Emerging technologies are fast sweeping industries in a wave of transformation. One such technology is 3D printing, which can be seen revolutionizing the way we construct buildings.
3D printing has brought innovation to a number of industries, but when it comes to construction, the landscape is rapidly changing, with the Middle East leading the way. This month the first 3D printed office in the world was opened in Dubai.
Produced by an enormous 3D printer, measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide – as well as being equipped with an automated robotic arm of course - the office is a pod-like structure located at the base of the Emirates Towers office block and hotel.
It stands as a gleaming example as to how such methods can reduce construction time as well as labor costs and energy. It was finished and complete with a grand total of one person monitoring the function of the printer, seven people installing the components of the building on site and a team of ten electricians and specialists to take care of the mechanical and electrical engineering.
With this work force the labor cost of the project was cut down by more than 50% compared to conventional buildings of the same size. The full model was printed in 17 days and was installed on site in 2 days.
This project is thought to be the first of many. In fact, the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy aims to have 25% of all constructions in Dubai based on 3D printing technology by 2030. The intention of the program is to make the most of the technology on a national scale, reducing costs as well as the time it takes to implement a project. Not only this but it will also reduce the manpower needed for jobs, whilst minimalizing waste generated in the construction process, which can be harmful to the environment.
The program will also focus medical and consumer products, increasing 3D printing usage across the board.
Innovations such as 3D printed teeth, bones, artificial organs, medical and surgical devices and hearing aids will be integrated into healthcare. Whilst fashion accessories, optics, household items and games will be produced for the consumer industry.
With their early thinking, perhaps Dubai have given us a glimpse into the future and what common technologies it will hold.
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