Spanish contractor Acciona has opened a 3D-printing centre in Dubai to houses the world’s largest operational 3D printer using powder-bed technology.
The printer, which measured 6m x 3m x 2m, uses concrete as its base material. The Spanish company is hoping it will allow it to capitalise on the growing interest in Dubai for printed buildings.
Earlier this week, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, launched the "Dubai 3D Printing Strategy", an initiative that aims to "promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub of 3D printing technology by the year 2030".
The Dubai Municipality has already passed regulations requiring every new building in Dubai to be 25% 3D-printed by 2025.
Acciona says its production facility is "the culmination of an internal development process in the Innovation area starting in 2016, which has enabled the technology to be fine-tuned for commercial use".
The company has already created the first walkway in the world made using 3D printing, in Alcobendas in Spain, and the first architectural heritage item, the Romanesque arch of San Pedro de las Dueñas.
Additive manufacturing using powder bed technology allows the creation of a 3D building through the automatic superimposition of layers of material. Acciona says the technique produces complex objects from digital models.
It comments: "Large-scale 3D printing in concrete offers the possibility of constructing structural elements with total freedom of form, without the need for moulds or formwork, which permits a more efficient development of complex structures."
Image: The ceremony to open the centre (Acciona)