IPA Health, Safety, and Sustainability Concerns – Is there a Better Option?

Sustainability, health, and safety are all important factors for most manufacturing operations. As we’ve mentioned previously, companies are making strides toward reducing their carbon footprint and improving their sustainability practices. With 65% of additive manufacturers looking to increase their health, safety, and sustainability in their post-processing operations this year, it’s important to evaluate every element of your post-processing workflow.

One major hurdle additive manufacturers face with the sustainability, health, and safety of their operations is the use of IPA in their post-processing workflow, especially with resin. What are some alternatives to IPA in the post-processing workflow, and what’s the best option for your operation? Read on to find out.

Why Not IPA?

Beaker with IPAIPA or isopropyl alcohol is the traditional solvent used for post-processing many resins. IPA also reaches saturation fast and requires frequent changeouts, which can affect the sustainability of your additive operation.

Once the parts are soaked in an IPA bath, often multiple times, they can become saturated and warped from the time spent in the tank(s) to get the resin removed. Even after multiple baths, parts may still need manual scrubbing or cleaning to remove any leftover residue or stickiness from the soaking process. This can cause musculoskeletal disorders in technicians who are required to repeat this scrubbing step repeatedly.

While your parts will get clean, IPA can be problematic from both a sustainability point of view and a health/safety point of view. The risk of dermal or respiratory damage is a major concern for operations that use IPA. Even more concerning is the low flashpoint of IPA (12℃ or 53.7℉), which makes this chemical combustible and can cause explosions.

Traditional IPA Alternatives

Alternatives to IPA are available that can be used for resin removal. However, most do not help in areas like sustainability, health, or safety. For example, dipropylene glycol methyl ether (DPM) or tripropylene glycol methyl ether (TPM) may be used instead of IPA. But these solvents still cause harmful fumes and require frequent chemical changeouts. They aren’t very effective in complex geometries and therefore pose the same warpage concerns as IPA. With all the extra post-processing steps required with these alternatives, you’ll also pay more per unit.

Is There a Better Option?

If sustainability, health, and safety are at the forefront of your considerations for a post-processing solution, PostProcess’s PLM-403-SUB could be the answer to your post-processing struggles. Our detergent offers a significantly lower flashpoint when compared to IPA and does not give off overpowering, unpleasant fumes like IPA or its alternatives. Because our detergent is less hazardous than IPA, it can be cheaper to dispose of and reaches saturation much slower than IPA, meaning less waste.

PLM-403-SUB was specifically developed to work with our patented Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC) technology, a transformative post-printing solution. When used in one of our DEMI family of solutions, our detergent unlocks revolutionary benefits and efficiencies for SLA/DLP/CLIP users.

 

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