and defence products. The future outlook for welders just keeps looking better. (3)

2 5

Method Manual welding industry Welding is a career that offers more choices of industries to work in and advancement opportunities than just about any other career choice. Welders are needed in almost every industry:

- Manufacturing - Petroleum industry (manufacturing, repairing rig base, oil pipelines, storage tanks) - Ships manufacturing - Aircraft industry - Petrochemical, chemical industry - Hydroelectric, thermoelectric industry - Cement industry - Bridge, tunnel industry (4)


Welders typical work tasks

Important qualities

Weld / join metal parts, fill holes, indentions, or seams of metal product using a hand-held metal joining equipment. Studying blueprints, sketches or specifications

Detail oriented Manual dexterity Physical stamina Physical strength Spatial-orientation skills Technical skills

Calculating dimensions to be welded Inspecting structures or materials to be welded

Maintain equipment and machinery

Welders across industries

61% Manufacturing 5% Wholesale trade

Work environment

11% Construction 5% Other services (5)

Welders may work outdoors or indoors, sometimes in a confined area. They may work on a scaffold, high off the ground, and they occasionally must lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions


Manual welders most common problem areas The welding fume and hot cutting processes is a varied mix of very fine particles and air-borne gases that can cause health problems if inhaled. Harmful gases present in the fume can be Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Argon (Ar), Helium (He), and Ozone (O3).

A lot of these problems can be preventable if proper equipment is chosen to work with. But the actually industry shows that workers often choose not to use some protection equipment in order to feel more comfortable or increase their work efficiency. Which of course can lead to serious health problems in the long-term.

Top 4 occupational health hazards of welding are respiratory illnesses, vibration issues, noise related problems, and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). (4)

3 The very first welding masks in 1942.


UV radiation:

Visibility of the weld / surrounding area:

Exposure to radiation from an arc can cause skin burns, eye damage and potentially skin cancer. Often in workplaces the unprotected Passers-by are exposed to this radiation more than welder itself.

Welders helmet has limited field of view. And especially when the actual welding is performed when tinted protection glass make it difficult to see anything else but a bright welding sparks.

Toxic fumes:

Evaluation of metal temperatures:

Respiratory problems include pneumonia, occupational asthma, cancers, metal fume fever, irritation of throat and lungs, temporarily reduced lung function.

Reaching the right level of temperature is crucial. This insures strong welds. It can also be needed to preheat the metal and also ensure slow cooling after the welding to prevent internal stresses into material. But it is hard to estimate the temperature with human eye, so it is common to grab a hot peace of metal and get burns.

Heat: Welders have to wear a protection gear to avoid pain and injury arc flash. Burns and mechanical hazards: Welding creates a number of molten droplets of metal that are scattered in all directions. Essentially, the welders wear clothing that won’t burn or melt. Noise: Electric arc welding can produce harmful levels of noise. The other tasks that welders do and the environment they work in are often also noisy. Communication with others: The welder is quite isolated. His visibility during the welding is low, it is often a loud environment and they often work alone

Knowledge of needed welding settings: A welder has to know what welding setting a specific task needs to have and has to adjust those setting manually. Has to have a good knowledge of the materials and their behaviors. Has to know proper safety measures. Musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) The manual handling implemented by welders that are regularly repeated or involve twisting and turning into the awkward postures can be especially hazardous. Electricity / gas: These factors need so handled with care and high responsibility in order to avoid work accidents. (4)


Welding masks Welding helmets are a type of headgear used while performing welding in order to protect you from harmful radiations emitted during the process. 90% of workplace eye injuries are preventable with use of a proper safety eye-wear. Welding helmets also protect your face, neck against the flame and flashes generated during the welding. It is recommended to choose helmets with auto-darkening with enough light sensors, as light as possible (500-800g) and with wide viewing area. Most of all it is crucial to chose the helmet that fits the intended task.


General choice recommendations: - Auto darkening lenses instead of passive darkening lenses. - Replacable battery instead of non-replacable. - Solar powered instead of battery powered. (6)



Soft hat

Hand-held protection shield


6 Welding goggles

Hard-hat with movable shields


Available respiratory protection Full face respirator welding helmet

Soft disposable or hard elastomeric half Face piece under the helmet.





