When considering safety in the operation of resin-based 3D printers it is important to note that the primary risk comes from exposure to uncured residues/materials. In keeping with good housekeeping procedures a major recommendation for 3D printing users is that 3D printers and the handling of uncured resins should be done in a well-ventilated area. Though this advice may seem like common sense when handling chemicals of this nature, as SLA and DLP 3D printers drop in price and reach more consumers, stakeholders in the UV+EB photopolymer industry have developed an instructional poster to help users and suppliers to be better informed in material handling and care.
Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins
A former employee of the Dow Chemical Company and Ashland, Michael Gould, now Technical Key Account Manager at RAHN USA and chairman for the Environmental Health and Safety Committee at RadTech, outlines that one of the responsibilities of the UV+EB photopolymer industry is to ensure a thorough understanding of new and emerging applications. 3D printing, at present, is exemplary of this. “We see additive manufacturing/3D printing as possibly the largest new growth area in the last 20 to 30 years. However, in the chemical industry, the focus has always been on the safe handling of chemical products,” Gould explains. “Allowing untrained individuals to handle reactive chemical products is a risk for both users and the environment. We believe that a thorough education on the safe, responsible handling of our products is essential. Believing otherwise would not allow for a sustainable business.”
As an association for UV+EB photopolymer technology, RadTech therefore assess the promise of 3D printing, and, in response to safety concerns Mike Idacavage, Radical Curing LLC, along with other members of RadTech, have compiled a health and safety poster for the Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins. A free resource available to download and print, this poster is designed to help disseminate accurate material handling knowledge, and create new conversations around safety among OEMs.
Several years in the making, the Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins has been subject to multiple drafts to ensure all aspects are accounted for. Once this information was compiled, RadTech organized a student design competition to make the poster more visually appealing and most importantly, easy to understand.
The poster was first made public in 2017 and since then has become a regular addition to 3D printer and materials shipments by various RadTech participants.
UV+EB photopolymer safety
The Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins is the first of a series of health and safety programs planned by RadTech to encourage common use of UV+EB photopolymer 3D printing technologies. When presented at the Photopolymer Additive Manufacturing Workshop held by RadTech at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) earlier this year, the poster generated interest among attendees who started making suggestions for a version 2.0. In the future, the associate plans to expand its resources to benefit more industrial UV+EB photopolymer handlers, as well as specific industries, like automotive, medical and dental.
The Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins poster can be downloaded for free here. Manufacturers seeking their own ways to promote the safety of users, are encouraged to contact Mickey Fortune at RadTech with any queries.
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Featured image shows part of the Proper Handling of UV Curable 3D Printing Resins safety poster. Image via RadTech