When you think of the dangers of welding, the usual suspects immediately come to mind: In addition to obvious things like harmful UV radiation during arc welding, sparks and welding spatter, or even hazards from electrical current, there are also the invisible dangers of welding, for example, by inhaling harmful welding fumes.
There are multiple ways to protect the welder from all these hazards: Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when welding is considered a matter of course and protects the skin and, above all, the eyes from radiation and injuries caused by welding spatter and flying sparks. Fume extraction torches, ventilated welding helmets or fume extraction systems can filter toxic welding fumes from the air and thus protect the welder's respiratory organs.
But how can welders protect themselves in the long term against damage to their musculoskeletal system? What helps against permanently tense muscles, signs of fatigue and back pain?
An often underestimated aspect of welding is the welding torch itself!
Unhandy, heavy torches, which are not ergonomically adapted to the work processes, make the daily work for welders more difficult. Often long seams have to be welded without stopping and the heavy hose assembly is dragged behind or has to be lifted into the correct position.
Or when welding is done in an overhead position. Every welder knows what we are talking about: The welding material drips, the muscles are aching, the back hurts and the weight of the welding torch including the hose assembly quickly becomes a burden.
In the long term, overstraining can cause problems, especially in the back and shoulder muscles, and lead to impairments in the musculoskeletal system.
Is there a solution to this underestimated danger in welding?
Yes, there is a solution: Weight-reduced and ergonomically optimized MIG/MAG welding torches that significantly relieve the welder's workload so that tension no longer becomes an everyday occurrence!
1. Reducing the weight of the welding torch
The hose assembly in particular is an important factor when it comes to weight reduction. Lightweight hose assemblies can weigh 30-50% less than a regular hose assembly, which has a significant effect. Of course, you shouldn't skimp on the material inside, because the welding torch still has to be just as powerful as before.
Using light metal components for current-carrying cables in the hose assembly instead of the usual copper ensures a significantly lower weight, makes welding more comfortable and maintains performance - that of the welding torch and that of the welder.
Studies by ABICOR BINZEL, in cooperation with the sports medicine department of the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, have examined how not only the stress perception but also the actually measured stress of the welder changes when a lightweight MIG/MAG welding torch is used instead of a regular MIG/MAG welding torch. The results are clear: Shoulder and arm muscles are stressed significantly less, which in the long run leads to less discomfort and thus less sick leave.
A win-win situation for welders and companies!
2. Improving the ergonomics of the welding torch
Good handling and relaxed welding also require a well-balanced welding torch. This means that the welder does not have to apply additional force to counteract the weight of a heavy hose assembly or welding torch. If the constant balancing is eliminated, the welder suffers less from neck pain.
The grip and length of the handle are also things to consider when it comes to welding torch ergonomics. If the handle of the torch is too long, too much force must be used to change position while welding, especially when working in tight spaces. If the handle is comfortable to hold and the length is right, welders can change their position more flexibly during their work, which leads to less signs of fatigue.
The position of the trigger on the welding torch also has a decisive influence, because during a long working day this trigger has to be pressed countless times. If the welding torch lies comfortably in the hand and the distance and angle between the finger and the trigger are optimally selected, less energy is needed to reach the trigger and apply the required pressure.
A ball joint at the transition between the handle and the hose assembly specifically relieves the welder's wrist: the hose assembly is flexibly guided downwards directly behind the handle, thus reducing the leverage effect on the wrist. In addition, a ball joint facilitates oscillation during welding.
Different torch necks, which can perfectly be adapted to any task and can be changed in a few minutes, also make work easier. This is because welders do not have to laboriously adjust their position to the welding task, which costs a lot of strength and energy, but can flexibly adapt the torch neck to the welding task and thus weld more comfortably even in hard-to-reach places.
Lightweight, ergonomic welding torches therefore help to conserve strength and energy during welding and increase flexibility during work, so that the welder suffers less from signs of fatigue and physical discomfort and the quality of the welds remains the same over a long period of time.
A benefit for welders and companies!
Therefore, when you think about the dangers of welding, you should also pay attention to the welding torch itself, so that it does not become a burden and welders can enjoy their work permanently without physical discomfort.
Read more about the benefits of lightweight MIG/MAG welding torches in our free ebook:
Or discover our range of lightweight MIG/MAG welding torches:
- MIG/MAG welding torches ABIMIG® A T LW
- MIG/MAG welding torches ABIMIG® A LW
- MIG/MAG welding torches MB EVO PRO