3D-printing in construction

Cross-border event: 3D-printing & digital construction

What is the potential of 3D printing in construction? German and Dutch pioneers will explore this on March 16

The construction sector is facing major challenges: it needs to build fast, a lot and in a sustainable way. To this end, 3D printing and digitization are considered innovative solutions. During the Cross-Border Event: 3D-Printing & Digital Construction on March 16, 2022, an online event organized by the Duits-Nederlandse Handelskamer (DNHK), relevant insights into the Dutch and German construction sector will be presented. In addition, entrepreneurs and experts will discuss the opportunities and challenges that 3D printing and digitalization bring. The meeting, that will be held in English, will take place from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and admission to the online meeting is free. For 3D printing organizations in the sector, and therefore also several Flam3D members, participation can be interesting. More info can therefore be found in the article below.

What to expect?

During the cross-border event, German and Dutch entrepreneurs and experts share information about current projects and innovative technologies in construction. Organizations and companies from both countries report on their experiences and current developments in the field of 3D printing and digitalization in construction and discuss the possibilities for cross-border collaborations. After the event, participants will also have the opportunity to meet personally with one or more German speakers from the delegation and discuss with them the possibilities for cooperation. A participation in the event is useful for everyone who wants to get to know top companies from Germany and hear the future expectations of Dutch and German industry experts. More info about the program and German profiles can be found on the registration page.

First 3D printed house in Germany. Photo: Peri

Potential of 3D printing in construction?

With the 3D printed houses in Beckum last year, Germany put itself on the global map of 3D printing in construction. Yet there is much more happening under the surface in Germany, explains Professor Stefan Neudecker of Verband 3DDruck e.V., the trade association for 3D printing in the German construction industry and keynote speaker at the event. “We have invested an awful lot in scientific research in Germany over the past 10 years”, he says. With that knowledge, the first companies started working, and startups were founded from universities. “We are now reaping the first fruits of the preliminary work that has been done. Many interesting pilot projects have been started.”

“That construction companies are also discovering 3D printing is partly driven by necessity”, Neudecker explains. “The company that has now built the first 3D printed houses in Germany is a specialist in formwork, into which concrete is poured. When things slowed down for a while, they discovered that they could establish new markets and business models with 3D printing.”

The application of the 3D printer in construction goes far beyond simply printing complete houses with concrete. On the one hand, the benefits or additions that the technology can bring to the industry have to do with customizing building components and saving resources through more precise work; a great outcome at a time when building materials are scarce and expensive. On the other hand, 3D printing can also speed up construction processes. “3D printing comes directly from the digital chain, and thus fits seamlessly into processes of construction engineers that are becoming increasingly digital. You thereby create a closed chain to ensure quality”, explains Neudecker.

Still, 3D printing technology is not the answer to all challenges in construction. “You can’t put up a building with just concrete. The real innovation is in meaningfully combining different materials and technologies”, says the professor. The real innovation has to happen in the software. “Concrete, steel or plastic printing we can do. But in order to combine materials properly, a lot of research is still necessary. It’s very complex.” Right now, the 3D printer can’t drastically speed up construction processes. “Only when we can do that will it become interesting for the mass market.”

According to Neudecker, 3D printing in construction will eventually be seamlessly integrated into many processes. “It enables a completely different design language than what we know today.” Promising applications currently lie, for example, in prefabricated production for shell or interior finishing, functional components and design elements. With individualization, the 3D printer can design building processes more flexibly. “Does the architect determine this, or does the demand come from the customer? Or will companies emerge that offer this as a service? The market will certainly appear”, says Neudecker. Such questions and themes will be addressed and discussed at the “3D-Printing & Digital Construction” event, among others.

By bringing together companies from Germany and the Low Lands, the organizers hope that great insights will emerge. “The great thing about this event is that we are already bringing together a sector in the pioneering phase. We are still at the beginning and can therefore develop synergies at a very early stage,” explains Kai Esther Feldmann, export consultant at DNHK. In any case, with a look at the participants, she sees many opportunities to give 3D printing in construction a solid boost within Europe.

Participate in Cross-Border Event: 3D-Printing & Digital Construction

There is still room for entrepreneurs and experts to participate in this digital conference organized by the DNHK on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. The free event is being organized online and the language of discussion is English. Are you interested in 3D printing in construction? More information about the event can be found in this article and the possibility to participate can be found here.