French contractor Vinci has taken an equity stake in French start-up XtreeE to unleash the "revolutionary potential" of 3D printing for construction.
XtreeE is developing a 3D printing system for large-scale concrete structures and Vinci will test the technology on its projects.
Vinci said the move would accelerate the expansion of XtreeE and boost cooperation with the Vinci Construction teams.
"Printing offers revolutionary potential for the construction sector and Vinci Construction plans to be in the vanguard of the move to introduce it," said JérÃ´me Stubler, president of Vinci, at the signing ceremony.
We strongly believe that our 3D printing technology will be a central part of the next wave of groundbreaking developments in construction– Philippe Morel, XtreeE president
In September, XtreeE partnered with concrete maker LafargeHolcim to print Europe’s first load-bearing structural element. It also unveiled a 3m tall concrete pavilion, produced in collaboration with LarfargeHolcim, as well as technology companies Dassault SystÃ¨mes and ABB.
More recently, XtreeE has teamed up with Habitat 76, a French social landlord, to develop printed student accommodation. The hope is to build this scheme on the Mont-Saint-Aignan campus near Rouen by 2018.
Specialist website 3ders.org reports that the company, which was founded in 2015, has been working on robotic system that are capable of additively manufacturing large-scale concrete structures based on 3D models.
Videos of the system in action can be seen here and here.
Philippe Morel, president of XtreeE, said in a press statement: "We strongly believe that our 3D printing technology will be a central part of the next wave of groundbreaking developments in construction. The partnership with Vinci Construction, a world leader in the sector, will enable us to develop new solutions around the world."
Image: XtreeE’s tree-like structural element, next to a tree (XtreeE)