Additive Manufacturing and Related Combustible Dust Hazards

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Over the last few years we have witnessed the expansion of additive manufacturing using 3D printers, from their utilization as a prototyping tool to increasing implementation on the plant floor. The rapid evolution of this technology and its applications has created new challenges for process safety. These challenges involve understanding powder combustibility properties and how best to implement reliable measures to prevent fires and explosions during powder processing and handling.

Additive Manufacturing and Related Combustible Dust Hazards

If you are involved in purchasing a 3D printer or a building official charged with reviewing and approving its use in your community, you need to be aware of certain hazards and what to do about them.

Management of the hazards posed by combustible dusts has been regulated in the last decades. For instance, the so-called ATEX Directives and ISO standards (mainly ISO 60079) apply in the European Union and some other countries. In the United States, National Fire Protection Association standards (mainly NFPA 652, 654 and specifically for metallic dusts, NFPA 484) aim to reduce combustible dust hazards.

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