Construction 3D Printing
The AEC industry consists of three separate segments: architecture, engineering and construction. Thus, by integrating these seemingly separate entities into a single industry, ACE professionals can work more efficiently. For architects, engineers, and contractors alike, construction 3D printing represents the full integration of these approaches.
Over the past two decades, these segments have undergone a deep transformation by adopting digital and 3D technologies. As a result, architecture first, and engineering shortly thereafter, have already embraced the digital manufacturing workflow. On the other hand, the construction segment has only recently begun to look at 3D printing and the use of digital additive technologies. The potential to replace “analogic” practices and manual labor is a huge opportunity.
Change is inevitable
While it appears inevitable, the shift toward construction 3D printing is not going to be an easy and seamless transition. Furthermore, the construction industry has typically been slow to embrace technology. This is now changing for the good. The use of technology to deliver projects is accelerating. The appropriate use of the correct technologies can help to deliver successful projects.
From just 10 firms active in 2017, 3dpbm‘s 3D Printing Business Directory now lists over 40 Construction 3D Printer Hardware Manufacturers and nearly 50 Construction 3D Printing Service Providers (some companies are the same as hardware manufacturers also provide services). The most relevant trend that manifested over the past three-year period is that large material firms (such as St Gobain, Heidelberg Cements/Italcementi and LaFargeHolceim) and several large real estate investment funds are becoming involved directly through partnerships and acquisitions.
A global opportunity
Relevant initiatives are taking place in every continent, with markets in China, Russia, MEMA and Europe (mainly Holland, Denmark, Germany but also Spain and Italy) leading the way. North America is now becoming much more actively involved and taking up a leadership role in many approaches (especially in terms of off-grid and sustainable housing or defense applications). Relevant opportunities for affordable 3D printed housing are also expected to rise in emerging and developing economies.
Multi-story (up to 4) capabilities are now starting to become available. Furthermore, construction 3D printing is not just for housing: applications include restorations, bridges, pedestrian passageways, river revetment walls, statues, furniture, fences, fountains… In this rapidly developing context, the multi-trillion dollar construction segment is soon to be dramatically disrupted.
Texas A&M at Qatar hosts 3DCP training program
Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, recently organized a training program focusing on 3D printing concrete structures for engineers working for the Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’.…
India is now home to the world’s first 3D printed temple
Apsuja Infratech, a Hyderabad-based leading construction company, has partnered with Simpliforge Creations, a 3D printing construction company, to create the world’s first 3D printed place of worship – more than…
3DCP Group builds Europe’s first 3D printed school in Ukraine
A groundbreaking initiative to rebuild Ukraine has commenced in Lviv, Ukraine, where the humanitarian foundation Team4UA, together with the Danish 3DCP Group using COBOD’s BOD2 printer, have completed the 3D…
Flowin’ footbridge in China to be produced using 3D printed formwork
Barberio Colella Architetti (Maurizio Barberio and Micaela Colella) + Angelo Figliola, and Zheng Hui Chen designed a new footbridge to be installed over the Fuxi River in Moganshan Town, China.…
Obayashi Corporation completes first 3D printed cement-based building in Japan
Obayashi Corporation, one of Japan’s leading construction companies, has reported the completion of its 3D printed demonstration building, named ‘3dpod’ – a project that started in May 2022. 3dpod is…
Waste from marble quarry used to 3D print architectural elements
According to Digital Building Technologies, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) have developed a…
SCG completes first two-story 3D printed building in Thailand
Siam Cement Group (SCG), the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia, has completed the first two-story 3D printed building in the Association of…
UJ completes South Africa’s first 3D printed building
The University of Johannesburg (UJ) has completed South Africa’s first-ever 3D printed building, thanks to a collaborative effort between UJ’s Department of Architecture and Design and the Department of Science…
Heidelberg to house Europe’s largest 3D printed building
PERI 3D Construction, a pioneer in 3D construction printing, is currently using a COBOD BOD2 3D construction printer to print the walls of Europe’s largest 3D printed building. The project…
EU-funded WOOL2LOOP recycles mineral wool for 3D printing
According to the European Commission‘s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS), mineral wool building insulation could soon be diverted from landfills and used to make geopolymer concrete and 3D…