US Army to Work with ICON to Build Largest 3D Printed Buildings in the West
Once again, the US military has turned to additive manufacturing. After engaging the services of Boeing, ExOne and other 3D printing companies, the US military has once again partnered with the now famous construction company ICON. In the past, the American company has already provided American troops with several buildings, such as training barracks or bunkers for storing vehicles. This time, ICON’s goal is to design three barracks to house troops at Fort Bliss, Texas. And to do this, the company intends to use the Vulcan printer, its famous machine that has been used for many projects in the state for both commercial housing and military use.
At 5,700 square feet per building, the barracks made with ICON will each be the largest 3D-printed buildings in the Western Hemisphere, according to the US Department of Defense press release. Lt. Gen. Doug Gabram, commanding general of the U.S. Army Installations Management Command, commented:This project supports the Army’s three priorities: people, readiness and modernization. Building facilities with this cutting-edge technology reduces labor costs, reduces planning time, and speeds construction of future facilities. We are exploring other ways to use this innovative technique for the rapid construction of other types of facilities in addition to barracks. In another first, the press releases specify that the buildings will also be the first 3D-printed structures to comply with the DoD’s Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) for additive concrete construction.
The Benefits of the US Army and ICON Partnership
To build these 3 barracks, ICON intends to use its Lavacrete material. Developed by the American company and dedicated to 3D printing, this material is similar to concrete and would be able to withstand extreme weather conditions and considerably reduce the impact of natural disasters. As for the construction costs, ICON refused to disclose the amount spent on printing the 3 cabins. However, the company claims to have reduced the construction cost by 10-30% using 3D technologies, compared to traditional methods.
According to the various actors in the project, the three barracks should see the light of day within 10 months. Brendan O’Donoghue, Vice President of Public Sector at ICON, concludes, “Currently, there is a multi-billion dollar housing backlog and this is impacting those who serve our country. We are proud to work with the U.S. military and continue our partnership with DIU to see various cases of using ICON’s technology and to provide durable and comfortable 3D printed barracks for enlisted soldiers at Ft. Bonheur.” You can find out more about the project HERE.
What do you think of this latest partnership between the US Army and ICON? Do you think the US military will continue to adopt the use of concrete AM? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebookand Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our Youtube channel.
*Cover photo credits: Logan Architecture