What’s going to revolutionize manufacturing this week?
Lasers that sinter? 3D printers that add? Electron beams that melt or fuse or weld?
As exciting as the possibilities are, a key aspect of additive technologies is often a powdered material that is manipulated by light or temperature into objects our
Today’s powders may be metals, polymers, ceramics or biological materials.
These engineered nanomaterials may be composed of individual particles smaller than 100 nanometers.
In discussions of air pollution, particles smaller than 100 nm are often called UFP, or ultra-fine particles.
UFP in the body
You can’t see them, but you can inhale them.
Inside the body, UFP can cause inflammation, heart disease and may alter DNA processes.
In their additive manufacturing lab, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used a variety of metal powders, including stainless steel and alloys containing nickel, cobalt, chrome and titanium.
Although they used a system that is self-contained when in operation, NIST says “raw metal powders used as input materials present the greatest risk to operators”.2
Clearly, nano-scale powders in additive processes present respiratory risk to your team.
Manufacturing professionals must develop health and safety programs with respiratory protection strategies to protect workers from UFP.
Particle exposure in additive manufacturing processes
Workers can be exposed to hazardous particles when:
- powders are received and inventoried.
- powder-based additive manufacturing systems are set up for production.
- the systems are opened, cleaned and maintenance is performed.
- workers remove the PPE they wear for the above tasks.
- manufactured objects are post-processed by machines and hand tools.
Welding fume extraction’s relevance to UFP and additive manufacturing
Welding produces combustion-derived nanoparticles, known hazards to human lungs.4
Our 30-year old company produces welding fume extractors that capture UFP before it can be inhaled.
We know this because we test them.
Additive manufacturing fume extraction
Read about the impact of 3D printing fume extraction on a medical manufacturer’s facility in our blog.
Similar good results are possible for your facility.
Seeking appropriate ventilation for processes that produce UFP?
Our applications specialists work with manufacturers in many industries to solve unsafe air problems. Call them at 800.799.4609 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also use the comment form below as well as in the feedback forms on our website.
1Translocation of Inhaled Ultrafine Particles to the Brain
2Lessons Learned in Establishing the NIST Metal Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, NIST Technical Note 1801, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce
3Combustion-derived nanoparticles: A review of their toxicology following inhalation exposure
4A guide to laser safety
7Air quality solutions for manufacturing technology