What Is Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet?

Last Updated: May 20, 2021

TIG welding

Image Credit: Prowelder87, Wikimedia Commons

There are several factors that any professional welder has to consider before purchasing a helmet. The market currently offers welding helmets equipped with diverse technological solutions that make them unique and equally important. Helmets play a vital safety role in protecting a welder.

Grinding mode refers to welding helmets that have an external grind control option. This option allows the welder to put the helmet into grind mode with a flip of a switch or a push of a button. Grind mode has proven to be important in improving the safety and productivity of the welding helmet.


How Does It Work?

Auto-Darkening-Lens-Glass-welding-helmet_Baloncici_shutterstock

Credit: Baloncici, Shutterstock

Today, some welding helmets can flip up the auto-darkening lens, and at the same time, keep the rest of the shield down. A transparent shield then opens from beneath the auto-darkening lens. The shield provides the welder with a clear view of the grinding surface. It is important to note that even if the clear grind shield is on, safety glasses should also be underneath the welding helmet.

Auto-darkening welding helmets already have either variables shade options or fixed shades. Helmets with a fixed shade option usually darken to a specific pre-set shade. It is particularly a good option in applications where the welder is repeating a particular weld. On the other hand, helmets with varying shades have a grind mode that allows the welder to select the preferred grinding mode; this is especially good for variable applications.

Most recent auto-darkening helmets have the grind mode and are exceptional in performance and capability. When purchasing a welding helmet for grinding, ensure that you choose one with the ANSI Z87.1+ mark. The + mark indicates that the welding helmet is certified and can protect you against high impact.

What Is the Best Grind Mode Feature?

Helmets with grid mode have either a push button or a flip switch option. Both options are equally good, but the best option would be to go for a welding helmet that allows you to flip the grind mode. This is because the flip switch grind mode alters the welding helmet’s shape, making it less likely for the operator to forget that they had turned the ADF mode off.

Most of the time, the flashlight will still be on to remind the welder that they are still in grind mode. When you restore the ADF, the flash will automatically go off. Even though most welding helmets today have lenses coated with UV protection, even when grind mode is off, it might not provide the much-needed against too bright light visible in grind mode.

MIG-welding_Danil-Evskyi_shutterstock

Credit: Danil Evskyi, Shutterstock

When Should One Use Grind Mode?

If you are using a welding helmet with grind mode, it means your helmet is at shade 3. Some helmets have more shades, making them suitable for cutting mode when set at shades 5 through 8. Grinding mode allows you to switch to grind application within seconds with a flip or button. Any professional or experienced welder only uses grinding mode when grinding.

After grinding, you use the same flip or button to turn it off without taking the helmet off. Even though these helmets have an automated operation system, switching grind mode (on and off) ensures that the welder is wholly protected as they perform different tasks.

The type of ADF welding helmet that you own does not matter. We advise our clients to always confirm the settings on the helmet to be safe.

Alternatively, another solution would be to purchase an auto-darkening welding helmet that automatically responds to the arcs produced during welding even when it is on grind mode. The helmet’s design automatically adjusts itself when exposed to different conditions and activities such as welding and grinding.

Advantages of Grind Mode on a Welding Helmet

Auto-darkening welding helmets are arguably the best helmets in the market due to their unique features, such as grind. Here are some of the benefits of having grind mode on a welding helmet:
  • Grinding mode ensures that welders are always fully protected.
  • Grinding mode is easy to use; you turn it on and off with a flip or button within seconds.
  • Grind mode has several features.
  • You cannot forget that you are in grind mode because the helmet alters’ shape when turned on.
  • You do not have to take your helmet off with grind mode before changing from one mode to another.
  • Grind mode uses advanced technological developments.
  • Grind mode allows you to switch modes within 3 seconds.

Disadvantages of Grind Mode on a Helmet

As much as grind mode is gaining popularity, it also has some downsides. Here are some disadvantages of flipping or pressing that button to activate grind mode:
  • Grind mode buttons are prone to jamming, leaving welders exposed to grinding dangers.
  • Grind mode cannot operate minus battery or solar energy because the helmet has an electronic system.

Frequently Asked Questions

External Grind Mode or Flip Up, Which Is the Best?

Both flip-up and external grind mode visor models offer several benefits to welders. However, there are factors that you have to consider when choosing either of the welding helmets. Your choice should factor in the environment and the activities the helmet will fulfill, be it welding or grinding.

If your task involves a lot of grinding, the flip-up welding helmet would be the ideal choice as it will give you better clarity through its clear grinding visor as opposed to using the shade 3 grinding mode. Alternatively, if you are into welding, a welding helmet with an external grind mode would be the best choice.

What is Arc Tracking?

Arc tracking is a new technology that allows welders to track an arc on time with the lens. This technology allows a welder or company to keep track of all the information needed to determine how much time it takes them to weld over some time. The data collected can then be used to calculate productivity and efficiency.

Some helmets also have a digital clock display that allows the operator to set a timer or an alarm to keep track of their daily activity. These alerts help in setting reminders for certain activities such as breaks.


Conclusion

When it comes to using PPEs, welders should have a helmet and other welding safety equipment. Every welder’s safety depends on getting the right welding helmet with unique features such as grind mode. These features are of an auto-darkening welding helmet. Grind mode is essential because it keeps your face, neck, and eyes protected during grinding.


Featured image credit: Prowelder87, Wikimedia Commons

Cameron Dekker
 

Cameron grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, a once-proud steel town on the Lehigh River, where he got a taste of TIG welding in his high school shop class. He holds certificates for Certified WeldingEducator (CWE) and Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT) from the American Welding Institute. His interests include scuba diving, sculpture, and kayaking.