HSE issues 3D printer safety warning

HSE issues 3D printer safety warning

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned that 3D printers can create harmful emissions, which could potentially endanger users, in a new report.

3D printer safety warning

The HSE report, which examines emissions from polymer filament desktop 3D printers, found some plastic filament materials, when heated, were found to release chemicals “known to be hazardous to health”, such as styrene and isocyanates.

According to the report, these printers emit many particles that can potentially enter the airways and lungs.

During testing, the HSE found that placing the desktop 3D printer inside an enclosing hood with filtered ventilation reduced particle emission rates by 97%.

The report also recommends placing such printers in an enclosed-hood fitted with a suitable air filtration system and waiting for sufficient time for emissions to clear after printing before opening the hood.

In line with the recommendations from the HSE report, Kora 3D, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) style desktop 3D printers, has developed a universal safety cabinet to protect users.

The Kora SC-01 Safety Cabinet is designed to fit most standard sized FFF/FDM style desktop 3D printers.

3d printer hazards osha

It uses a specialist filter cartridge at the top of the cabinet to draw clean air from the area in which it is situated and to remove potentially harmful emissions.

The SC-01 is also, to date, the only FFF/FDM style 3D printer safety cabinet to have been officially tested by the HSE’s specialist Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL).

“It’s clear that FFF/FDM style 3D printing is a growing sector and one which offers fantastic benefits to business,” said Kora 3D Managing Director, Steve Burrows.

“However, our four-year study alongside the HSE has confirmed the importance of having a greater understanding of the equipment and the need to pay more attention to safety management.

“It was a huge commitment and a risky commercial decision to cease sales of our FFF/FDM style 3D printers. However, we strongly believed that although FFF/FDM style 3D printing delivers huge benefits, not enough had been done until now to investigate the potential risk to users and bystanders.

“At the heart of Kora 3D is a real passion for problem solving, so our talented team has worked closely with the HSE to develop a product which finally makes FFF/FDM style 3D printing safe. As the only company currently with an HSE/HSL tested product, we believe we are now in a very strong commercial position to ambitiously grow our business.”

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