UL Releases Emissions Standards for 3D Printers

The new standard provides a way to measure and assess emissions and VOCs.

UL Chemical Safety has published its new 3D printing standard for testing and assessing particle and chemical emissions, ANSI/CAN/UL 2904. The standard will help equipment manufacturers and end users mitigate indoor air pollution associated with printer emissions.

ANSI/CAN/UL 2904 contains measurement and assessment protocols for the emissions of particles and volatile chemicals from a variety of different 3D printers, print media, and print applications. According to UL, the Standard applies to “freestanding 3D printers that are typically found in schools, offices, libraries, homes, and other non-industrial indoor spaces, and should be used by stakeholders associated with these products to mitigate indoor air pollution hazards.”

Last year, UL released the results of a study on 3D printing and indoor air quality, and found that many 3D printers generate ultrafine particles (UFPs), as well as more than 200 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including some suspected carcinogens. UFPs may pose a health concern because they are the size of nanoparticles and may be inhaled and penetrate deep into the human pulmonary system.

“ANSI/CAN/UL 2904 will advance the availability of low emission printers and print media for use in the global marketplace. UL is proud to offer its first safety Standard addressing chemical pollution and reducing its impact on human health,” said Phil Piqueira, vice president of standards at UL.

A number of different factors, including nozzle temperature, filament type, filament and printer brand, and filament color, can affect emissions, while extrusion temperature, filament material and filament brand have the biggest impact on emission levels.

“The new Standard allows manufacturers and users of 3D printers to have the assurance that printers have been tested and shown to meet low emission criteria for small particles and volatile chemicals that can affect human heath,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, vice president and senior technical advisor for UL.

UL Chemical Safety and Georgia Tech  summarized their joint research in four reports on 3D printers and emissions. Two scientific research papers, “Characterization of particle emissions from consumer fused deposition modeling 3D printers” and “Investigating particle emissions and aerosol dynamics from a consumer fused deposition modeling 3D printer with a lognormal moment aerosol model,” were published in Aerosol Science and Technology.

ANSI/CAN/UL 2904 is now available for digital download and hard copy purchase through UL Standards' sales website.

Source: UL Chemical Safety

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Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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