UL - Plastics for Additive Manufacturing: “The Blue card program”
Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing (3DP), refers to the processes used to build three-dimensional objects by successively adding material layer-by-layer. This allows objects to be made in almost any shape or geometry. Research by UL and others have found that the safety and other performance properties of 3D printed end-products and/or parts can vary significantly depending upon how they are printed (e.g. orientation, layer thickness, build strategy, etc.). As a result, property ratings listed on Yellow Cards for materials processed by traditional manufacturing means such as Injection Molding, extrusion, blow molding, compression molding, etc., doesn’t adequately reflect 3D printed material performance. In order to meet the new challenges of additive manufacturing, UL created a Recognition category for these materials – the “Blue Card” program. The Blue Card serves as an extension of the existing Plastics Recognition Program (Yellow Card Program) and defines the additional requirements necessary to recognize plastics intended for additive manufacturing. 3D printed parts must meet the relevant polymeric material requirements defined in current end-product and component standards, just like those parts made by traditional manufacturing means. Blue Card is a placeholder for all those critical property values which any end-product application is dependent upon for the polymeric material processed using one of the 3DP process categories. Those parts made by additive manufacturing have additional requirements to address the influence of 3D printing technology and printing parameters on material properties and performance. Therefore, a good understanding on the UL Blue card program is necessary and that is the objective of this session.
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