It is estimated that in the USA alone there will be a shortage of 300 000 welders by the year 2020. This is due to increasing demand for welders and the lack of new welders choosing this profession due to harsh work conditions welders have to face.
Among many other problems, the challenge is to protect welders from high UV /IR radiation and toxic fumes that are created during the welding process without decreasing the comfort nor efficiency of the welder. Even though there are several protection solutions available on the market many welders still choose not to use them. This leads to serious health problems caused by hazardous welding environment.
Inspiration and Method
In order to understand the welding problems better, 8 welding companies were visited. More than 20 people were interviewed and observed in their work environment.
The main problems areas - lack of vision, heavy and bulky protection equipment, uncomfortable respiratory protection solutions, low knowledge about importance of protection solutions, low guidance and feedback during the welding, long learning curve.
These problem areas were further analysed together with tutors from manufacturing companies. Several design opportunities were created that resulted in final concept Falcon.
Falcon is a next generation personal protection equipment for professional manual welders that need non-stop air supply, clear vision and full radiation protection to execute high-precision welds in challenging welding environments.
Welding helmets available today are heavy and have a small view angle. Falcon addresses these issues by introducing curved auto darkening lenses that offer full view angles in all directions. Better weight distribution and lighter material combinations.
Falcon is connected to the welding machine and smart phone, allowing to have instant updates on required welding settings and communicate with co-workers.