+ Light weight + Low cost

+ Light weight + No fit testing + Reduced stuffiness

- Not compatible with facial hair - May not fit all welding helmets - Increase heat retention and stuffiness - Fit-test required - Breathing resistance

- Fixed to specific helmet - Fit-test required - Breathing resistance

Active cooling / filtering half-face mask under the helmet

Active cooling / filtering air insuring controled inner climate




+ No Breathing resistance

+ Reduced stuffiness + Cooling effect + No breathing resistance

- Not compatible with facial hair - May not fit all welding helmets - Increase heat retention and stuffiness - Fit-test required

- Increased weight - Higher unit cost - Increased maintenance - Increased user training (7)


Interaction / science technology




MannGlas welding helmet

Intel X-ray vision

Implements HDR (High dynamic Range) Imaging to augment the image in dark areas and diminish it in bright areas. Possible to Add on post-processing graphics live during the welding process. (8)

Smart augmented reality helmet allows wearers to overlay maps, schematics and thermal images to effectively see through walls, pipes and other solid objects. (9)



Miller AugmentedArc welding Simulators

Miller LiveArc welding training system

The AugmentedArc system uses augmented reality technology to improve the efficiency and economy of classroom education for beginner and intermediatelevel students. (10)

Allows to gain experience and build techniques in pre-weld exercises before seamlessly transitioning into real welding on GMAW, FCAW and SMAW. (10)


Conclusions Welding safety has improved significantly for the manual welding process over the past few years due to better products and new technology released in the market. Also overall awareness of the potential healthrisks among the welders themselves has improved. The constantly rising demand for better and safer tools and high competition among the manufacturers have lead to vast amount of available products that covers most of the welders needs.


Never the less, the there are still evidence, that some welders do not use proper safety equipment due to various reasons: - it is not comfortable / ergonomic enough - it reduces their efficiency or precision - it is not provided by the company - they are not aware of the hazardous factors they are exposed to. Also due to recent technology innovations in other sectors, such as augmented reality technology, welding industry tries to adapt these innovations to fit the welders as well. It takes a lot of time and welding material until a new welder has mastered his skills. Any solution that makes this process faster and cheaper would be very beneficial.

Potential project areas


Welding helmet with live extra guidance for the welding process and accuracy. This would make sure that human error factor is reduced (especially for low experienced welders)

- Develop a solution for protecting the welder from the toxic fumes and other hazard factors in the head / helmet area.

Possible benefits of improving welding vision through HDR or other technology implementation Termo-sensors of the weld and near by materials Health monitoring and bio-sensors against overheating + toxic fumes + accident report if working alone in dangerous environment Integrated communication block and sound isolation in the helmet Helmets with integrated respiratory systems that doesn’t create too much constrain on the neck due to extra weight, prevents condensation on the glass.

- Analyse the welders work and create a solution that would boost their work quality and precision - Specialize the solutions for a relevant target group / welding type considering the future forecast of the welding industry - Test the project with the real users through the visualisations and/ or mockups.

Wishes - Create a new welding equipment archetype - Create a visionary product aimed for next 10 - 20 years future, that uses latest technology - Collaborate with relevant welding equipment manufacturer brand


References Index of Web sources 1 - Report explores future of global welding equipment market. Published 2017.01.03. [Cited 2017.01.09.] Available from URL: 2 - Career Now Brands. The future of the welding industry. [Cited 2017.01.09.] Available from URL: 3 - GoWelding.Org. 7 Incredible Facts About a Career in Welding. [Cited 2017.01.09.] Available from URL: 4 - Vietnam Manpower. Welding Health Hazards and Prevention That Your Welders Must Know About. Published 2015.09.21. [Cited 2017.01.02.] Available from URL: 5 - U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Published 2015.12.17. [Cited 2017.01.10.] Available from URL: 6 - WeldingHelmetHQ. Best top rated auto darkening welding helmet reviews 2016 by Ralf Jones. [Cited 2017.01.12.] Available from URL: 7 - American Welding Society. Respiratory Protection Basics for Welding Operations. Published 2013.09. [Cited 2016.12.29.] Available from URL:


