Legal and Regulatory

UL opens access to global standards library to advance fourth industrial revolution

Underwriters Laboratories, otherwise known as UL, the global safety consulting and certification firm responsible for studies into the safety of desktop 3D printing, has opened online access to all of its library of UL Safety Standards.

“We are all in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and new generations are growing up accustomed to finding and accessing information online at their fingertips,” said Philip Piqueira, Vice President Global Standards at UL.

“By taking this important step, we will keep standards both relevant and vibrant, engaging new generations, more global audiences and educators with UL Standards.”

An FDM 3D printer. Photo via UL.
A standard looking FDM 3D printer. Photo via UL.

UL and additive manufacturing 

Since its founding, UL has been dedicated to public safety. The company has developed over 1400 Standards addressing safety, security and sustainability challenges as well as safe living and working conditions for people worldwide.

New technologies such as additive manufacturing have also received UL Standard documentation. Earlier this month, the company published the “Standard Method for Testing and Assessing Particle and Chemical Emissions from 3D Printers” for stakeholders seeking to mitigate indoor air pollution risks from 3D printer emissions.

Prior to this, UL 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.

Additionally, UL 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.

An FDM 3D printer. Photo via UL.
UL-authored tips for 3D printing. Image via UL.

Digitizing safety standards

According to Piqueira, the digitization of the UL Standards library demonstrates it’s evolving business model which intends to align with the globalization of information. “Digital technologies and globalization have driven, and continue to drive, huge changes in standards and the way they are utilized,” added Piqueira.

“That is why today, in what we believe to be an essential and far-reaching move, our entire library of UL-authored Standards now has open-access online viewing capability for any interested individual or organization globally, for the first time in our 125 years.”

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
Powder handling is one the latest areas of health and safety to receive guidelines from UL. Photo by Arthur Los, Milo-Profi studio. Copyright by Flanders Investment & Trade via imaterialise.

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Featured image shows an FDM 3D printer. Photo via UL.

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