How 3D Printing Will Change the Construction Industry in Ways That Will Be Beneficial for All Stakeholders Involved
3D printing began over a decade ago as a means for creating prototypes in a variety of industries and has now burgeoned into a novel, progressive, and rapidly developing technology.
Aside from the healthcare, tools, and aerospace industries, construction may be the most likely field to benefit from the advancement of three-dimensional printing technologies. 3D printing made its first foray into construction in 2004, as a University of South Carolina professor printed a simplistic wall.
From there, 3D printing has primarily been used to fabricate buildings using myriad materials applications. In fact, much of the development seen in 3D printing regarding construction has been in the use of different materials for walls, supporting structures, etc.
While there appears to be little slowing from a 3D building construction and concrete fabrication perspective, there are other things the industry as a whole can look forward to as three-dimensional technology continues to develop.
3D printing will be used to drive down costly waste. Waste is a notorious cost-driver in the construction industry and innovators are constantly developing hopeful methods to eliminate excessive waste.
The printing of construction materials could lead to a massive reduction in waste as products will be created to exact specifications. Currently, most construction products are sold in common sizes and must be tailored to the job at hand.
Architecture and design will experience previously impossible freedom. The ability to print materials fabricated specifically for design will be an absolute game-changer in the construction industry.
Design has made incredible advances in the past two decades due to innovative materials hitting the market. However, these advances will accelerate drastically once 3D printing becomes perfected in the construction space.
The reduction of cost and streamlining of logistics will increase access to 3D technology. As the industry currently rests, there are few opportunities to experiment with and learn the necessary skills required to use and implement 3D technology on worksites and in planning rooms.
However, as the technology continues to improve and develop it will become far more accessible. This will lead to a better understanding of the possibilities and further implementation into construction methods.