Never a country to shirk the lure of technological advancement, the United Arab Emirates has made their interest in 3D Printing construction technology quite clear. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the Dubai Clean Air Strategy 2050 plan, with the aim of Dubai becoming the most sustainable city in the world.
3D printing has played a substantial part in this strategy. So this week’s major announcement, that a quarter of all new buildings in Dubai will be 3D printed by 2030, represents a significant step in the direction of Sheikh Mohammed’s goals.
3D Printing Construction Strategy for Dubai
At the launch of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy this week, Sheikh Mohammed made a thoroughly inspiring speech in which he outlined his plans:
“The UAE is presenting to the world today the first integrated and comprehensive strategy to exploit 3D technology to serve humanity … that will contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and help preserve our human heritage.
“The future will depend on 3D printing technologies in all aspects of our life, starting from the houses we live in, the streets we use, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the food we eat…
“Our methodology for development is based on the launch of initiatives that can be applied anywhere in the world, creating a global model for not only our economy, but also for the global economy. The future does not wait for those who hesitate … The next stage requires us to act fast and utilise the opportunities”
Implications for the Construction Industry
Sheikh Mohammed also demonstrated a deep understanding of the implications that 3D printing construction technology will have upon the industry:
“The use of unskilled labour [in Construction] will come down. It will also redefine productivity because the time needed for 3D printing of buildings and products will be 10% of the time taken by traditional techniques … This technology is capable of transforming the Construction sector by lowering costs and reducing the time it takes to implement projects. It will also help reduce manpower requirements as well as waste generated from construction which can be harmful to the environment.”
Relieving the pressure that modern construction places on the environment is just one of the ways in which the advent of 3D printing in architecture and construction will benefit humanity. Great minds in the field are also investigating the usefulness of 3D printed homes in providing disaster relief, in eradicating urban slums, and even in developing lunar and Martian colonies.
Egypt has already struck a deal with Shanghai-based construction firm, Winsun, who hit the headlines recently for claiming to have built ten 3D printed houses in one day. The Egyptian government aim for 20,000 single storey dwellings to be built in the desert, using the sand as the raw material for construction. Whilst Egypt’s deal is noteworthy, it pales in comparison to Sheikh Mohammed’s industrious plans for UAE.
3D Printing Projected Revenue
The construction and building sectors in Dubai are set to focus on lighting products, bases and foundations, and construction joints, as well as creating civilian facilities and parks, mobile homes, galleries, stores, residential villas, and buildings for humanitarian causes.
The value of 3D printing construction technology in Dubai is estimated to be worth AED 3 billion (GBP 561 million) by 2025. The use of 3D printing in Construction in Dubai will increase by 2%, starting in 2019, increasing over coming years (dependent upon the development of the technology and how reliable it becomes in future).
In addition to Construction, the Sheikh also announced significant investment in 3D printing for both medical and consumer markets. In Medicine, artificial 3D printed bones, teeth, organs, hearing aids and medical and surgical devices will be developed to the tune of AED 1.7 billion (GBP 317 million) by 2025. 3D printed consumer products, including children’s games, jewellery, optics, household items and fast food, will be worth AED 2.8 billion (GBP 523 million).
By investing in the leading minds in 3D printing, and establishing workshops and training courses, the developments in UAE are set to provide countless jobs in a range of different, related sectors.
If all this sounds a little overambitious, it’s worth noting that the global market for 3D printing is expected to reach $300 billion (GBP 206 billion) by 2025. UAE has always been an early adopter, but North America, Germany, Japan and the UK are all allocating enormous budgets for the use of 3D printing technology across a range of sectors over the next few years.
These are still very early days, but the massive potential that 3D printing has for completely overhauling the way we live cannot be underestimated. These developments mark but a small milestone on the way to a brave new world that we can, as yet, only imagine.