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.
Dar Al Arkan 3D prints three-strory villa in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Leading Saudi Arabian real estate developer, Dar Al Arkan, has recently completed the build of the world’s tallest on-site 3D printed building, thanks to a COBOD 3D construction printer. The…
University of Michigan researchers advance 3DCP
Researchers at the University of Michigan have reportedly developed a 3D concrete printing (3DCP) technique that promises better and more environmentally friendly structures, at a lower cost. Architect Mania Aghaei…
Researchers awarded nearly $3.5 million to advance 3DCP
Applied Research Associates (ARA), a research and engineering firm headquartered in New Mexico, has awarded faculty in the University of Arkansas’ College of Engineering nearly $3.5 million to study the…
COBOD responsible for almost 40% of all 3D printed buildings
A recent study by COBOD International has found that there are 129 3D printed buildings spread over 105 distinct construction sites, globally – 40% (51 buildings) of which exist thanks…
Huge 3D printed house by SQ4D goes on sale in Long Island, NY
SQ4D LLC (SQ4D), a manufacturer of 3D printed houses using its own construction 3D printing technology, has listed for sale what the company refers to as currently the largest 3D…
Digital Builders Association launches event for construction 3DP
The Digital Builders Association, a Non-Profit Trade Association exclusively serving the Global Digital Construction Industry, launched its first State of the Industry Summit, a two-day online event that will take…
Mighty Buildings, the California way
At the recent AM Strategies 2023 conference, in New York, Voxel Matters caught up with Alexey Dubov, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Mighty Buildings – a Californian company that…
Liz Lambert Teams Up with ICON and BIG to print El Cosmico
Hospitality visionary Liz Lambert and her team have joined forces with ICON, a leader of advanced construction technologies pioneering large-scale 3D printing, and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, a world-renowned architecture firm,…
Beyond 3D printed houses
We had the chance to sit down with Henrik Lund-Nielsen, the founder of COBOD International, to chat about what has been going on at COBOD lately. Mr. Lund-Nielsen has also…