MIG welding can be a very lucrative profession, but it is also one that comes with its fair share of dangers, and any welder who specialises in MIG-type welding needs to take steps to protect themselves. Using a robust welding mask to protect your eyes and face is obviously vital, but you should also place close attention to the clothing you are wearing while welding.
Welding workwear made from flame-resistant cotton (commonly known as FR cotton) is hugely popular in the MIG welding profession, and for good reason. Workwear made from FR cotton offers numerous advantages over both traditional leather welding wear and more modern workwear made from specialised, synthetic materials.
Why should MIG welders choose workwear made from flame-resistant cotton?
If you work in the welding trade, making sure your clothes don't catch fire when the sparks are flying is probably fairly high on your list of priorities. As its name would suggest, FR cotton is highly flame-resistant and will not ignite even when hovering directly over whatever you are welding.
Cotton fibres are naturally fairly resistant to fire; FR cotton manufacturers augment this natural flame resistance by treating FR cotton workwear with special chemical compounds. When sparks impact fabric treated with these compounds, a chemical reaction occurs, creating non-flammable gases that starve the impact point of oxygen and prevent a spark from becoming an open flame.
It is true that FR cotton is not quite as fire-resistant as more robust materials, such as leather. However, MIG welding uses relatively low temperatures compared to other welding techniques, and the flame-resistant properties of FR cotton are more than adequate for preventing ignition during MIG welding processes.
FR cotton workwear is very affordable, especially when compared to high-end welding workwear made from the most modern synthetic materials. Choosing FR cotton workwear means you can save your money without having to compromise on safety, and it allows you to replace your workwear frequently when it becomes soiled or damaged — perfect if your welding work takes you to rough-and-tumble workplaces, such as quarries and mines.
FR cotton welding wear is also very lightweight and will remain so even if you decide to use added protection made from leather or synthetic materials to protect your most vulnerable areas. This can be a tremendous boon for long workdays, allowing you to work longer and harder hours without suffering from fatigue which can undermine the quality of your work.
As you can imagine, welding wear made from leather can get stiflingly hot and sweaty, and synthetic fibres often aren't much better when it comes to breathability. Welders wearing FR cotton workwear will stay cooler for longer, making it ideal for welders who primarily work outdoors or on heat-producing machines, such as boilers and hydraulic presses.