UL introduces additive manufacturing safety certification for powder handling

UL introduces additive manufacturing safety certification for powder handling

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UL introduces additive manufacturing safety certification for powder handling

Safety consulting and certification firm UL has published an Outline of Investigation for Additive Manufacturing Facility Safety Management. The UL 3400 document will be used to certify operations handling both polymer and metal powdered feedstock an actionoften requestedby the developing 3D printing industry.

Incorporated in 1901, UL is a leader in risk assessment for engineering and construction industries operating in 104 countries across the globe. Making the most of its expertise, the firm has since launched a number of industrial training programs to help optimise safe and efficient operation in manufacturing environments.

Since 2016, the firm has collaborated ona program for metal 3D printing trainingwith EOS, and the University of Louisville in Kentucky is home toULs Additive Manufacturing Competency Center(UL AMCC).

Released mid 2017,ULs report on the safety of desktop 3D printerswas a well received publication, serving to eradicate concerns about emissions from fused filament fabrication.

A two-year, 24 page report from UL and collaborators at Georgia Tech and Emory University, took a comprehensive study on the safety of desktop 3D printers. Photo via UL

In industrial environments, dealing with high temperatures and reactive metals, a great deal of care needs to be taken when handling and post processing 3D printed components to ensure the health of personnel. As a particulate substance, powdered materials have the potential to cause harm when ingested in large quantities, and need to be stored in specific conditions to protect the work space.

Norman Lowe, UL AM Global Program Manager, explains, As an Outline of Investigation, UL 3400 helps enable the industry to move faster and be nimble in addressing the need for facility safety guidance.

Any facility usingmachines like EOS P 500, the 3D Systems range, Concept Lasers M2 Cusing machine and more from companies like Arcam, Renishaw and SLM Solutions, may find the UL 3400 document useful when considering best practice.

Compliance with the outline results in the award of a UL Additive Manufacturing Facility Certificate.

Equipment, training and the facility as a whole are also taken into consideration when applying for UL certification. The better an AM facility staff understands the inherent risks and hazards and how to mitigate them to an acceptable level, adds Lowe, the less likely an incident could happen.

He continues, UL 3400 and the certification have been developed with the global market in mind. Its also structured in a modular manner so it can be easily adapted for regional code and safety requirements.

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Featured image shows removing 3D printed parts from the excess powdercake in a polymer sintering system. Photo by Photo by Arthur Los, Milo-Profi studio. Copyright by Flanders Investment & Trade via imaterialise

Beau Jackson is a senior journalist at 3D Printing Industry. Originally from Yorkshire, she has a BA and MA in English from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Kent. Beaus specialist interests in additive manufacturing include its application in new research discoveries, and impact on the cultural heritage sector.

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