BOFA Publishes Research Paper on 3D Print Industry Emissions

A review into the particulate and gases emitted through 3D print processes has been published by BOFA International.

The company has consolidated the findings of empirical studies into emissions linked to additive manufacturing processes into a report that provides industry guidance on helping protect both the health of employees and product quality through effective filtration systems.

The study underlines the presence of potentially harmful airborne contaminants in 3D printing processes, including VAT polymerization (VP) and fused filament fabrication (FFF). These two additive manufacturing processes alone account for approximately 50% of the total components produced in the AM industry.

“The report highlights the importance of installing effective filtration solutions that can help capture and remove any potentially harmful emissions,” says Ross Stoneham, Product Manager – 3DP & Growth Markets at BOFA International. “This will not only help protect operatives from potentially harmful airborne contaminants but will also ensure that resulting product and the machines remain free from contamination.”

The findings of the report include:

  • The temperature of 3D printer nozzles dramatically influences the volume of particles generated by FFF processes.
  • An increase in 3D printer nozzle temperature decreases the average particle size generated by FFF processes – this means particles can penetrate more easily into the human body, which can potentially impact negatively on health.
  • Any insoluble or low-solubility nanoparticles emitted can pass through human defence mechanisms and locate in the bloodstream, with potential distribution to organs in the body.
  • Gases emitted by FFF printers include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can potentially cause operatives conditions such as headaches, eye irritation, skin problems and occupational asthma.

The findings of the report will be available on the BOFA stand (12.0-E22) at the Formnext 2021 exhibition in Frankfurt between 16th & 19th November.

The BOFA industry paper on 3D print emissions can also be downloaded on BOFA’s website.