UL Blue Card Plastics for Additive Manufacturing
The UL Blue Card Certificate is intended to confirm that the plastics materials used are appropriate for use in 3D printing. Once recognized, the products will be searchable to thousands of suppliers looking for a material that can meet their safety and performance requirements.
UL Plastics for Additive Manufacturing Program
The incredibly fast-growing 3D printing — or Additive Manufacturing — industry is challenging plastics manufacturers to consider how this technology will impact their market, operations and products. Unlike traditional manufacturing, such as injection molding, the 3D printing process introduces a new level of variability. These inconsistencies can significantly impact material properties based on how your test specimens are printed.
The UL Plastics for Additive Manufacturing Program (Blue Card Program) provides data that facilitates the preselection of 3D printing materials and components for use in various end products. It defines the requirements necessary to recognize plastics intended for 3D printing, helping prove the safety, integrity and usefulness of those materials.
UL Blue Card Program: 3rd Party Certification
Essentially, the UL Blue Card Program provides third-party certification that participants are using a tested and certified material and that these materials are being monitored at regular intervals to ensure ongoing compliance.
Use of the UL Blue Card Program
The Blue Card Program is to be applied when the material has been processed using one of the following 3D printing technologies:
- Material extrusion
- Powder bed fusion systems
- Vat polymerization
- Material jetting
- Binder jetting
- Sheet lamination
- Direct energy deposition
The Blue Card also includes:
- Information about the 3D print technology used to process the material
- 3D printer model designation
- Test specimen build-parameters that are specific to the technology, e.g., build plane, raster angle, air gap, etc.
- Multiple safety- and performance-related property ratings tested to appropriate standards
Blue Card versus Yellow Card
The Blue Card differs from the Plastics Recognition Program (Yellow Card) in that the Blue Card publishes plastics materials and components intended for use in 3D printing. The Yellow Card is typically applied for traditional manufacturing technologies, such as blow molding, extrusion, film blowing, injection molding, rotation molding and vacuum forming.
IMPORTANT NOTE: None of the performance properties/ratings from a UL Recognized material (Yellow Card) can be applied when that material is used in a 3D printing process to print a 3D part.