8 - SiliconANGLE Media. Augmented Reality Welding Helmet Prototypes How Awesome the Technology Can Get by KYT Dotson. Published 2012.09.26. [Cited 2017.01.05.] Available from URL: 9 - TheGardian. Intel launches x-ray-like glasses by Samuel Gibbs. Published 2016.01.06. [Cited 2017.01.10.] Available from URL: 10 - Miller. [Cited 2017.01.10.] Available from URL:


Index of figures Cover - Welding sparks. biombos-para-areas-de-soldagem-07.jpg Page 2-3 - (1) - Page 5 - (2) - Metal welder. newscms/2014_07/176161/140210-metal-welder-1215p_404615619da11cc16d118577d2ea0b db.jpg Page 6-7 - Page 8 - (3) - Ship welder. Nb9aY7aRDGydpcMAsFf0qytspUBo5BN8t98IJelptITtiJziEMLqptjvLpK_B57kpoMNt8w=s170 Page 11 - (4) - public/head%26eye/images/870helmet.jpeg?itok=ssEvMlcU. (5) - (6) - https://www.millerwelds. com/-/media/miller-electric/imported-mam-assets/product-images/9/7/1/267370_weldmask_silver_lf.jpg. (7) - jpg?v=1480936165. Page 12 - (8) - (9) (10) - jpg_306x1000_q85.jpg. Page 13 - (11) - d8bd386e8a5c4237f0cce8777f81e9ce.thumb.jpg. (12) - pureweld-blue-flash.jpg. (13) - uploads/2015/10/jackson-airmax-elite-40839.jpg Page 14 - (14) - MannGlas_welding_helmet_2views.jpg. (15) - YeVtuXfobCYln1BOcZwfininBDw=/1170x0/2016/01/06/f731cff1-9c47-432e-8db72a27c5cffe16/c4c3d47a-87f3-4af9-aa37-3027a897fbda800.jpg 20

Page 15 - (16) - images/augmentedarc-application-02.jpg. (17) - media/717b33_6b34f6a545ea4838aed153df3f216c02~mv2_d_2625_2152_s_2.jpg_srz_2625_ 2152_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz. Page 24-31 - Janis Beinerts. 2017


Appendices Study visit 1 - 21.12.2016 Valpro Ltd. VALPRO Ltd. is one of the biggest longstanding metal working companies in Latvia which offers metal products in more than 25 countries around the world. Andrejs Timošenkovs Production Workshop Manager


General comments / problems - Welding creates very toxic fumes : ozone is particularly big problem - Too active ventilation is not good for the weld as it takes away shield gases from MAG/TIG - Welders still get small flashes, as automatic darkening masks still have microdelay - Welding mask around the edges let through UV light and fumes. Can also “jump in” a spark or even melted metal. - Welders often hold their breath during the welding - Strong UV rays - without the protection, skin burns appears in couple of minutes. - Helmets with active cooling are not used, 22

as have extra constrain on neck - Weld radiates enormous heat. Sweating under helmet is a big problem - If shield gas contains a lot of CO2 welder can have problems with nose mucous - Glows - either too thick and hard to operate, or heat goes through and creates burns - A lot of dust is created that lands everywhere. Workers don’t like respirators as they can create face skin infections from sweating and are uncomfortable to use. - Relatively high stress, needs lots of concentration. People often are asked to re-pass the welding exams to prove they can still manage this profession.

Neck and face often get exposed to UV/ fumes and sparks

Trying on Speedglas active ventilation helmet

Welders tend to lean very close to the weld 23

Study visit 2 - 10.01.2017 SIA Daupro Work with large metal construction preparation. Perform complex individual orders, weld indoors and outdoors. Guntis Maksis Production Manager 30+ years welding experience

General comments / problems - Sweat band - very important element. helmet starts to slip off when it gets too wet.

- Has experienced bad effect on health from inhaling toxic zinc fumes. Tires to hold breath if welds in closed spaces.

- Condensation on inner glass - from heavy breathing. Suggests some kind of separation between eyes and mouth breath

- Not fond of active ventilation helmets head feels limited in motion and air pipe can hook to something

- Weight of the helmet is important - the lighter the better.

- Heat is very big problem. Especially for hands - often skin burns.

- Problems with helmets top opening - have had sparks / metal fallen in. And also light from environment makes reflections on inside surface of the glass.

- Welding environment can get loud, but gets used to it. Uses earplugs when needed. - Common to grab hot metal by accident by himself or a co-worker.


