Boston-based 3D printer manufacturer RIZE has announced that it has received the UL 2904 GREENGUARD Certification for its RIZE One 3D printer and filament. The certification is based on the UL 2904 Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers published by the Illinois-based global safety consulting and certification firm UL in 2018. Products qualified with the UL 2904 GREENGUARD Certification are scientifically proven to comply with rigorous third-party chemical emissions standards.
RIZE is said to be the first company in the 3D printing industry to have received the certification. Alberto Uggetti, vice president and general manager for UL’s Environment division comments, “As the first 3D printer provider to earn GREENGUARD Certification to UL 2904, RIZE demonstrates their leadership in proactively bringing 3D printers to market that help support healthier indoor environments. We congratulate them on this notable accomplishment.”
The UL2904 GREENGUARD Certification
In 2018, UL along with the Georgia Institute of Technology, published a two-year study detailing the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles (UFPs) released from many desktop 3D printers. These emissions are known health hazards, therefore presenting a health risk to those surrounded by 3D printers in schools, hospitals, offices and factories.
Over 90 percent of the UFPs emitted by the 3D printers are said to be less than 0.1 micron in size. Their nanoparticle dimensions means that, when inhaled, they can cause cardiovascular and pulmonary issues. Furthermore, the study also found that there are more than 200 VOCs produced by 3D printers, many of which are identified irritants and carcinogens. Common VOCs detected include formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and caprolactam, a known irritant of eyes, nose and throat that can also cause headaches.
As a result of the study, UL had identified the need to create emissions standards for the rapidly growing 3D printing industry, and published the UL 2904 Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers. The standard outlines the particle and VOC emission limits of 3D printers, therefore demonstrating that the machines can effectively operate without having a negative impact on indoor air quality.
The UL 2904 GREENGUARD qualification for “non-industrial” 3D printers is part of the GREENGUARD certification program by UL for test methods, standards and emission limits encompassing a variety of product groups. These groups include building materials, furniture and furnishings, electronic equipment (3D printers fall within this category), cleaning and maintenance products, and medical devices for breathing gas pathways. Products that have received the GREENGUARD certification are deemed helpful towards reducing indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure, while also enabling the establishment of healthier indoor environments.
The RIZE One is the first 3D printer to be certified with the UL 2904 GREENGUARD certification. The system was commercially introduced by RIZE in 2017, and was marketed towards use within indoor office environments upon its release. Geared towards the production of functional prototypes, tooling and service parts, the system uses the company’s proprietary Augmented Polymer Deposition (APD) technology which combines extrusion and ink jetting simultaneously to build 3D parts. It also features a 300mm x 200mm x 150mm build size, and requires minimal post-processing for its completed components.
“We are delighted and honored to be the first company with products that achieved the UL 2904 GREENGUARD Certification,” explained Andy Kalambi, president and CEO of RIZE, Inc. “Safety and sustainability is at the core of our mission to expand the usage of industrial 3D printing to all users and in all workplaces.”
“We were able to meet the requirements set forth by UL 2904 because we purpose-built the RIZE system for safety and environmental-friendliness, with our engineering-grade thermoplastic compounds that are best-in-class for strength, yet safe to use virtually anywhere without special venting, disposal equipment or gloves.”
Setting standards for safety in 3D printing
UL first published the “Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers” in January 2019. The first edition of the document, ANSI/CAN/UL 2904, is intended to be used by stakeholders seeking to mitigate indoor air pollution risks from 3D printer emissions.
Additionally, UL has published an Outline of Investigation for Additive Manufacturing Facility Safety Management. The UL 3400 document certifies operations for handling both polymer and metal powdered feedstock. Leading defense company Lockheed Martin was the first to achieve the UL 3400 certification for additive manufacturing.
Furthermore, UL has also launched a Blue Card for additive manufacturing materials program. This program allows customers to have published data that facilitates pre-selection of 3D printed materials and components for use in various end products.
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Featured image shows the Rize One in an office environment. Photo via Rize, Jon Chomitz