Printed building demonstrates new sustainability concepts

April 23, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Printed building demonstrates new sustainability concepts
At the Milan design fair "Salone del Mobile", a house is currently making big waves: the building was created on site by a mobile robot using a 3D printing process to show how this new technology can contribute to reducing construction waste. But 3D printing can do even more: it increases efficiency during the construction process and allows the materials used to be recycled at the end of a building's service life.

Around 25 to 30 percent of all waste generated in the European Union comes from the construction industry. The 3D printing building in Milan - one of the first in the European Union - can be dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. This ensures flexible and long-term use.

The single-storey concrete house has a floor space of around 100 square meters and has a living area, a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom. For the production a movable robot manipulator was used, which offers more flexibility than fixed 3D printers. The building consists of 35 modules, each printed in 60 to 90 minutes. The entire building was produced in just 48 hours of effective construction time.

Advantages of 3D-printed buildings include Sustainability, flexibility, lower costs and better accuracy.

Sustainability: They represent a sustainable alternative to traditional construction processes, as they produce less material waste and allow the use of recyclable concrete. 3D-printed buildings following the principles of the circular economy: they can be designed so that their individual components can continue to be used in the future.

Flexibility: They offer more flexibility in design. Architects and engineers can develop complex structures, such as double curved walls, at lower costs. In addition, 3D printing allows construction on site - if suitably located.

Costs: Because of the more efficient use of materials and the more structured and faster construction process, 3D printing is cheaper than traditional construction.

Accuracy: Production errors can be reduced by direct information transfer from the 3D model to the construction project.

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