RIZE Receives First UL 2904 GREENGUARD for 3D Printing
Michael Molitch-Hou posted on October 01, 2019 |
The Rize One has become the first 3D printer to achieve UL’s new 3D printing safety standard.

RIZE, the manufacturer of the unique Rize One Industrial 3D printer, has achieved an industry first in safety. The company’s industrial system and its Rizium One filament, Release and Marking inks have received the UL 2904 GREENGUARD certification. For those unfamiliar with the development of safety standards in 3D printing, this is a key moment in bringing plastic additive manufacturing (AM) up to the levels of safety we should expect from a production technology.

The Rize One boasts voxel-level control and, now thanks to UL certification, user safety. (Image courtesy of RIZE.)
The Rize One boasts voxel-level control and, now thanks to UL certification, user safety. (Image courtesy of RIZE.)

Since at least 2007, it has become apparent that desktop 3D printers might not be as safe as they once seemed, emitting ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be hazardous for machine operators. This is particularly true for more toxic plastics like ABS that are, unfortunately, more widely used in industrial settings.

UL, already known for setting safety standards across almost countless products and processes, took this as an opportunity to develop a protocol that would help make 3D printers safe for use outside of a highly regulated manufacturing environment. The company first set about confirming what was already discovered by previous research studies, documenting the presence of UFPs and VOCs emitted from desktop 3D printers during operation.

Over 90 of the particles emitted from desktop 3D printers are UPCs, which means that they can be inhaled and cause cardiovascular and pulmonary problems. In the case of VOCs, UL detected over 200 organic compounds, many known to be irritants and carcinogens. This includes the carcinogen formaldehyde, as well as styrene, a flammable chemical and irritant, and caprolactam, an irritant that can affect the eyes, nose and throat and also cause headaches.

The standard was finally completed in February 2019, giving manufacturers the opportunity to put their printers through the ringer, consistently improving the machines until they no longer posed a threat to users, in terms of VOCs and UFPs based on UL’s testing. The ANSI/CAN/UL 2904 standard addresses such factors as filament material and color, operating temperature and printer brand, providing measurement and assessment protocols for particle and chemical emissions for a range of printers, feedstock and applications. The company also unveiled its Blue Card Program, dubbed the Plastics for Additive Manufacturing Program, meant to provide UL certification for 3D-printed end products. 

While companies like Makerbot and Ultimaker have told us that they are working on bringing their systems up to the standards developed by UL, RIZE is the first to officially achieve the UL 2904 GREENGUARD Certification. The Rize One was developed with safety in mind from the start, with the company’s engineering team aiming to make a system that could be used in an office setting.

“We are delighted and honored to be the first company with products that achieved the UL 2904 GREENGUARD Certification,” said Andy Kalambi, president and CEO of RIZE, Inc. “Safety and sustainability is at the core of our mission to expand the usage of industrial 3D printing to all users and in all workplaces. We were able to meet the requirements set forth by UL 2904 because we purpose-built the RIZE system for safety and environmental friendliness, with our engineering-grade thermoplastic compounds that are best-in-class for strength, yet safe to use virtually anywhere without special venting, disposal equipment or gloves.”

Another feature developed with office use in mind is the ability to print easy-to-remove support structures, thanks to a Release ink that is deposited between the supports and the print itself. Along with the XRIZE, which can deposit full-color ink onto printed parts, the Rize One stands apart from other desktop plastic printers on the market. Now that it has received the UL 2904 certification, other machines will have to compete not just in terms of function, but safety as well. To learn more about the Rize One, read our interview with RIZE CEO Andy Kalambi.

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