The concept of 3D printing is not new. It dates back to the 1980s when it was first developed. However, due to limited resources and lack of technological advancements, the technology could not become as popular as it was expected to be in the early days of its invention.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century when the concept of 3D printing was improved with the help of newer technologies, which became easier to access at cheaper costs. The fields of manufacturing and construction have been greatly benefited by 3D printing technology since it ensures cost-effectiveness and sustainability.
3D printers function pretty much the same as ordinary printers. The only difference is that, instead of printing on paper, these machines have robotic arms that can be programmed to build anything having a three-dimensional shape. This ultramodern technology helps you build faster and more accurately, resulting in reduced production costs and material wastage. These factors also make it integral in terms of eco-friendly and sustainable building solutions.
Now, let’s find out more about the scope and some of the key benefits of using the technology of 3D printing in construction.
Scope of 3D Printing in Construction Industry
Before taking a closer look at the benefits of using 3D printing technology in construction, let’s talk about two of the most promising examples for 3D construction projects in the world.
Dubai Municipality Office Building, UAE
Dubai Municipality Office Building, the world’s first-largest individual 3D printed building, was completed in December 2019. It was worked upon by Apis Cor, a highly renowned 3D printing robot firm.
The structure of this office block is 9.5 metres high and spans 640 square metres. It turned out to be a very interesting and unique construction process. The project was completed in different phases. The 3D printer on the site was moved around with the help of a heavy-duty crane to work on different parts of the building.
Office of the Future in Dubai, UAE
This 3D printed building is also found in the UAE. As the name implies, the Office of the Future has a very unique architecture. It’s the world’s first fully functional 3D printed corporate space owned and maintained by the Emirate’s Future Foundation. Completed in 2016, this extraordinary structure quickly became one of the most famous and strangest-looking landmarks in the urban landscape of Dubai.
The entire structure of ‘Office of the Future’ was put together by a highly expert construction crew in just 48 hours. However, the 3D printing process for different parts of the building was carried out in only 17 days. Altogether, it took only 19 days for this ultramodern project to be completed with the help of 3D printing technology.
Quick Fact: Revolutionary construction projects like ‘Dubai Municipality Office Building’ and ‘Office of the Future’ have put the entire region of the United Arab Emirates on the map of sustainable and futuristic real estate developments.
Benefits of Using 3D Printing Technology in Construction
Resulting in faster outputs and reduced production costs, 3D printed projects have drawn the attention of construction giants all over the world. They are quickly realizing the potential of 3D printing technology and are rolling in more and more investments for its betterment. All these are indicators of the exponential growth of the 3D printing market down the road.
Now, let’s take a detailed look at some of the biggest advantages of using 3D printing in construction projects
Near-to-zero Material Wastage
Keeping in view the general construction industry practices, it is pretty common to order more building materials than they are actually needed. The conventional methods are not only expensive and inefficient but can also let extra construction materials pile up as waste, turning the project’s site into a mess.
However, if we implement 3D printing solutions the right way, we can solve all such wastage problems. The technology has the potential to totally cut construction waste. A 3D printer has been programmed only to use the materials that are required for the construction of the structure – nothing more or less. This could result in huge savings. The use of 3D printers in construction projects is also in line with the eco-friendly construction practices
Faster Completion of Construction Projects with Reduced Costs
Unlike human labour, a 3D printer is capable of working round-the-clock, seven days a week. This means with the help of 3D printing technology, construction projects can be completed much faster by even fewer construction workers, significantly reducing labour costs.
Can Flawlessly Create Complex Architectural Designs
One of the most extraordinary benefits of using 3D printers in construction projects is related to their ability to easily work on highly complex and unusual designs. Since 3D printers construct structures by layering up building material, they can be easily programmed to work on complex architectural designs with almost zero chances of errors.
On the other hand, the construction of unusual structures always turns out to be a daunting task, which may take a lot of time and resources when using traditional building methods.
3D Printing and the Concept of Prefabricated Houses
Prefabricated houses, also known as “modular homes” or “prefab homes”, are based on different sections and parts constructed in a factory, away from the actual construction site. These separate components are then transported to the project’s location where they are put together by construction workers.
Countries like China are manufacturing 3D printed houses and distributing them nationwide to cope up with the increasing housing problems. 3D printing solutions have taken the concept of prefabricated homes to a whole new level.
Not long ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan also introduced the “Prefabricated Housing Project” under the banner of the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme. The government of Pakistan should also consider using 3D printing technology to expand the scope of low-cost housing solutions in the form of prefabricated homes.
Now that we have taken a closer look at the scope and some of the key benefits of using 3D printing in construction projects, it’s time for us to wrap up. We hope this blog has provided you with all the useful information in this regard.
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