From replacing human body parts to assisting with cruise repair to Mars, many predictions have been made that 3D printing technology can improve humanity. Dubai has made a breakthrough after declaring that 25% of new buildings in this country will be built with the support of 3D printers by 2025.
This statement is a part of an ambitious 3D printing strategy announced in 2016 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
According to Dubai Future Foundation, 3D printing strategy aims to reduce 70% of labor and cut 90% of costs in various areas. Perhaps more importantly, 3D printing technology has the potential to help tackle the homeless crisis as more and more people are moving to live in cities. The United Nations predicts that by 2030, the world will have 41 megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants.
Roadmap to the future of 3D printing technology
Dubai Future Foundation was established to provide a roadmap for government consideration and prepare for a future where technology will shape the industry. The roadmap aims to make Dubai be the world’s 3D printing center by 2030.
The Arab Emirate experienced the 3D printing industry in 2016 as the country opened the world’s first building by using this technology. The project “The office of future” was conducted with a 3D concrete printer that is a 6-meter high and 12-meter wide robot arm.
The manpower required for this office building includes a printer-tracking technician, 7 staffs for on-site installation, and a team of 10 electricians and specialists to take care of mechanical engineering and electricity.
Energy saving design and labor
Dubai Future Foundation said that labor costs have been cut by more than 50% in comparison to traditional construction costs of a similar-size building. 3D printing took 17 days and “The office of future” was installed just under the Emirates Towers complex in central Dubai in just two days. The next tasks related to construction services, furniture, and landscape design took about 3 months.
This office is also designed to be extremely energy-efficient. According to the Dubai Future Organization, the project is geared toward maximizing the vision and natural lighting, but creating shade inside through the overhanging windows.
This design style minimizes direct sunlight and reduces the need for air conditioning as well as lighting. Other sustainability features include a 100% LED system, interactive building systems, green landscaping, low power, air-conditioning, and cooling systems.
Housing crisis prevention
Dubai may be the first country to construct a 3D technology-deployed building, but other countries are catching up.
Nantes city in France claims that it is the first to build a house thanks to 3D printing. The Independent News reported in April that house consists of five rooms with a total area of 95 square meters. It has been used by a French family since June 2018. The reporter also added that Nantes city authorities had been considering building a similar area.
According to the World Resources Report in 2017, the demand for affordable housing is growing. This report estimates that the number of houses that low-income people can afford in the world is 330 million in urban areas. This figure is predicted to increase by more than 30% to 440 million households or 1.6 billion people by 2025.
Therefore, the advent of 3D technology and the application of this technology to the construction industry can become a viable solution to the global housing crisis, especially in urban areas.