Additive Manufacturing: Emissions from 3D Printers

Whether for tool and machine parts, packaging or everyday objects - today life without 3D printers is hard to imagine. Despite obvious advantages, such as cost efficiency and speed, the new technology also harbours risks: according to initial findings, ultra-fine particles as well as volatile organic compounds are generated when handling the devices or printing 3D with plastics and metals. In order to ensure safety regarding the level of emissions, WESSLING's experts offer not only the accompanying ambient air measurement but also advice on legal issues relating to occupational safety. This also includes the creation of suitable working areas for 3D printing.

Emission of airborne particles and VOCs

Professional additive manufacturing processes with metals mainly take place in encapsulated devices. “However, for maintenance or loading the equipment, they must be opened," says WESSLING’s expert Dr Jens Reiber. “In this way, particles and volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, can be released, and they can have a harmful effect on health." An aggravating factor is that every fibre can behave differently, depending on the printer in question.

As additive processes are also increasingly used in the area of food production - for example in packaging - German legislation stipulates that food safety must be observed. WESSLING determines the particulate matter emissions from equipment, examines the (food) safety of products and the effectiveness of filter systems. 

Our range of services in additive manufacturing:

  • Emission of airborne particles and VOCs
  • Physicochemical characterisation of plastic and metal products: pollutants, chemical resistance, technical cleanliness, etc.
  • Examination of the products’ food safety  
  • Verification of the effectiveness of filter systems, certification if necessary
  • Advice on occupational safety and setting up suitable 3D printing workspaces
  • Explosion protection when using powders
  • REACH and RoHs conformity
  • Determination of the products’ individual carbon footprint