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Safety Articles

Article # 5100

Select Faceshield Windows Carefully

Faceshield windows are mostly produced from three thermoplastic materials- acetate, propionate and polycarbonate. Each material has advantages and disadvantages so look for the material with the best over-all performance characteristics for your specific application.

Acetate provides good scratch resistance, but does not perform as well as the others in areas such as optical clarity, impact resistance, heat resistance and dimensional stability. Polycarbonate provides exceptional impact resistance, but it can be adversely affected by many substances (lubricants, solvents, even insect repellent, etc.) commonly found in an industrial environment, so its application is limited.

Propionate, with its good scratch resistance, good heat resistance, and exceptional impact resistance, optical clarity and dimensional stability provides the best over-all performance, over the widest range of applications.

A well-designed faceshield window should cover as much of the exposed face and neck area as the nature of the hazards require without interfering with comfort, movement, or the ability to perform the job at hand. The size and shape of the window are important considerations in that regard.

The windows should be designed to match the exact curvature of the faceshield deflector and should allow easy installation, using a state-of-art pin locking cam method rather than unreliable snaps and straps.

Because no performance characteristics is as important as the positive seal between the deflector and window, the design of the sealing mechanism must be sufficient to keep dirt, dust, sparks, and debris from penetrating the seal. The presence of any additional features, such as a protective channel over the seal, etc. are definite advantages.

Method of manufacturing:
There are two basic methods of manufacturing faceshield windows. One is to stand or punch windows out of large, flat sheets of plastic: the other is to injection mold them.

Stamping from sheet stock is the predominant method of producing acetate windows. It is fast, easy, and inexpensive, but it produces windows with ragged, unfinished edges, that often must be binded with plastic or metal binding, and it produces inconsistent thickness and discoloration depending upon from where on the sheet the window is stamped. Most stamped acetate are shipped "flat" and must be forced by hand to fit the curvature of the faceshield they are used with.

Propionate faceshield windows are injection molded. Because of the precision of the molding process, propionate windows have a consistent thickness, and an optical clarity that can only be achieved by custom molding each window.

Conformance and Third Party Certification:
For your own protection, make sure all faceshields and faceshield windows comply with existing ANSI standards. Consider those brands with SEI certification. It is your assurance that the products were tested by a qualified third party, The Safety Equipment Institute.