Additive Manufacturing in the Construction Industry

While 3D printing’s emergence in the construction industry is ongoing, some building aspects are poised for more growth than others. Specifically, concrete is making significant headway in the construction industry. In fact, the concrete 3D printing market is projected to be valued at $56.4 million, and growing from the amount of new, innovative projects that are being planned in construction.

3D printing concrete shows great potential, however it’s worth noting that the overall technology when it comes to the concrete material is still in its infancy. In fact, most 3D printers that process concrete are still being tested and tweaked, and they aren’t yet designed for general end-use applications. That being said, there are a few success stories for these projects, and there is potential to build everything from foundations to walls to individual cinder blocks to bridges in a faster, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly manner as the technology continues to progress.

3D printed concrete bridge

The Benefits of 3D Printing For the Construction Industry

There is increasing pressure in the construction industry to meet tight schedules and budgets as architects are tasked to keep their designs competitive. As a result, construction companies are looking to introduce new innovations to support this sector. 3D printing in the construction industry offers a wide range of potential benefits to these robust applications including:

  1. Speed- 3D printers can construct a home or building in a matter of days, whereas conventional construction can take months for homes or even years to fully construct a commercial building. In fact, 3D printing for construction can save 60% in time and 80% in labor.
  2. Waste reduction- Worldwide construction waste currently totals more than 1 billion tons each year, which is expected to double by 2025. 3D printing won’t be able to solve construction waste problems entirely, but it can decrease the negative environmental impacts. Additive manufacturing works by laying material down in accordance to the designing parameters, so almost none of it is wasted. It can also be paired with other waste-reducing processes and building methods. For example, prefabrication and lean construction work well with additive manufacturing to increase the potential of a zero-waste building.
  3. Design freedom- Architects are able to create and build complex designs that would otherwise be unattainable, too expensive, or too labor-intensive to create through conventional construction methods. As a result, we are expecting to see a lot more innovation and creativity in the commercial construction space, especially with concrete designs. For example, Venice is now home to a 3D printed concrete bridge that was made out of a unique circular shape made out of disassembled and reused materials.
    Reduce human error- According to OSHA, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job each day. If 3D printing made construction more programmable and automated, worker injuries and fatalities would decrease.

Specific Additive Manufacturing Industry Solution

While 3D printing’s emergence in the construction industry is ongoing, some building aspects are poised for more growth than others. Specifically, concrete is making significant headway in the construction industry. In fact, the concrete 3D printing market is projected to be valued at $56.4 million, and growing from the amount of new, innovative projects that are being planned in construction.

3D printing concrete shows great potential, however it’s worth noting that the overall technology when it comes to the concrete material is still in its infancy. In fact, most 3D printers that process concrete are still being tested and tweaked, and they aren’t yet designed for general end-use applications. That being said, there are a few success stories for these projects, and there is potential to build everything from foundations to walls to individual cinder blocks to bridges in a faster, more affordable, and more environmentally-friendly manner as the technology continues to progress.

3D printer laying concrete