Danish 3D printer-maker Cobod is to ship the world’s largest building-printer to Saudi Arabia to take part in the kingdom’s plan to build 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years.
The Copenhagen company’s Bod2 unit was bought by Saudi Elite for Construction & Development following a programme of testing carried out last year, including the printing of an entire house in Riyadh.
The unit is able to print a three-storey building with a 300 sq m footprint with a top speed of 100cm per second – although 30cm a second has been a more normal speed in the tests so far carried out.
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Henrik Lund-Nielsen, the chief executive of Cobod, commented: "Not only is the Bod2 the fastest 3D construction printer in the world, but the modular approach allowed us to deliver the size that Elite For Construction & Development wanted."
The Gulf has emerged as one of the most promising markets for construction printing in recent years. Dubai has already decreed that a quarter of all buildings be printed by 2030, and Saudi Arabia is looking to use the technology to cut costs and reduce the need for imported labour.
Saad Al Shathri, the general manager of Elite for Construction, said: "We will be able to carry out projects with our own crews based on 3D-printable concrete made locally. This will bring costs significantly down compared to temporary imported printers using foreign-made materials.
"With the 3D construction printing technology we will be able to do projects almost impossible with conventional technology, and we will build faster and cheaper than before."
The Bod2 printer, which retails for between €180,000 and €595,000, works by extruding layers of concrete to make walls.
Image: The Bod2 printer during testing in Denmark (Cobod)