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Blue Card for Plastics

The new calling card for 3D printing materials – it’s blue!

Now it’s simple to find the right material for Additive Manufacturing

You’ve heard about the Yellow Card and the White Card. But what is the Blue Card?


Simple: it’s the new way for components and end-product manufacturers to find the precise material they need for their Additive Manufacturing processes. And, it’s a clever opportunity for materials manufacturers to reach new 3D customers.

UL Blue Cards are listed in the UL iQ™ and Prospector® databases, which are used by end product manufacturers to find providers of verified materials and components.

New methods create new opportunities…

Additive Manufacturing (AM) – commonly called 3D printing – has been around in some form for decades. But it is only recently that the technologies have evolved to make AM efficient and attractive enough for large-scale industrial deployment. This offers manufacturers an opportunity to not only reduce costs, but to employ a design-driven manufacturing process that enables increased innovation and flexibility.

… and new demands

Finding the right material is the challenge. Many materials react differently in Additive Manufacturing than they do in traditional processing. Components and end-product manufacturers need clear and concise information specific to their needs, e.g.:

  • Material performance properties and safety ratings
  • Test specimen build parameters specific to the 3D printer technology (e.g. build plane, raster angle, air gap, etc. for material extrusion technology)
  • Additional information about processing that has a demonstrated influence on the properties and performance of the printed test specimens

And they need all of this information for the various 3D printing technologies, including: 

  • Material Extrusion
  • Powder Bed Fusion Systems
  • VAT Polymerization
  • Material Jetting
  • Binder Jetting
  • Sheet Lamination
  • Directed Energy Deposition

Example of a UL Blue Card and White Card. The White Card promotes performance credentials related to international standards.

Enter the Blue Card

The UL Blue Card provides verification that a material is appropriate for a specific 3D printing technology. It helps ensure that the component or end-product manufacturer is using a tested and certified material that is monitored at regular intervals by an independent test laboratory.

While technically part of the Yellow Card (Plastics Recognition) Program, the Blue Card (Plastics for Additive Manufacturing) Program defines the additional requirements necessary to “recognize” plastics intended for 3D printing and 3D printed components and products.

A Blue Card is automatically issued when a material intended for 3D printing receives a UL Recognized Component Mark, and delivers a simple and easy-to-read reference resource for manufacturers using AM technologies.

Materials manufacturers benefit, too

The UL Blue Card is also an online resource. Certified materials are added to the Prospector® and UL iQ™ suite of free relational databases, which are used by end product and component manufacturers to find providers of verified materials and components. It’s the ideal, low-maintenance way for materials manufacturers to promote their products and their properties to global markets and potential customers.

So remember:

  • Yellow card – for material safety and quality in traditional manufacturing
  • Blue Card – for material safety and quality in Additive Manufacturing
  • White Card – for material performance

Which color will be next?