Patent application title: PROTECTIVE DEVICE FOR USE IN WELDING
Michael Gustafsson (Tumba, SE)
IPC8 Class: AA41D1308FI
Class name: Apparel guard or protector hand or arm
Publication date: 2012-09-27
Patent application number: 20120240301
A protective device for use in welding, optionally in combination with a
welding glove in order to simplify welding through improved ergonomics
and improved weather protection, having a first opening (6) at one end
for introduction of part of an electrode holder (1) or a welding gun (3)
and a second opening (10) at its opposite end for introduction of a hand
holding the electrode holder/welding gun (1; 3) and accompanying cable.
The protective device has a substantially cylindrical shape and is
designed to surround the handle of the welding gun (3) or the handle of
the electrode holder (1), part of a user's forearm and part of the cable
(2; 4), whereby the weight of the cable (2; 4) thanks to the cylindrical
form of the protective device will be taken up by the lower part of the
protective device and transferred to the upper side of the hand, the
wrist and the forearm, and in that the first opening (6) is designed to
be adaptable to differently sized electrode holders and welding guns,
respectively, to surround them in a sealing fashion.
16. A protective device for use in welding, optionally in combination with a welding glove, comprising: a first opening at a first end of said protective device to allow passage of a welding tool from inside said protective device to outside said protective device; a second opening at a second end that is opposite to said first end for introduction of a hand holding the welding tool and accompanying cable of the welding tool; said protective device having a substantially cylindrical shape with a cavity between said first opening and said second opening to surround the welding tool, a user's hand, wrist and forearm and part of the cable of the welding tool, whereby weight of the cable is supported by a lower part of said protective device so that the weight of the cable is transferred to an upper side of the hand, the wrist and forearm due said cylindrical form of said protective device; and said first opening being adjustable to seal around differently sized welding tools.
17. The protective device of claim 16, wherein said protective device is manufactured of a material to protect the user from dangers of welding and weather conditions
18. The protective device of 16, wherein said protective device tapers at said first end into a conical shape towards said first opening to allow said first opening to be adjustable.
19. The protective device of 18, wherein said first end is sewn with interlocking seams running back-and-forth along said conical shape so that said taper at said first end near said first opening can be cut to a desired opening size to be adjusted to the welding tool and thereby form a closure around the welding tool without risk of remaining stitches unravelling.
20. The protective device of claim 16, further including a tightening device near said first opening such that said first opening is adjustable for welding tools of differing sizes by tightening said first opening.
21. The protective device of claim 16, further including a tightening device near said second opening such that said protective device is adjustable about the forearm of the user to fasten the protective device around the forearm of the user.
22. The protective device of claim 16, further including a cuff at said second end of said protective device, said cuff adapted to wrap about the forearm of the user to fasten the protective device to the forearm of the user.
23. The protective device of claim 16, further including a stiffener surrounding said second opening to maintain said second opening in an open configuration.
24. The protective device of claim 16, further including an insert of a supple material affixed in said second opening, said insert including a slit into which the cable of the welding tool can be wedged, so that the cable is prevented from slipping within said protective device.
25. The protective device of claim 21, wherein said tightening device near said second opening is a drawstring and a band arranged in a channel surrounding said second opening.
26. The protective device of claim 21, wherein said tightening device near said second opening is at least one set of snap fasteners in said protective device so that sides of said protective device can be held together below the forearm of the user.
27. The protective device of claim 16, further including an opening having overlapping frontal part to allow extension of one or more fingers of the hand of the user at the same time as the hand is holding the welding tool.
28. The protective device of claim 16, further including a slit with a closable flap along a lower side of said protective device.
29. The protective device of claim 22, wherein said cuff is affixed to said protective device such that when said cuff is tightened around the forearm, and wherein size of said second opening is not affected.
30. The protective device of claim 22, wherein said cuff is partitioned into two parts and said cuff includes a hook-and-loop fastener to affixed said cuff to the forearm.
31. The protective device of claim 22, wherein said cuff is cylindrical and includes a hook-and-loop fastener to tension said cuff and affixed said cuff on the forearm by a folding action.
32. The protective device of claim 16, further including a strap positioned around said first opening to facilitate tightening of said first opening around the welding tool.
33. The protective device of claim 16, further including a third opening on a lower side of said protective device between said first opening and said second opening to allow the cable pass through said the protective device and further including a sealable partition along said lower side from said second opening to said third opening.
34. The protective device of claim 16, wherein said protective device is comprised of an upper part and a lower part connected together.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to a protective device for use in welding, optionally in combination with a conventional welding glove, in order to facilitate the welding through improved ergonomics and improved weather protection.
