Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing - an Emerging Technology


More commonly knows as ‘3D Printing’, additive manufacturing (AM) is a collection of manufacturing techniques characterized by the ability to manufacture objects of high complexity using high levels of automation. These are generally grouped into seven main categories (Afshar-Mohajer et al., (2015): material extrusion, material jetting, sheet lamination, selective laser sintering, directed energy deposition, binder jetting, and vat photopolymerization).

These methods are especially useful for prototyping where there are high levels of customization and/or complexity, and where relatively few replicates are needed. AM is a rapidly emerging technology that has made significant advances in reducing cycle time and improving specific manufacturing characteristics.

PhD Student Research Projects:

Characterizing Emissions Generated by 3D Printing Operations
– R. Burton, MPH, CIH

Additive Manufacturing (AM), constitutes a rapidly emerging technology. No longer confined to the design industry, these technologies are seen with exponentially increasing frequency in research and development, manufacturing, medicine, education, and even home use. Open source designs for 3D printing are readily accessible through the internet (1). New opportunities in the business world for expansion of AM technology are appearing daily. However, the occupational exposures and risks associated with this technology have not been thoroughly characterized, making appropriate risk management very challenging. Existing research has focused upon fused deposition modeling, but much of the most innovative and promising research being done in this field makes greater use of other AM methods, including vat photopolymerization and powder bed methods such as binder jetting (2-6). Very little information is available regarding exposures or controls for these AM technologies (2). This study aims to characterize airborne emissions during tasks associated with binder jetting and vat photopolymerization, and use the exposure determinant data generated with predictive models to recommend ideal engineering controls for this technology. Exposures will be studied in a field laboratory environment, using real-time detection and integrated methods for detecting and quantifying potentially sensitizing metals (PSM), aerosols from nanometer range to 20 μm, acrylate monomers, and volatile organics. This data will enable us to better understand employee exposures during the various tasks of AM processes, and recommend optimal controls for their management.

Characterization of Exposures During Metal Additive Manufacturing – K. Serrano, MPH, CIH, CSP, HHS

Additive manufacturing (AM) is known in the manufacturing industry as a “disruptive technology”. This technology has grown at exponential rates in the last few years. According to the recent Wohlers Report, “revenue from metals grew an estimated 41.9%” in 2018 and has had growth of 40% or more each of the last five years.(1) With the rapid growth of this technology, there has been a delay in information regarding the worker exposures to these emerging technologies. The AM technologies get adopted by businesses without knowing the health risks to employees. Currently, there are very few exposure studies on metal additive manufacturing.(2, 3) This project proposes to characterize worker exposures to metals from the additive manufacturing powder bed fusion process. This project is unique in that it will be the first to assess both airborne and dermal hazards. Secondly, this project will use data from the exposure characterization to generate and test worker health and safety training materials with the study workforce. The ultimate goal is the dissemination of health and safety training to the greater population of additive manufacturing workers. The training materials will help bridge the gap between the upcoming workers in the AM field and the transfer of knowledge from the field of health and safety.

Knowledge Transfer: