Is 3D Printing Affecting the Construction Industry?

The notion of 3D printing has been floating around for some time now. The use of 3D printing and its adaption into the industry is now coming to a reality. Architects all over the world are beginning to build the first 3D residential structures.

The 3D printing is done using huge printers which use a special composite of mixture that is thicker than regular concrete which is self-supporting as it sets. So, 3D printed components do not have the same design constraints that obstruct current construction methods. Apart from that, curved concrete structures created using 3D printing are hollow, use less material and create space for building services inside the structural elements.

Not only this revolutionizes the construction industry, but is a less expensive process that could also affect housing affordability. Less material usage and less labour costs creates a less expensive construction method.

According to Winsun, the 3D Printing process saves somewhere between 30 and 60 percent of construction waste, can reduce production time by 50 to 70 percent and also reduce labour costs by 50 to 80 percent.

However, the usage of 3D printing into the construction industry has both pros and cons. Some advantages include:

  • Fast and accurate construction
  • Less labour cost
  • Lowered the wastage generation
  • Lowered the health and safety risks
  • Environmental friendly

Some disadvantages include:

  • Reduced employee numbers in the industry
  • A limited number of materials are used, as the same printer may not be able to print the required multiple materials.
  • Transportation – moving the printers in large situ components to and from the site
  • Storage of the printer
  • Higher risks during printing/construction phase
  • Additional time may be required on site if the components are created in situ.

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