welding screen

Myth-Busting Welding Screens & Curtains

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The use of transparent PVC welding curtains, welding curtain strips and welding screens are often misunderstood. To such an extent that they are used:

  • for the wrong application,
  • for the wrong reasons,
  • at the wrong places, or
  • a combination of “wrongs”.

PVC strip curtains, if used correctly, offers a quick return on investment. Use them the wrong way, and they could amount to wasteful expenditure.

We often get calls which go something like this:

Strip Curtain Solutions: Good morning.
Fakile* calling: Good morning.
Strip Curtain Solutions: How can we help you?
Fakile: Yes I am looking for welding curtains. You know … those yellow welding curtain.
Strip Curtain Solutions: Do you have a welding booth in your factory or engineering shop? Or do you only do cutting and grinding?
Fakile: Yes, absolutely. We use it to partition the welding bay from the rest of the factory. We don't want the other workers to suffer from arc eyes.

* name changed to protect the innocent

welding screens and curtains

Limited PPE while cutting steel

yellow welding curtain

Mobile yellow welding curtain

And this, dear reader, is just where the picture is wrong. Let us warn you in advance, not everyone is going to like us for saying this, but there is a major misconception (actually myth) sold around this matter.

Welding curtain strips vs Yellow welding curtain

Without going too deep into the safety requirements of PVC welding curtain, how each element of the specification is defined, measured, etc, let's look at what a welding screen should do.

Criteria ► with note number

Welding curtain strips

(light green or red)

Spark arrester

(aka yellow welding curtain)

Safety standard ► 1

ISO 25980

None

Filtration ► 2

Yes

Not specified

UV reflection ► 3

< 10 %

Not specified

UV stability ► 4

Yes

Not specified

Flame retardant ► 5

Self extinguish

Yes, probably

Mechanical strength ► 6

≥ 7 kg

Not specified

Markings ► 7

Manufacturer

ISO 25980

Month/year

Approval marking

None

Notes:

  1. ISO 25980:2014 Health and safety in welding and allied processes - Transparent welding curtains, strips and screens for arc welding processes.
  2. Filtration means elimination or near elimination of certain hazardous electromagnetic spectrum.
  3. UV reflection back from the welding curtain protects the welder self.
  4. UV stability means retention of optical properties even when exposed to UV rays.
  5. Flame retardant means welding curtain strip must self extinguish in ≤ 3 seconds, max flame height < 150 mm.
  6. Mechanical strength required is 7 kg when suspended from eyelids.
  7. Approved welding curtain strips must reflect name of manufacturer (and registration number), ISO 25980, month and year of manufacture, and approval marking.

Yellow welding curtain

The above-mentioned table illustrates the quality difference between welding curtain strips and, what we call, "spark arresters". Yes, those welding screens which are often sold as yellow welding curtain … is actually just a spark arrester. They can be used as a barrier where grinding and cutting is performed. As such, a spark arrester will restrict grinding sparks to the work area, protect the eyes of co-workers from tiny metal parts, but it does not reduce the effects of UV radiation.

Certified welding curtains

From the above it follows that certified welding curtains are designed to protect:

  • people not directly involved with the welding activity,
  • them against hazardous radiation, risk of fire and welding spatter (burns), and
  • the welder self from the reflection of UV rays.

Certified welding curtains:

  • meet stringent fire retardant specifications,
  • suitable where grinding and cutting is performed,
  • technically far superior.
welding curtain strips

Transparent welding curtains

PVC welding curtain

Certified welding curtain

Limitations of welding curtains

The aforementioned health and safety specification is for transparent welding curtains where arc welding is performed, not laser welding. Secondly, transparent welding curtains, strips and screens are not replacement filters for intentional viewing of arc welding.

welding screeen

Note comprehensive PPE

welding curtains

Intentional viewing of arc welding

Summary

Strip Curtain Solutions is a welding curtains supplier - of both types. The one cost a fraction of the other one, and for good reason. They are like chalk and cheese.

​► ​If you want to partition your grinding and cutting bay, buy a spark arrester (aka yellow welding screen).

► If you require a barrier for arc welding (even with cutting and grinding), then ISO 25980 certified welding curtain strips is your product of choice.

Please recycle your PVC welding curtain when it reach its end of life (EOL). Welding curtains is a technical product, but it retains many of the features of strip curtains and benefits PVC strip curtains.

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