Are Formlabs units designed for 'lights off manufacturing'?

In other words “unsupervised overnight running.” The reason I ask is because I have been told I can’t run overnight in my workplace. However I think this person is making this risk assessment based on FDM printer experience and not SLA units. FDM machines have a thermal runaway failure mode if the thermistor fails/falls off but this is no a plausible failure mode for a SLA printer. The SLA failure mode that could result in fire is; if the motor jammed and caught fire? Is there a current monitoring function to prevent this from happening on Formlabs printers?

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oh no…you have one of THOSE safety people???

Any mid to high end FDM printer is going to be plenty safe to run lights out. If it really comes down to it…you can buy a fire suppression system and enclosure for them to satisfy the safety police. I could be wrong, but I believe the actual common cause of fires (on cheap machines…) is the power supply arcing due to under rated fuses and power terminals.

Regarding SLA, my opinion is that these units are even less likely to cause a fire than the FDM systems for sure. A Formlabs printer should absolutely be safe to run overnight.

Our safety police havnt bothered me about the printers yet, but I am super surprised he hasn’t noticed the 99.9% alcohol (which I properly labeled) especially since he is always on the lookout for flammable materials.

My suggestion would be to create some sort of Risk Analysis report. Basically showing that yes, fire is a serious risk, but likelihood is so extremely low, that it almost cant be measured. I doubt Formlabs would share their FMEA, but if you email CS, they might give you a line of text to share with the safety guy to help your case.

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Thanks for your advice, yes will add this to the risk assessment.

Hi @MacDwell,

Although I don’t have an article or page from our site that speaks directly to this, we have dozens of production units that run essentially 24/7 and I have personally used my Form 2 overnight more often than I have it running during the day. I am sure that there will be many others on the forums that share this sentiment and use pattern, and hope we can get you what you need in order to appease the powers that be.

@jdrews seems to be right on the money with this one!

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I run both FDM (Industrial) and FL large machines whenever I want, and the fire risk has never seriously even entered into my mind. The Stratasys FDM machines run with a heated build chamber,(80 C) and are designed to be run without attendence, i.e. overnight or at weekends, and the FL 3L’s are treated the same.

In reality, when are any machines 100% supervised? Never. The whole idea of Additive is it makes parts and money when everybody is asleep, so although there is never “no risk”, (my toaster could catch fire if “unattended”.)!

Most of my prints are very large and take anywhere between 7 hours and 2 days to print, so by the nature of this they must run unattended overnight. Whoever is limiting the use of their machines because of this “perceived” problem is missing a huge manufacturing opportunity. Regards to all. Chris

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The fire risk from IPA is much higher than TPM, which is why I would never use IPA, WHich as an aerosol (i.e. when it evaporates) isn’t really too good for you at all.