Dutch contractor BAM Infra and materials company Weber Beamix have joined forces with the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) to set up Europe’s first industrial 3D printing factory for concrete.
The plant, which opened on Tuesday (15 January), already has an order book that includes four bicycle bridges ordered by the province of North Holland, while five printed concrete houses for the Milestone project are also in the pipeline.
3D concrete printing is still a novelty in construction, partly because there is little capacity to carry it out.
Bas Huysmans, managing director of Weber Beamix, said the Eindhoven plant was an attempt to create the necessary capacity to establish the technique.
“The bicycle bridge that we have 3D printed in Germert was proof of principle. We have shown that it works, that this is possible. At some point you have to break through the chicken-and-egg problem.”
Weber Beamix said in a press statement that the plant would allow “a huge increase in freedom in design”, enabling faster and more efficient production.
It said: “The entire process runs faster and the margin of error decreases. Everyone looks at the same design during the design process. Changes are immediately digitally calculated and applied. In the end you press ‘Ctrl + P’ and the printer starts production immediately.”
The other companies involved in the factory are materials producer Bekaert, consulting engineer Witteveen + Bos, and housing contractor Van Wijnen. Weber Beamix is a subsidiary French materials giant Saint-Gobain.
A promotional video for the factory can be viewed here.