3D printing has been a trending topic for several years, and maybe you even have one in your home. But did you know 3D printing is hitting big in the field of construction? The 3D concrete printing market is expected to hit an impressive $1.5 billion by 2024, stimulated by growth and innovation from all over the world. Interest for using 3D printing in the construction world began in 2004 when a professor at the University of South Carolina attempted to 3D print a wall. About 10 years later, in 2014, a full-sized canal house was 3D printed in Amsterdam, followed by an impressive 4,300 square foot home in China in 2016. Also in 2016, the first full functioning 3D-printed building was designed and completed in Dubai, with construction taking just 17 days.
3D printing for concrete started to gain interest in France in 2017 with one of France’s leading construction firms investing in a 3D concrete printing startup business. Just two years later in 2019 the first 3D concrete printing center, a collaboration between BAM Infra and Weber Beamix, opened in the Netherlands. They’ve already started on several 3D bridge and housing projects throughout the area. Their 3D printed bicycle bridge in a Netherlands village, the first in the world, shows the possibility to carry out this novel technology, proving that 3D concrete printing can, and does, work.
3D printing brings a lot of benefits to the world of construction, but it’s still relatively a new idea and will need some time to get perfected. For now, there are concerns about 3D concrete printing which include the likelihood of higher costs, labor shortages due to demands for new skilled workers, quality control monitoring, and new required regulations and laws. However, benefits for this new technology include fewer chances for human error, an overall reduction in waste material, quicker turnaround times, and more freedom with design options. As the technology advances, it’s likely the benefits will outweigh the negatives. However, it's unlikely that 3D concrete printing in the construction industry will completely overtake the current hands-on approach. There is real staying power for the process, and in the future we’ll probably see a combination of methods, bringing the design freedom of 3D together with the personalized approach of a skilled team. It will take a good amount of time for rules and regulations to be determined and implemented before the 3D printing sector for concrete really takes off.
Technological advances are part of what makes humans unique, and this is one example of the ingenuity of the human brain. We’re always looking for new and more efficient ways to perform tasks in every arena of business. At Lift Right Concrete, we carefully watch new advancements in our industry throughout the globe and ensure we’re up to date on everything we can do here in Utah to effectively perform our jobs for our community. For the best in service and the highest quality work, give us a call today.