3D Printing – An overview
For many, 3D printing is still a subject which remains in the background, and is yet to be bought to the forefront of the construction industry. However, its presence is growing and has no signs of going away. With 3D printing set to revolutionise the construction industry with regards to productivity, health and safety and higher quality results, we take a look at how 3D printing has been gaining momentum.
How will it benefit the construction industry?
Known to become part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has been described by the World Economic Forum as “the advent of “cyber-physical systems”, involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines”, the piece expands: “While these capabilities are reliant on the technologies and infrastructure of the Third Industrial Revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution represents entirely new ways in which technology becomes embedded within societies and even our human bodies. Examples include genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, breakthrough materials and approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as the blockchain.”
3D Printing will provide increased advantages within the construction and building industry and will transform traditional services, procedures and processes. Although 3D Printing will begin to become a more expensive way to build, it is widely thought that long-term this will become more cost-effective, in comparison with the rising costs of labour. In addition, the implementation of upgraded technologies and automation will enhance and accelerate the completion of construction projects, become and showcase high-quality results.
The use of sophisticated technologies will also provide a number of benefits for designers and architects, providing increased flexibility and personalisation, disregarding traditional construction methods and will ensure increased opportunities within construction and development.
3D Printed Houses
Projects completed through 3D Printing methods are seen in areas such as Dubai, who are consistently at the forefront of design and innovation, but countries such as the US and China are not far behind. Cazza Construction has been responsible for completing a number of 3D Printed houses within Dubai, with the belief that utilising newfound technologies and automation will provide long--term advantages. Spearheaded by Chris Kelsey, the company has placed significant investment within mobile printing robots, which can build entire homes in a matter of days. The transformation also aligns with the region’s aim to implement 3D printing in over 20 percent of building works by 2030.
China has also been implementing 3D Printing within their operations since 2014, constructing and complete several projects with the technology to a high standard, abiding by world-class health and safety legislations, according to Dezeen.
VINCI Construction has also been testing the waters, realising the possibilities within 3D printing, and has partnered with XtreeE in order to strengthen their knowledge and presence through this technology. In a press release, Jérôme Stubler, Chairman of VINCI Construction, said: “3D printing offers revolutionary potential for the construction sector and VINCI Construction plans to be in the vanguard of the move to introduce it. Following the recent creation of a joint venture with the SunPartner company aimed at developing the solar technologies of the future, this partnership with XtreeE is a further illustration of the drive to innovate in construction.”
Philippe Morel, Chairman of XtreeE commented: “This agreement is a new step forward in the expansion of our company. We strongly believe that our 3D printing technology will be a central part of the next wave of ground-breaking developments in construction. The partnership with VINCI Construction, a world leader in the sector, will enable us to develop new solutions around the world.”
Read the January 2017 issue of Construction Global here
XYZ Reality receives £20m to develop Assisted Reality
Founded in 2017, XYZ Reality aims to "revolutionise" the construction sector with its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality (AR) solution, Holosite.
Designed to enable an on time and on budget delivery of construction projects, by eliminating building errors, HoloSite has been available to select customers through an early access programme and has already been used on projects totalling a value of over £1.5bn in the last year.
With approximately 98% of construction megaprojects facing cost overruns or delays and 7-11% of project costs being spent on correcting errors, XYZ Reality’s purpose-built integrated AR solution directly addresses these issues.
With its safety certified AR hardhat, cloud platform and in-built proprietary software, Holosite accurately positions high fidelity 3D design models on construction sites, enabling teams to build it right, first time. The technology system has been used on complex construction projects including data centres, pharmaceutical facilities and airports.
This funding will be used to accelerate the company’s ambition of transforming projects by preparing for HoloSite’s commercial launch in the USA and continuing investment in strengthening research and development. The company is also growing its London team to include key hires across technology, manufacturing, sales and marketing.
David Mitchell, Founder and CEO of XYZ Reality, said developing its engineering-Grade AR solution helping construction teams identify errors in real-time is just the start.
"The next phase is Assisted Reality, where our spatial computing technology will have the intelligence to automatically detect and report issues in the field. And ultimately, the goal is builders building from holograms. Our vision of developing world changing products aligns with Octopus Ventures’ mission of investing in companies that are powering the next industrial revolution. We look forward to building history.”
The latest round of funding is led by Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture investors in Europe, known for its commitment of investing in companies and founders that are changing the world. Octopus Ventures has a strong track record, spanning investment in health, fintech, consumer, B2B software, and deep tech. This includes WaveOptics, one of Octopus Ventures’ early investments in Augmented Reality, which was recently acquired by Snap Inc.
Rebecca Hunt, early-stage investor at Octopus Ventures, said: "We’ve always invested in entrepreneurs leading industry change and XYZ is doing just that. It's solving a massive problem that costs the construction industry billions every year, using its Engineering-Grade Augmented Reality solution to spearhead a shift in the sector’s approach. The founding team of David, Umar and Murray have deep domain and technical expertise, which we believe makes XYZ uniquely placed to drive this transformation.”
XYZ Reality also announces a new partnership with Mace, for the construction of a hyper-scale data centre in Europe. With speed to market being particularly essential for mission critical builds, HoloSite’s AR technology will have a significant role in supporting an accurate and time effective build for Mace, which last week appointed Jon McElroy its new Managing Director for International Technology.
Mace Technical Director, Stephen Henley, said: “Mace has built a reputation of redefining the boundaries of ambition, always bringing efficiency, innovation and responsibility to our projects. With the implementation of XYZ’s groundbreaking AR system, we continue to be committed to delivering projects faster, safer and better than ever before.”
Five years ago, Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs Research expected virtual and augmented reality to become an $80 billion market by 2025.
But according to new research by global tech market advisory firm ABI Research, nearly 28 million augmented and mixed reality smart glasses will ship in 2026, while the total global AR/MR market will surpass $175 billion in the same year.
"Major tech players across hardware, software, and services look familiar in the consumer space, contributing to strong and consistent overall growth," says Eric Abbruzzese, Research Director for ABI Research. "Those big tech names, with active investment and product ranging from already available, to announced, to all-but-announced, are creating a consumer AR market that will be dynamic and welcoming rather than struggling and immature."