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FABULOUS food-safe 3D printing materials enter US market

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FABULOUS, a French company specializing in the development of technical powder materials for selective laser sintering (SLS), made quite the impact in 2021 when it introduced its first food-safe PA 11 under the BLUECARE brand. Since then, the company has not only expanded its range of food-safe SLS materials (with its DETECT powder), but most recently it announced its entry into the American market. This expansion will broaden the customer base for its powder bed fusion materials and encourage the proliferation of SLS applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

The company’s BLUECARE and DETECT powders were developed to meet the needs of the food production and pharmaceutical industries. Both materials, distinguished by their blue color,  can be used with virtually all desktop and industrial SLS systems that are compatible with third-party materials. To date, the materials have been used across Europe for a variety of applications, including modular food conveyor belts, food scrapers, cake extrusion nozzles, robot clamps for packaging lines, spare parts in production lines and more.

FABULOUS expands food-safe powders US

Now, FABULOUS’ food-safe SLS powders are available to American customers and have received “the highest food contact certifications from the FDA CFR21 positive list” (this is on top of existing EU 10/2011 certifications for food contact). FABULOUS adds that it is currently in discussions with both American SLS machine manufacturers and distributors to form partnerships that will supply its materials to the American customer base. The market expansion follows FABULOUS’ successful filing of a patent in 2021, which was reportedly internationalized earlier this year in countries including the U.S.

Notably, FABULOUS’ food-safe materials are based on PA 11, a bio-sourced and recyclable material, and feature no initiator additives and degradable pigments. This material composition was chosen to “ensure the best health safety certifications for the end consumer” and to meet and exceed the requirements of food-contact regulations. This is in contrast to the commonly used SLS material PA12, which is petroleum-based and can contain titanium dioxide additives, which are increasingly being phased out for health and safety reasons.

“These PA12 materials do not comply with the European Union safety alerts gradually banning the use of TiO2 in food components, nor with FDA regulations limiting the use of PA12 only to ultra-thin parts equivalent to a food film or powder coating,” FABULOUS explains. (The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) found the additive should not be considered food safe in 2021, while the FDA is currently reviewing its use as a color additive.)

FABULOUS will be presenting its food-safe powders with partners like Arkema this June at Rapid + TCT in Los Angeles. The company has also hinted that it will be introducing even more SLS materials in its “Safety and Security” range before the end of the year. Other materials currently available in its portfolio include ACTIVE, a PA11-based material with sanitary conformity accreditation (ACS) for drinking water; DARK and DEEP, both black PA11-based materials; and PURE and VALUE, PA12-based polymers with varying grain size.

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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