 During work in winter conditions, wind, wetness, and cold will make it impossible for welders to work continually, since they will have to pause in order to regain sensation in their hands, especially the hand that holds the welding tool. While welding thick plate constructions (ships etc.) extreme heat makes it necessary to pause so as not to damage the welder's hand
 During all welding, good dexterity is crucial--the thicker the glove is, the more restricted is dexterity. The thicker the glove is, the material is in the way when the electrode holder is held, leading to the necessity of a more open hand grip--which in itself is tiring. In addition to that, thicker gloves are stiffer, which increases the effort necessary to close the hand around a tool. The thicker the material, which is to be sewn, the more difficult it is to sew the glove so that the hand is comfortable. A glove cannot be made too thick in between the fingers, because then the fingers would be spread to much.
 If instead welding mittens are used, other problems arise: the glove has to be taken on and off when the electrode is replaced, or when using an angle grinder or a chipping hammer. Welding mittens are also thick, and the same problem of closing and opening the hand makes it tiring to use welding mittens.
 Inadequate protection against cold and heat leads to rheumatic and other joint-related hand ailments, and early retirement due to hand injury is not uncommon.
 There are therefore requirements for protection against cold, wind, wetness, heat, welding spatter, cut- and puncture wounds, as well as a conflicting requirement for dexterity. All of these requirements are measured in order to comply with norms used for certification of welding gloves.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The goal of the present invention is to provide a protective device for use in welding, optionally in combination with a welding glove, which facilitates welding through improved ergonomics and improved protection against weather, which in turn improves the working conditions for welders and thus fewer injuries, better welding results and a higher productivity.
 This goal is achieved with the protective device according to the invention which is characterized by the features described in claim 1. Further developments and preferred embodiments of the invention are specified in the subsequent claims.
 The invention therefore entails that the protective device is separated from the welding glove, the latter which is worn directly on the hand. Consequently, the protective device can be produced from more durable and protective materials than what is practically possible for a glove or mitten. When performing work which requires better fine motor skill, such as using a chipping hammer, using an angle grinder, or replacing electrodes etc. the welder puts away the welding tool, performs the task, and puts back the glove-clad hand in the protective device and grasps the handle of the electrode holder or the welding gun so as to resume welding.
 By designing the protective device so that it supports the weight of the cable or electrode feeder, the welding hand is relieved since the weight of the cable or electrode feeder is spread out over the back of the hand, wrist, forearm and is thus moved closer to the body, instead of the whole weight being carried by closed fingers, so that welding can be done with more relaxed fingers. In this way, constant pressure must not be exerted by the hand, which would lead to poor blood flow and thus decreased hand function.
 Since an improved protection against heat or cold is achieved the welder can work for longer periods without interruption, with subsequent higher efficiency combined with better ergonomics.
 Several benefits are achieved through the shape of the protective device. Depending on the chosen material, it can be manufactured from a single piece, which is fashioned into the desired form by the use of adequately placed seams. Alternatively, it can be made of two or more pieces of material, depending on the stiffness and thickness of the chosen material. The cut is simple, material waste is small and normally only a few seams are required. It insulates all around the top of the handle of the electrode holder or welding gun. Since the hand is inside and is completely surrounded by the protective device, reflective, thick and rigid materials can be used because it does not need to bend when the hand is closed or opened.
 By designing the protective device so that the hand opening has a stiffener, it is easy to pick up or put away.
 In order to improve the weather protection and to prevent wind, snow or moisture from entering, the protective device may be fitted with a drawstring and an elastic wind/snow lock. Furthermore, a cuff or similar can be fitted to the hand opening in order to hold the protective device on the welder's arm.
 In a further development of the invention, the lower part of the hand opening can be equipped with a layer of rubber-coated fabric or equivalent arranged orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the protective device in which there is a slit so that the cable can be wedged in, which prevents the protective device from rolling or slipping down, which otherwise could be a problem, especially when welding downwards.
 In order to further improve the fit around the electrode holder or welding gun, and prevent moisture from creeping into the protective device the opening can equipped with a tab which is closed with a hook-and-loop fastener.
 The area near the opening of the protective device close to the electrode holder or welding gun should be designed as a tapered cone, which can be cut to a desired opening size. This makes it possible to adjust the protective device to a welding gun (in which case the opening should be narrow) or to the maximum sized electrode holder, so that the actual welding tool in all cases fits the protective device.
