White Paper

Safety with Formlabs SLS Products: Air Quality and Dust Hazard Analysis

This document summarizes the results of an air quality assessment and a combustible and dust hazard analysis, and provides guidance on SLS housekeeping.

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  • Executive Summary
  • Air Quality Assessment from U.S. Compliance
  • Combustible and Dust Hazard Analysis from Stonehouse
  • Formlabs Housekeeping Program
  • Conclusion
  • Disclaimer

Executive Summary

Formlabs selective laser sintering (SLS) ecosystem is designed and manufactured to ensure a safe and easy-to-use 3D printing experience. Refer to Formlabs machine manuals and powder safety data sheets as a primary source of safety information. Additional documentation such as workspace preparation and a quick start guide can be found on the Formlabs support page.
In order to provide further health and safety information related to the handling of SLS powder, Formlabs requested an air quality assessment from U.S. Compliance as well as a combustible and dust hazard analysis from Stonehouse Process Safety. Both studies took place at the Formlabs SLS research and development (R&D) facility in Somerville, MA, which has about 60 SLS printers and 15 post-processing machines.

Air Quality Assessment from U.S. Compliance

U.S. Compliance is a leader in environmental, health and safety (EHS) compliance management, delivering Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance and EHS consulting solutions. Read more about OSHA requirements on this page.
Compliance conducted an air quality assessment at Formlabs MA R&D facilities, to determine the level of employee powder exposure. The parameter considered was the eighthour time-weighted average (TWA): the employee’s average airborne exposure in an eight-hour work shift. Two types of air sampling were performed from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM continuously.
1. ROOM SAMPLING Monitors were staged on tripods throughout multiple workspaces. Eight rooms were measured, including engineering labs, print production farms with a large fleets of printers, and media blasting rooms. The workspace varies from a 190 m² room with over 20 Fuse printers and four Fuse Sifts to smaller rooms of 35 m² size with about 10 printers and four Fuse Sifts.
All Formlabs SLS rooms are equipped with HVAC systems providing at least three full air exchanges per hour. In some cases the air exchange was increased, without having to change the HVAC systems in place, by adding exhaust fans in windows.

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