Pressing helmet to chest to avoid fumes

Close up view gives better visibility but also more exposure to fumes / heat and sparks


Study visit 3 - 12.01.2017 Marupes Metalmaster Company produces innovative, highqualitative steel roofs and wall coverings, sewerage systems and all other elements which are necessary for roof mounting, as well as different aspects of metal constructions

General comments / problems - biggest problem - bad ventilation due to high investment cost - Individual raspirator is not used - thinks that heeping distance from the weld is enough. Only used when is welding zink and other metal that emits extreemely toxic fumes. - Over the years has learned how not to burn hands by keeping the distance. - Important to have steady arms and if possible rest arms onto something - Wears apron and safety clothes.


Igors Welder 20 years experience


Study visit 4 - 12.01.2017 Riga Vocational School Nr.3 Riga Vocational School offers paid Welding Courses, which take place at Educational and Examination Welding Centre

Atvars Ansabergs Welding Technologist

Ilgonis Ruņģis Deputy Director

General comments / problems - When ever possible centralised ventilation should be installed. - Personal air filtration mask, although not a desirable solution, has to be used if special metals are welded and / or welding is in closed environment - ships, containers, pipes, underground. But on principle these filtration masks work fine, though filters and mainanence is expensive. - welders sometimes faulty assume they know what are better welding setting than what is recommended. - downside of chameleon masks is they can get triggered buy co-workers. - welders sometimes faulty make shaded glass too dark by assuming they will be better protected. But as a result welders 28

have more tension on eyes and lean too colose to the weld - exposed to more heat and fumes. - Simulators are good as they save money on new welders education. As it takes years to master welding as a result a lot of material is wasted. - But they are far from delivering “reality” feeling. They are good for practising steady hand movement. - See good oportunity in live welding paramether recording for easier weld quality inspection - Augmented graphics might be too distracting.


Time schedule of the Thesis project

that will be made in order to illustrate and present the project the most optimal way at the exam.

GW3: Half-Way presentation The purpose of the Half-Way presentation is for the exam student to give a convincing account of the project so far and present the ideation concepts developed and how these are tied to the previous research conclusions. It is recommended to present at least three concept directions.

GW2b: Deadline for the submission of the Design Brief, the revised and extended version or the Preliminary Design Brief, with your Goals & Wishes. Monday, February 15th @ 16:00!

GW2a: Research sum-up presentation Here the conclusions and documentation from the research phase are included and presented together with the final Goals & Wishes and an updated time schedule for the remaining weeks! Friday, February 10th!

GW1: Research debriefing + Feedback First visit of the external exam advisor.

January 13th: Deadline for the submission of the Preliminary Design Brief.


Oscar Bjรถrk's availability in the APD stud Anders Smith's visits to UID


Deadline for the submission of the Final Project Report with a "Reflection and Conclusions chapter".

Follow-up on exam feedback, prepare for UID event and finish your degree report!

GW6: Examination - Have your presentation models ready!

GW5: Deadline for submitting the Preliminary Project Report as a PDF. Tuesday, May 2nd @ 12:00!

GW4: Process Gateway review The purpose of this gateway is for the exam student to give a summarized overview of the phases and areas previously covered, to clearly indicate or show the final concept direction that will be finalizing the remaining weeks and to specify the deliverables


More detailed action plan of the Thesis project



W3 16



20 23

27 30

study visits



03 06

10 13


Prez desk research Prez research / review

ask more input

establish contacts manufactury 32



uid students


ask input





ideation APD + IxD

learn welding

GW2a GW2b

Anders Smiths

March W8 20

W9 24 27


W11 10 13

03 06

W12 17 20


Prez sketches / mockups cad

1 choice group ideation

ask input

ask users input

3 concepts ask users input + tests?!



Oscar Bjรถrk

deadlines 33

More detailed action plan of the Thesis project

April W13



31 03

W15 07 10

W16 14 17

W17 21 24


Prez sketches / mockups

Prez cad

animation render model

build + visualize

Final check

final check

1 choice


manufactury 34



uid students

Anders Smiths

May W18

June W19


05 08

W20 12 15


26 29


UID 17

final sprint

Oscar Bjรถrk

19 22


after report




Finish up


deadlines 35


Work in progress brief janis beinerts