Not only houses: 3D printing in the construction industry

In the past couple of years, much has been said about 3D printed buildings. You have probably heard of the Chinese company WinSun, using the technology to build houses in a matter of few days; or that Dubai is planning to use 3D printing in 25% of its buildings by 2030. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. USCS Southern California started its research in 2000 and the Netherlands is taking the lead in Europe, with an established research center in Eindhoven and more companies popping up, such as MX3D and DUS Architets.

And Denmark? Denmark decided to start the new year with a kick. In February (2017), 3D printhuset organized a conference to share and discuss the latest trends on concrete 3D printing and it announced the establishment of a consortium to study and develop innovative solutions in the construction business. In the same period, another news source revealed the arrival of a 3D printed house in Nyborg, the first of its kind in Danish territory, born from the collaboration between create.dk and TU Eindhoven. However, there is much more to the construction industry than 3D printing of full-scale houses. In a near future, we will be able to 3D print furniture and customized components to fit odd spaces and to satisfy any taste. Supply chains will be affected in the way spare parts are managed and 3D printed repair will be more and more common. In this scenario, the Danish company MT Højgaard took us on a tour on how they are working towards a major integration of digital technologies. For example, they turn their drawings into beautiful dynamic 3D printed models of buildings, to improve not only their communication with the clients but also to increase the efficiency of their workflow. More of their strategies were presented to their VDC conference, held in March, where TwentySeven was invited to facilitate a workshop on 3D printing. We had an opportunity to share our experience and to have some interesting discussions on the current challenges of the technology. You can see an excerpt video of the day below.

We have no doubt that the potential for great development is huge in this field and we look forward to seeing what the future will bring. For sure we will follow the phenomenon with great attention and excitement.