3D Concrete Printing Market: The Versatile Technology to be the Latest Rage in Construction
  • Nearly 70% of overall rework happening in construction as well as engineering products is owing to design-induced rework.
  • 56% of rework happens owing to improper project data along with miscommunication.
  • 21% of rework on construction sites is the result of bad data and the lack of advanced technologies.
  • This means that around USD 34.6 billion in rework happened owing to inaccurate project data, miscommunication, and lack of modern technologies in the U.S. alone in 2020.
  • Between 4% and 23% of overall costs is the total amount of rework, which negatively impacts the project schedule. All this can be prevented with the use of the right, advanced technology.

Since the time New York’s high-rise skylines were created, the art of building and construction has been almost the same. Till today, traditional techniques like formwork, conventional building mixtures, and manual labor are used for erecting structures. But with the escalation in technological advances in construction automation, a notable shift has been taking place in a variety of construction processes. Disruptive technologies such as 3D automated machines have been gradually making their way into the construction sector. Although they are in the infancy stage, these advanced machines will be offering housing solutions to 2.4 billion worldwide citizens that lack access to affordable and safe accommodation.

This brings us to 3D Concrete Printing

3D concrete printing is one of the most innovative technologies and can be described as a combination of knowledge of traditional construction applications and digital fabrication art. The 3D print concrete refers to a unique concrete type that is directly deposited layer by layer using the 3D printer. Additionally, its hardening time, setting, mechanism, and various mechanical properties are optimized during the process. 3D printing has a number of practical use-cases in the construction industry and elevates the efficiency of the construction projects while bringing down the total costs generally incurred.

Eliminating the requirement for the concrete to be cast into framework or molds, 3D concrete printing is a cost-effective construction method. The concrete’s curing time is almost as low as two days, and the entire structure can be built in just a few hours; making it a cheaper and quicker alternative to traditional construction methods.

The concrete mix’s ingredients are a lot like those that are present in other types of concrete mixtures, such as cement, water, as well as aggregates including stone or sand. The recipe’s success is determined by the consistency and the texture itself. A good consistency level reduces the risk of pressure build-up, which in turn either blocks the nozzle or destroys the printing equipment. Therefore, during the building process, the consistency is generally kept a lot like that of aerated dough.

What are the Major Types of 3D Concrete Printing? Gantry System

The gantry system, in 3D printers, is the frame structure backing the printer head all along the X/Y axis, with the printer head moving around. This movement helps print out the part on the platform, which is a lot similar to an arcade claw game. 3D printers generally make use of 3 gantries for supporting the printer head.

How Does It Work?

The gantries move with the help of the stepper motors, with the latter using digital pulses for moving and tracking the gantry. The stepper motors facilitate high-resolution movement by letting the pulses induce movement of the motor at a tiny fraction of a rotation.

Robotic Arm

Robot 3D printing is also known as robotic arm 3D printing. It is a combination of a 3D printer head as well as extrude polymers, along with a multi-axis robotic arm for a highly flexible 3D printer, much more advanced than conventional models.

Robotic arms are being increasingly used in large projects, like large-scale prototypes, furniture, mold-making, architectural elements, artistic sculpture, and even rockets. Owing to the high movement range, robotic arms give a new meaning to design freedom with respect to 3D printing. The arm is capable of printing from almost any angle, allowing very curved and complex geometries. It also offers really big print sizes compared to regular printers.

What are the Advantages of Robotic Arms?

Printed parts with the use of robotic arm 3D printers typically don’t need support, which in turn elevates the level of design freedom while bringing down material costs. This means that the structures need to be self-supporting, thereby ruling out the overhanging designs. However, manufacturers are able to address this issue by letting the building platform be reoriented, which makes it possible to build overhangs.

What are the Advantages of 3D Concrete Printing?

HIGHER SAFETY

In the US, the construction sector is the 8th most dangerous space, accounting for 26% of overall deaths every year. 3D concrete printing technology eliminates the requirement for manual labor during construction processes, given the presence of automation. Therefore, dangerous work lines impacting the safety of workers at the construction site can be completely eliminated, such as workers carrying out construction activities from heights.

CUSTOMIZATION

With the use of 3D concrete printing, builders and architects are able to easily infuse novelty and creativity in their building designs since the technology facilitates the accurate creation of intricate designs. Different shapes, as well as extruded surfaces, can be developed despite tight schedules with no occurrence of any human error. This is owing to the precise and accurate deposition of the building materials with state-of-the-art machinery.

ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY

The use of 3D concrete printing means there is no requirement for a framework, which helps mitigate the wastage of raw materials. The printer deposits an accurate, specific, and precise amount of cement every time, thereby reducing CO2 emissions as well as carbon footprint. This helps the construction sector be more eco-friendly.

Bottom Line

The future of 3D concrete printing seems bright and vibrant, as the technology is touted to be a major cornerstone in the construction and manufacturing sectors. There are several crucial applications and valuable market benefits showing that 3D concrete printing could become a mainstream construction technology in the coming years.

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