 The frontal opening of the protective device is preferably sewn with seams arranged in a back-to-front reversing pattern so that the seams interlock each other, so that the seam can not unravel when a piece of the material is cut off. The seam is first directed forwards, then backwards, then forward again and so on. In this way, the seam in its unbroken state is interlocked in several places. Therefore, the seam does not unravel further than to the next interlocking when the opening is cut to desired aperture size. The sewing pattern can also be laid out with separate seams which are sewn forward to the correct length and then backwards to interlock itself, and the next seam overlapping the previous while extending somewhat longer after which it goes backward for self-interlocking, and so on.
 In order to make it possible to extend fingers from the protective device without letting go of the welding tool, an overlapping frontal part of the protective device can be included, while at the same time maintaining protection against heat, wind, rain and cold.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The invention will now be described in further detail with reference to embodiments of the invention shown on the attached drawings, in which:
 FIG. 1 shows a explanatory view of the protective device according to the invention together with an electrode holder,
 FIG. 2 shows a view corresponding to FIG. 1, but with a welding gun in place of the electrode holder,
 FIG. 3 schematically shows how the protective device can be assembled and sewn from two pre-cut pieces of the selected materials, which may be different in different parts of the protective device,
 FIG. 4 a, b and c very schematically show three different embodiments of the protective device according to the invention at the frontal passage opening for the electrode holder and welding gun,
 FIGS. 5a and b show schematic end views of the protective device of a different embodiment of the protective device according to the invention with the sleeve designed in various ways,
 FIG. 6 shows schematically the protective device as worn with the cuff tightened;
 FIGS. 7a and b shows the protective device with a part intended for wedging of the cable, without and with wedged cable, and
 FIG. 8 shows a corresponding view as in FIGS. 1 and 2 of a modified embodiment of the protective device according to the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND ITS EMBODIMENTS
 The invention will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings which schematically show a number of possible embodiments of the protective device. Similar reference numbers indicate similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
 FIGS. 1 and 2 show the protective device according to the invention as it is meant to be used for welding. In FIG. 1, an electrode holder 1 with its associated electrical cable 2 is shown, and in FIG. 2 a welding gun 3 and its associated electrode feeding tube 4 is shown. In the case of a welding gun, the electrode feeding tube is contained in the same tube as the electrode cable/wire. In the case of electrode holders--so-called stick welding--there is only one electrical leader. In the interest of simplicity, the generic term "cable" will be used in the remainder of the description of the invention and in the claims.
 Furthermore, it should be noted that the invention is equally suitable for a clamp electrode holder as well as for use with, or without, other types of tools and machinery that require enhanced protection, or where it is desirable.
 The protective device according to the invention is intended to be used in combination with a conventional welding glove 5. Since the protective device is not intended to be bent or tightly compressed by a hand which holds a handle, a material of suitable thickness and desired protective properties can be selected for the protective device, without having to compromise those qualities unduly for necessary flexibility.
 FIGS. 1 and 2 show one embodiment of the protective device according to the invention with a first opening 6 through which an electrode holder 1 or welding gun 3 is passed. The opening can be fitted with a tightening device as schematically indicated at 7, such as a, possibly elastic, string situated in a channel at the opening. At its front, as shown in the drawings, the protective device is arranged with an additional opening with overlapping edges 8, 9 such as, for example hunting gloves.
 The protective device also exhibits a second opening 10 at its opposite end. This opening 10 is wide, in order to allow the introduction of an electrode holder or welding gun which is held by a glove-clad hand. Also in this opening there is a tightening device as schematically indicated by a drawstring 11 and a circumferential string 12 illustrated as a dotted line. When worn, the protective device will thereby have a substantially reduced opening size, which causes the cable 2 to be closer to the arm creating a more comfortable angle of the handle without the hand being further stressed.
 Furthermore, a stiffener 13 can be fitted around the second opening in order to make it more convenient to put down the protective device and then pick it up again, even when an electrode holder or a welding gun is still positioned so as to extend through the first opening
 Alternatively, or in addition to the above, push buttons 14 or equivalent fasteners can be affixed to sides of the protective device. With the aid of those, the aforementioned sides can be held together so that the protective device is kept in the same position relative to the arm, while the cable is held in a thus formed lower opening.
 When the protective device is worn, the cable 2 of the electrode holder or the cable 4 of the welding gun 3 will be supported by the lower part of the protective device thanks to ite substantially cylindrical form. The weight is transferred to the upper part of the hand, wrist and forearm closer to the body, decreasing load on the hand so that it does not need to hold the handle tightly in order to carry the entire weight of the cable.
