There has been much talk in recent years about what AM can accomplish. Likewise, the community is starting to take into consideration different sides of the equation. The health-related safety of the printing process has been often put under the media’s spotlight and questioned: a 2 years investigation conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other institutes has provided a thorough answer to put everyone’s mind at ease. Also, as new frontiers of cybersecurity are exposing the risks involved in a digital manufacturing pipeline, the US Navy is exploring blockchain technologies to secure its IPs and production processes from outside interference. Nonetheless, AM is also fuelling safe practices, enabling University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering researchers to develop nuclear sensors that will be able to withstand the prohibitive environments within a nuclear reactor. Advanced situational awareness is critical to the safe operation of nuclear reactors, a lesson we learned at our expense in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.
Is 3D printing safe? UL publishes Safety Science of 3D Printing
The short answer to the question, Is 3D printing safe? Yes. Marilyn Black, Ph.D. VP & Senior Technical Advisor, UL Inc calls for a “standardized method for measuring and assessing the emissions released during printing.” In a welcome to the study Black explains, “This will allow for consistent and comparative data to be obtained from laboratories, machine manufacturers, and suppliers of filaments.”
Published as the proceedings of the Safety Science of 3D Printing Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year, the authors:
“hope this exchange of information will enable more collaborative discussions, research, innovation, informed policy advancement, and science based initiatives leading to the safe of use 3D printers.”
US Navy to employ blockchain to control 3D printers
The U.S Department of the Navy (DoN) has revealed plans to use a blockchain to control its 3D printers. Lieutenant Commander Jon McCarter has now revealed in a blog post that the DoN will begin trialing blockchain this summer before issuing a report in September on the proof-of-concept. Blockchain is an example of a decentralized network which means data is shared across the network and not secured in one location.
By having a distributed network in this way the Navy can “both securely share data between Additive Manufacturing sites, as well as help secure the digital thread of design and production.”
Read more about the project here.
DoE grants University of Pittsburgh $1.3 million for 3D printed nuclear sensors
he University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering has won a grant of $1.275 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The fund will support research into the development of additive manufacturing techniques to make electrical sensors – used to monitor conditions inside nuclear turbines.
At the time of this initial grant, Dr. Kevin Chen [the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UPitt who will lead the project] explained the necessity of nuclear sensor systems,
An important lesson of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 is the lack of situation awareness of nuclear power systems especially under stressed or severe situations. When the plant was evacuated following the earthquake and tsunami, we lost the ability to know what was happening in key systems. This information blackout prevented the implementation of proper control mechanisms, which then triggered a disastrous chain of events.
Read more about it here.
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