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Three decades at the cutting edge

Speedglas veteran Stefan Henriksson is continuously on the lookout for new solutions that improve welder safety.  When he started working with the innovator of Speedglas auto-darkening technology in 1982, he was the company’s fifth employee.

Stefan Henriksson, 3M“We were working out of the innovator’s house on the first auto-darkening welding filters, and we only produced two models,” he says. Initially, the technology was greeted with scepticism. Henriksson, now Global Product Manager at the 3M Welding Centre of Excellence, recalls:

“Welders asked us, ‘Will it really get dark fast enough to protect my eyes?’ and ‘Is it fragile?’

It took a while to get sales going.” Fast-forward three decades and hundreds of thousands of welders all over the world rely on their Speedglas welding helmets. “It has been an amazing journey,” Henriksson says.

The Welding Centre of Excellence in Sweden employs 150 people and is today a vital part of 3M’s welding business, conducting research into tomorrow’s state-of-the-art welding solutions. A world leader in welding technology and safety, 3M’s success is built on its long-standing relationship with welders.  For example, the 3M™ Speedglas™ 9100 series of welding helmets was developed through interviews with hundreds of welders and modelled on their feedback.

  “It is very satisfying to travel around the world visiting workshops and talking to welders,” Henriksson says. “And then bringing that input back to the laboratory and seeing how the product can be improved.”   Henriksson says manual welding is unlikely to disappear any time soon and that there is a need to attract and train a new generation of skilled craftsmen.

150211 3M Gagnef Stefan Henriksson Foto Hasse ErikssonOne way of doing this is for welding supervisors to review the working environment to make sure they attract young talent.   Henriksson says 3M is there to help. “It is our mission to provide welders with the best equipment in terms of their safety, comfort and long-term health.”

 Speedglas welding helmet milestones

  • 1981  –  The first auto-darkening filter is launched.
  • 1987  –  A welding helmet with respiratory protection lets welders inhale fresh air even in a cloud of fumes.
  • 1996  –  The Speedglas welding helmet 9000 raises the bar in ergonomics and usability, winning several design awards.
  • 2008 –  The Speedglas welding helmet 9100 provides new levels of protection, comfort and reliability.

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  1. 3M says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and for trusting Speedglas brand during all these years. We hope you enjoy your retirement and appreciate your support. Best regards to your son Billy.

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  2. Bill Platt, Sr. says:

    I started welding in 1957. I was introduced to Hornell Speed-glass in1991. My son Billy and twelve of his welding buddies bought Speedglass and we still used them when I retired at age 75. I would never have been able to get along without Speed glass.

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  3. ALEJANDRO HANCEK says:

    Hola soy de Argentina,fui empleado en una fabrica metalurgica y despues de 14 años me despidieron y fui a trabajar en una mina a cielo abierto en el norte argentino. tuve la suerte de contar con 3 o 4 tipos de estas mascaras de speedglas.por lejos la mejor¡¡¡ ahora estoy desempleado y tengo un pequeño taller de herreria , me gustaria mucho poder tener una mascara de estas pero es imposible x lo caras que son aca¡ sigan asi¡¡ los felicito

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  4. Robert Engelman says:

    When can I get a 9100 xxi? I live in Illinois and I can’t find it anywhere. Thank you.

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Inspired by your reality

More than 35 years ago, we went to the shipyards of Sweden to study welders working conditions. We found skilled craftsmen blindly striking arcs as they continually nodded their shields down.

From that point on, we committed ourselves to developing tools that would forever improve the world of the welder. Your thoughts and opinions are the bottom line in our continuous search for innovation. Please feel free to address any questions or comments you might have.

Local information can be found at www.speedglas.com.