 In FIG. 3 a preferred way for the manufacture of the protective device is shown schematically An upper part 20 and a lower part 21 are sewn together with two seams at the upper side of the protective device, so that the seams follow along the sides the arm. Thereby, the entrapment of slag in the seams is avoided, which otherwise would burn through the protective device, the latter which when used rests against the surface of the forearm. The pieces can, for example, be punched from a material in sheet or plate form. In order to make the structure spacious, as is suggested at 22 and 23, the material can be folded and sewn together so that stiffeners are formed, whereby the front end 6 of the protective device is kept extended and the insertion of the electrode holder or welding gun is made easy. At the front end of the protective device, referring to the position in use, the material pieces are sewn together, forming an opening for the insertion of the electrode holder or welding gun from inside the device
 FIGS. 4a, b, c illustrate different embodiments of the protective device in order to facilitate adaptation of the first opening for differently sized electrode holders or welding guns. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4a, the area adjacent to the first, front opening 6 is designed to be conically tapering. In doing so, the material pieces which surround the opening are sewn together with a seam 40 running back-and-forth. Where the seam changes direction, the seam thread will interlock itself. It is thus possible to cut the protective device so that an appropriately sized opening for the current tool is formed, as is suggested by the dotted cutting lines a, b, c, without risking that the seam unravels.
 FIG. 4b shows an alternative embodiment in which the area around the opening 6 exhibits slits 41. When an electrode holder or a welding gun is put through the opening the tabs 42 are pressed outwards and will then spring back sealing against moisture and spatter. Again, it may be appropriate to sew together the material pieces surrounding the front opening with back-and-forth running seams making it possible to cut the protective device to create a suitably large opening, without the risk of unraveling the seam.
 FIG. 4c shows the protective device cut to fit a particular tool and in this case the device exhibits a strap 43 which when the tool is put into the opening is drawn around the tool according to arrow P and is attached by means of a hook-and-loop fastener as is suggested by the band 44.
 In order to improve the function of the protective device it is according to a preferred embodiment of the invention fitted with parts intended to affix it to a user's arm. FIGS. 5a and b show end views of the protective device according to the invention of the second opening 10 through which the hand and tool enters. As is shown in FIG. 5a, in the part of the protective device extending away from the hand a cuff 50 is arranged. It can be sewn to the protective device at the upper part of the opening 10, or it may alternatively be an extension of the material piece for at least the upper part of the protective device. The upper part of the cuff 51 is connected to the protective device between the side seams 52, 53 and is separate from the protective device for the remaining part. For those purposes, the cuff can be designed as a closed loop which by folding is tightened around the arm so as to be locked in this position, by means of a hook-and-loop fastener as is suggested at 54.
 FIG. 5b shows an alternative embodiment of the cuff, as denoted by the number 50', which corresponds to the embodiment shown in FIG. 5a except that the cuff is divided along its length into a left and right part. A first tab 55 is wound around the arm and a second tab 56 is attached to it by means of a hook-and-loop fastener as indicated at 57. Here it should be noted that the outer tab 56 extends downward, which prevents moisture/wetness from entering the cuff. This cuff, as well as the one shown in FIG. 5a, can be worn loosely, and the degree of tightness around the arm can be adjusted with the hook-and-loop fastener. The cuff prevents that the protective device is rolled or pressed downward to the hand by the weight of the cable or the electrode feeding tube, especially when welding downwards, and it also prevents rain and wind from entering from the upper side of the arm.
 The protective device can also be locked to the welder's clothes with a clip. Such a clip can be sewn in, or be a separate item.
 FIG. 6 shows schematically the protective device on a forearm with cuff 50 tightened around the arm. In this case, in the second opening 10 of the protective device there is a locking device 60 with a slit 61. The locking device can advantageously be made of rubber coated fabric or other elastic material, and sewn or otherwise secured to the protective device at the lower part of the second opening. The cable 2 which extends from the electrode holder inside the protective device is wedged into the slit by its own weight, and thereby offsets the tendency of the protective device to roll or slide downwards along the arm, especially during welding downwards. The locking device is shown without cable in FIG. 7a and with a wedged-in cable 2 in FIG. 7b.
 As is shown in FIG. 8, the protective device can be designed in several different ways. It is thus possible to arrange an opening 70 at its underside to allow a cable or an electrode feeding tube 71 to pass out of the protective device away from the other, rear opening 10. In this embodiment, there is preferably arranged a slot 72 which extends from said opening 70 all the way to the second opening 10 of the protective device, said slot preferably being designed to be sealable, such as by a hook-and-loop fastener, as is suggested by the dashed line 73.
 In the preceding description, the fastening devices are described as hook-and-loop fasteners. These may of course be replaced by other suitable attachment elements, such as snap buttons. These should be made of plastic or other non-conductive material.
Patent applications in class Hand or arm
Patent applications in all subclasses Hand or arm