Workplace Exposure Measurements of Emission from Industrial 3D Printing

Anneli Kangas*, Kirsi Kukko, Tomi Kanerva, Arto Säämänen, Jan Sher Akmal, Jouni Partanen, Anna-Kaisa Viitanen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Particle and gaseous contaminants from industrial scale additive manufacturing (AM) machines were studied in three different work environments. Workplaces utilized powder bed fusion, material extrusion, and binder jetting techniques with metal and polymer powders, polymer filaments, and gypsum powder, respectively. The AM processes were studied from operator’s point of view to identify exposure events and possible safety risks. Total number of particle concentrations were measured in the range of 10 nm to 300 nm from operator’s breathing zone using portable devices and in the range of 2.5 nm to 10 µm from close vicinity of the AM machines using stationary measurement devices. Gas-phase compounds were measured with photoionization, electrochemical sensors, and an active air sampling method which were eventually followed by laboratory analyses. The duration of the measurements varied from 3 to 5 days during which the manufacturing processes were practically continuous. We identified several work phases in which an operator can potentially be exposed by inhalation (pulmonary exposure) to airborne emissions. A skin exposure was also identified as a potential risk factor based on the observations made on work tasks related to the AM process. The results confirmed that nanosized particles were present in the breathing air of the workspace when the ventilation of the AM machine was inadequate. Metal powders were not measured from the workstation air thanks to the closed system and suitable risk control procedures. Still, handling of metal powders and AM materials that can act as skin irritants such as epoxy resins were found to pose a potential risk for workers. This emphasizes the importance of appropriate control measures for ventilation and material handling that should be addressed in AM operations and environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-608
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and Health
Volume67
Issue number5
Early online date3 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • additive manufacturing (AM)
  • gas-phase compounds
  • industrial 3D printers
  • nanparticles
  • occupational health

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