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“New Home in 2 Days” - Contour Crafting Launches 3D Printer Production for the Construction Industry
“Very soon, we will have the first mass-produced deployable robotic 3D construction printer,” says Behroh Hoshnevis, president and chief executive officer of Contour Crafting Corporation.
The Austrian company Doka Group is one of the leading suppliers of formwork for the construction industry. As part of the parent company Umdasch AG, the company saw an opportunity for consolidated revenue of more than $ 1 billion. Investments in Contour Crafting are designed to help "dramatically reduce the time spent on building buildings and meeting the growing global demand for socially-needed facilities and infrastructure."
Doka Ventures bought a 30% stake in Contour Crafting.
The 3D Printing Industry portal contacted Maria Tegwerker-Sturm, project management and coordination department at the Doka Group, for more information.
3D printers will be available in 2018
Although the exact terms of the transaction, including the volume of investments, have not been disclosed, we understand that the funds will be used to rent a production area of 3 km2. in El Segundo, California. Contour Crafting has already taken several orders for its 3D printers, which are expected to be released in early 2018. 3D printers use cement materials and it will be necessary to train a certain number of future operators until the first models are shipped to customers.
Doka has not yet disclosed the estimated cost of 3D printers.
For robotic 3D printers, “coverage is approximately 7 to 12 meters and a user-selectable length that can be significantly greater. With a weight of less than 400 kilograms, this printer is really very light for a large construction machine. ”
Maria Tegwerker-Sturm tells us that the time-saving element of using a 3D printer for construction is especially attractive because “people can enter their new home 2-5 days after the start of construction. This technology saves finances, time, improves the environmental situation and increases labor safety, as it is an automated process. ”
The increase in the number of 3D-printing construction enterprises
In recent years, a number of companies have said they can use a 3D printer to create buildings. The founder of Contour Crafting, Baroch Hoshnevis, was perhaps one of the first to embark on this path. Hoshnevis filed his first patents for three-dimensional printing of structures in 1996. He currently has over 100 active patents in this domain.
Since then, companies such as the Chinese WinSun have entered the market. During my visit to Shanghai in 2015, I saw the work of a former student of Hoshnevis and heard how WinSun showed interest in this technology.
Tegwerker-Sturm reports that there is a huge difference between WinSun and Contour Crafting.
WinSun technology is a mixture of 3D printing and precast material as they print structures using a stationary machine in China (which is a used and adapted CNC CNC machine from Italy), then they cut structures and send parts to a construction site, assemble them and apply finish. Contour Crafting technology consists of deployable robotic systems that print everything on the construction site itself.
This year, WinSun announced a deal of $ 1.5 billion, which implies that the company rents 100 3D printers for a construction company in Saudi Arabia.
The technique used by Contour Crafting is also markedly different from the recent work of Neri Oxman at MIT. Digital Construction Platform recently printed in 3D formwork with a width of 14.6 meters and a length of less than 3.7 meters in less than 14 hours.
The influence of Nader Khalili on 3D-printed buildings
The influence and legacy of Nader Khalili should also be mentioned in any discussion of this area. In 1991, Khalili founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth) to teach others how to build Superadobe. The method itself was based on traditional construction methods in the country where Khalili was born - in Iran.
Since 1984, Khalili has developed the Superabode system for the NASA project. Khalili wrote a lot about the construction of emergency shelters, as well as about a system called ceramic houses Geltaftan. The etymology of the word comes from the Persian “gel,” or clay, and “taftan,” which means “shooting, baking, and weaving from clay.”
Companies using 3D printers for construction
Other businesses that use 3D printing technology for construction include D-Shape from Italy, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona, Spain, the Russian Apis Cor, CyBe Construction from the Netherlands, the Batiprint3D project in France, and the Ukrainian startup PassivDom.
The 3D Printing Industry is also in dialogue with several other companies, and is preparing to announce the increasingly active 3D printer market.
Doka Ventures on the largest building built to date with 3D printers: “Size is not that important. Contour Crafting is focused on testing the most complex parts of structures. However, first-generation robots will be able to cover a floor plan of more than 200 m2.
As Contour Crafting points out: “The population of the Earth, according to scientific forecasts, will increase to eleven billion by 2100. There will also be an acceleration in urbanization. Now half the world's population lives in cities; by 2050, this figure will be 75 percent. Such trends pose huge challenges for the construction industry. Affordable housing and infrastructure must be created quickly. Conventional construction methods will no longer cover increased needs. ”
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