May 08, 2018
3D printing is a new technology that is taking the entire construction industry by a storm. Many dub 3D printing as a "technology that could revolutionize the construction industry". While 3D printing is still a very new technology, the excitement in the construction industry is more geared towards the future of 3D printing and how it could impact the construction industry rather than how it is already impacting the construction industry.
3D printing is just beginning to take hold in the construction industry, yet already shows great promise in being able to revolutionize the industry as we know it. The Economist was one of the first publications to break the news about the effects that 3D printing has had on the construction industry when it ran a story titled "3D Printing & Clever Computers Could Revolutionize Construction"1 as a cover story in its June 2017 issue.
The Economist and several other publications which have run stories on how 3D printing will revolutionize the construction industry have gotten many people to wonder what the true potential of 3D printing can be in the construction industry. The following are 6 ways that many of these articles are predicting that 3D printing could change the way the construction industry works in the future:
- 3D Printing Will Enhance The Fabrication Process: One day, 3D printing will help kickstart the production and fabrication process in the industry. 3D printing will be the way which many tools that the industry uses are produced and created. Once the 3D printer technology is enhanced and improved, they will be able to create anything from tools needed for construction such as levers, hammers, wrenches, or drills to the nails, screws, nuts, or bolts that hold construction together. Other 3D printing machines will print beams, pipes, and other materials that are used to build structures and parts of new buildings. When the technology is advanced enough, the fabrication process will involve just simply "printing off" the materials one needs to complete a building project, rather than waiting for other companies to manufacture the exact pieces you need to complete the project, which is how the construction industry has to work today.
- 3D Printing Will Allow Limitless Design Freedom: The 3D printing revolution will allow the construction industry to have limitless freedom in their designs of new construction projects. 3D printing will allow companies to use designs that were before impossible to create to build new construction projects. Once someone dreams up an idea or a way to design something, all they have to do is print it to make it a reality. Today, you have to share your ideas with an architect and even then there are no guarantees that your project will turn out as you dreamed it would. When 3D printing becomes a dominant technology in the construction industry, people will be able to print their wildest dreams off of a printer and make their architectural dreams a reality. Long gone will be the days of conveying your ideas to someone to carry them out, you will be able to print and construct a building to look just as you want, all on your own.
- 3D Printing Will Reduce Costs & Speed Up Delivery of Construction Projects: 3D printing will help make buildings and construction more affordable, which can do great things like help people with lower incomes afford nicer homes. 3D printing will also help speed up construction projects and provide much faster delivery times than those that are achievable today. This combination will make the construction industry much more powerful than it is, even with the technologies we have today. The reduction in cost and the ability to speed up projects will also make construction more affordable for many more rural areas and less wealthy families, as well as making projects move more quickly than ever before in our post-industrial age.
- 3D Printing Will Aid In the Shortage Of Skilled Workers: Many countries are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers that help keep up with the demands for construction as populations continue to expand and grow. The shortage of skilled workers will be less of a problem if machines are able to print materials faster and help put pieces of construction projects together. This means that fewer workers can accomplish more in a shorter period of time than was ever possible in the past. This can be a great technology to help countries with shortages of construction workers speed up construction and keep up with the global demand for new construction.
- 3D Printing Can Create High-Quality Construction Materials: 3D printing using quality materials will ensure that all of the projects that are created are high quality and will last well into the future. Using higher quality products to build new construction projects will help ensure that our future buildings and structures are built to a high standard that can last for many years and even decades/centuries to come.
- 3D Printing Will Help Set Future Government Regulation Goals: Governments are already setting goals of how 3D printing will help improve their construction industries. For example, the UAE already has a goal that 25% of its buildings will be made using 3D printers by 2030. A company in the UK, the National Strategy for Additive Manufacturing predicts that 3D printing could add $1 billion to their GPD and create 15,000 new jobs by 2025. Meanwhile, the US believes that this technology can help them print much-needed materials to help upgrade and rebuild their dilapidated military barracks moving forward.
These are just a few of the ways that 3D printing will affect the construction industry moving forward. 3D printing will be a massive part of the construction industry moving forward, especially as the demand for construction rises and many countries face shortages of construction workers. Moreover, 3D printing allows construction projects to be completed in new, unique ways that were impossible with just the traditional architectural techniques of the past.
For more information on how 3D printing will change the future of the construction industry please feel free to contact us.