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Is 3D Printing the Future of Construction?

25 Apr 2017, Posted by F.A. in News
Machine 3D Printing Concrete for Construction | Forming America

Many industries use 3D printing to make processes more efficient and better serve consumers. While 3D printing has gained popularity for prototyping and bringing a new product to market, the construction industry still has a long way to go until 3D printing is a viable option. The standard concrete forms for sale on the market today remain the most cost-effective and reliable construction method for day-to-day construction projects. For now, the cost of 3D printing technology, the need for research and development, and the learning curve for implementing new technology effectively make it a novelty in the construction industry.

Novelty of 3D Concrete Construction

There is a lot of buzz around using 3D printing in concrete construction, with China and the Asia-Pacific region leading the way. Numerous houses have been printed by massive printers using concrete. These houses have tested printers with complex structures that include courtyards and intricate decoration. While these are impressive accomplishments, practical implementation for the construction industry as a whole is still years away.

Learning Curve

As with any new technology, there will be a learning curve to implementing 3D printing in concrete construction. The complex nature of cement and cement-based materials makes it difficult to adapt them to 3D printing. Since its first uses in the 1800s, the practices for working with cement have been largely based on trial and error. This works fine in the concrete forming industry as it is today. However, a 3D printer requires attention to the actual chemical makeup and thermodynamics of concrete in order to work well.

Capital Investment

It takes a lot of capital investment and research to bring a product like this to market. So far, the 3D printing industry market size is $24.5 million, and the estimated market size expected to double by 2021. Although this is a positive for the new player in the industry, the big picture reveals that it is only a minuscule part of the ready-mix concrete industry as a whole, whose market size is numbered in the hundreds of billions.

Cost Effective Construction

Traditional concrete forming isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future. It is the most reliable and cost effective way that the world builds its structures. While some countries have seen success building homes with 3D printing, the few printing machines that have been built are far from ready for a production run that could merge into mainstream construction.

Tools for Your Company’s Future

The tools of traditional construction, which include concrete forms, shoring, and blindsided systems are all the tools that make traditional forming cost-effective, safe, and reliable for any company’s future projects. Forming America has purchase and rental options for these tools, which means your company isn’t stuck with a surplus of forms after an especially large job. We also supply blueprint takeoffs, job site delivery, and consultation, which are enhanced by our 30 years of experience. You can be confident in every form you rent or buy from Forming America because our team inspects and refurbishes any forms that are damaged to spec before they are sent out.

Contact Forming America or call 1-888-993-1304 today to outfit the next project for your company.