France-based FABULOUS, a developer of polymeric 3D printing materials, has introduced a new powder material specifically tailored to the needs of the food industry. The newly launched product, a PA11-based powder called BLUECARE, is recognizable for its unique blue color and has been certified for Food Contact Application in the EU.
In other words, BLUECARE is fit for applications that will come into contact with food and alcohol, such as machinery parts in food production systems. In fact, the powder material has already been put to use by IDPRINT 3D, a French design and 3D printing firm which is using BLUECARE to develop 30 cm wide modular food conveyor belts. “BLUECARE is the ideal material for additive manufacturing parts for food conveyors, avoiding the manufacture of a mold that is too expensive for the number of parts to be made,” said Mr. Panchot, Manager of IDPRINT 3D.
Blue plastics are now commonly used in the food industry: the high visibility of the color is easy to detect should any pieces end up in a food product and any possible contaminants are clearly visible on the blue surface.
BLUECARE is engineered for safety and cleanliness: parts made from the material can be easily cleaned and disinfected to remove any risk of mold, spores, food or detergent. The blue color of the material also makes any of these contaminators clearly visible. The material meets requirements set out by international regulations for food contact, including “Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food and alcohol”. FDA certification is reportedly underway.
FABULOUS has also supplied its new material to Netherlands-based 3D printing service OCEANZ, which is using the food-safe material to manufacture food nozzles. “This nozzle is in direct contact with the confectionery,” explained Frank Elbersen, Sales Engineer at OCEANZ. “The confectionery contains sugar, so we need to avoid an abrasive effect on the nozzle. The BLUECARE material is one of the purest raw materials currently available for production. In addition, the material can be easily cleaned with cleaning agents after the production process. 3D printing with this material therefore opens doors for the food industry.”
The material is compatible with many powder-based AM processes, including SLS, HSS, and MJF.