COBOD and CEMEX use new concrete that “takes shape instantly” for 3D printing house in Angola
Mexican building materials supplier CEMEX has developed a way to turn ordinary concrete into a more versatile aggregate and deployed it to 3D print a low-cost house on the African continent.
Formulated alongside 3D printer manufacturer COBOD, this blend reinforced with a D.fab blend is said to “take shape instantly”, giving it significant build time and cost reduction potential. Companies have already put their concrete to the test, working with contractor Power2Build to build Angola’s first 3D printed house, and they say it could now have much wider applications.
“Meeting the global need for affordable housing requires not only technology that can build faster, but also materials as cost effective as regular concrete,” said Ricardo Almeida, CEO of Power2Build. “With this solution, the strength and quality of concrete combined with the speed and automation of 3D printing, we can help solve the affordable housing crisis in Angola and beyond.”
CEMEX and COBOD collaborate
Since its inception in 1906, CEMEX has grown from a local company to a multinational supplier of building materials and services, with worldwide sales of $ 15 billion. Although the company specializes in the development of ready-mixed concrete, cement and aggregates, it also offers the laying of asphalt, as well as the manufacture of concrete block paving, railway products and blocks. prefabricated to measure for its customers.
In the past, the company has leveraged its expertise in building materials to help the Technical University of Valencia launch Be More 3D to build a 3D printed bungalow on its Spanish campus. The erection would have taken only 12 hours, the structure was built from cement reinforced with additives supplied by CEMEX.
Yet despite the success of the project, it was largely a proof of concept initiative and a 3D printing test case for CEMEX materials. So, to help evolve the application of technology, he has now partnered with the much more experienced COBOD.
“COBOD started 3D printing for construction in 2017, and we made the concrete recipe ourselves,” says COBOD founder Henrik Lund-Nielsen. “We had to use a lot of cement to make the material work, so our recipe wasn’t as effective as we hoped. However, we continued to look for a solution with ordinary concrete, which is essential for the massive application of our technology.
“We are more than delighted that CEMEX has taken up the challenge and proud to have cooperated to develop the new solution. “
Make concrete 3D printable
Right now, many construction 3D printing companies are using proprietary concrete mixes to build structures in a layer-by-layer workflow, which will no doubt be familiar to those working in the construction industry. 3D printing. Market leader ICON, for example, has developed a ‘Lavacrete’ material for use with its large-format Vulcan machine, while Mighty Buildings has developed its own stone-like building minerals.
These companies were indeed forced to formulate their materials due to the flow issues presented when using ordinary concrete, but the development of their own mixes also allowed them to get rid of the disposable molds and frames used in the making. conventional construction, thus improving cost savings. potential of their technologies.
However, with their new material, COBOD and CEMEX claim to have now overcome the obstacles preventing everyday concrete 3D printing. Concretely, by adding its proprietary admixtures from the D.fab family to ready-mixed concrete, CEMEX has found a way to make it more fluid and malleable, so as to allow it to adapt and facilitate its deposition during 3D printing.
In doing so, the company claims to have developed a method of using locally available and readily available materials in construction, which could allow new, more affordable structures to be built around the world. Putting this idea to the test, CEMEX and COBOD used the material for the first time alongside home builder Power2Build, to erect a unique fully 3D printed house in the Angolan capital, Luanda.
According to Power2Build, “the speed of execution and the excellent build quality” of the construction make it a “real revolution” in the use of technology, while its compatibility with cement allows Angolans to “watch the market of housing with optimism ”.
“By working with COBOD, we have developed a customer experience that is superior to anything that has been provided in the past,” explained Juan Romero, Executive Vice President of Sustainability, Business Development and Operations, CEMEX. . “Our innovation efforts position us at the forefront of new technologies that help build a better future.
“The introduction of this revolutionary 3D printing system is a testament to our customer-centric mindset and our relentless focus on continuous innovation and improvement. “
COBOD construction references
Although concrete 3D printing remains at a relatively early stage of development, COBOD has already demonstrated the cost-cutting potential of the technology on several fronts. Last month, it was revealed that the company’s machines had been deployed by Alquist3D, the PERI Group and Printed Farms Florida to build three new affordable American homes..
COBOD’s BOD 2 system has also been used in Africa before, with the aim of helping tackle the chronic shortage of classrooms in Malawi, by 3D printing an entire school there. Built as part of a project with 14Trees, the 56-square-meter structure was erected in 18 hours, in a process that would have achieved 70% material savings as well as substantial cost reductions.
Besides homes, COBOD’s technology is also expected to be deployed in the creation of extremely tall skyscraper structures, such as GE Renewable Energy’s record-breaking wind turbine towers. Planned to be constructed from proprietary materials from LafargeHolcim, the 200-meter-high tower is designed to boost global production of renewable energy while lowering the discounted cost of energy.
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The image shown shows the 3D printed house of COBOD and CEMEX in Angola. Image via BimPlus.