Dubai is a dramatic locale that most of us equate with luxury, billionaires and their cohorts dripping in gold, and financial resources that are bigger than big—the kind that most of us really can’t even fathom. Along with that type of opulence generally comes an affinity for technology too, and Dubai is no exception; in fact, according to Sheikh Mohammed of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai plans to lead the world when it comes to using 3D printing for advancing in numerous areas and they are moving at an accelerated pace, especially in the housing market. There’s definitely no time to waste when you want to be number one.
“The UAE is presenting to the world today the first integrated and comprehensive strategy to exploit 3D technology to serve humanity,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We have also framed practical plans and precise goals to turn the strategy into reality, the reality that will contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and help preserve our human heritage.”
Plans were outlined as Sheik Mohammed was joined by the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai.
With a three-part strategy to include construction, medical products, and consumer products, the group outlined exactly how they will emerge as not just a leading force, but the leader in employing 3D printing across the board, across the UAE. They were also joined by Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future, Hamid Mohamed Al Qatami, Chairman and Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, DHA, Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, and Ahmad Bin Byat, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Dubai Holding.
“Our vision for development is driven by a deep understanding of the future needs, and built on proactive ideas because we want to be in first place globally. Our methodology for development is based on the launch of initiatives that can be applied anywhere in the world and creating a global model for not only our economy but also for the global economy,” His Highness said.
“The future does not wait for those who hesitate and slow down. The next stage requires us to act fast and utilize the opportunities. A few days ago, we launched the Dubai Future Agenda and we have started to implement it through a number of initiatives and strategies which add value to humanity and our national economy.”
In creating a platform and universal model they plan to share with world innovators, Sheikh Mohammed indeed expects all of the following UAE entities to work together:
- Government agencies
- Private sector companies
- Research centers
“The future will depend on 3D printing technologies in all aspects of our life, starting from houses we live in, the streets we use, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the food we eat,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “This technology will create added economic value and benefits worth billions of dollars during the coming period. We should have a share in this growing global market. This technology will restructure economies and labour markets as the use of unskilled labour will come down compared to the current situation, especially in the construction sector. It will also redefine productivity because the time needed for 3D printing of buildings and products will be 10% of the time taken in traditional techniques.”
In focusing on construction and building, the powers that be in the UAE plan for 3D printing to play a specific and major role in the manufacturing of lighting, bases and foundations, joints, areas like parks, mobile homes and buildings ‘for humanitarian causes,’ as well as other constructions like art galleries, retail venues, and home villas. Just as 3D printing is currently a multi-billion dollar industry in North America with very positive projections, in Dubai just the construction sector alone is expected to be about Dhs3 billion by 2025. An increase should be seen to the tune of roughly two percent in just several years.
“Our key goal is to ensure that 25% of buildings in Dubai are based on 3D printing technology by 2030, and we will raise this percentage with the development of global technology as well as growth of market demand,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We believe that 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.”
“We will also focus on utilizing this technology in other vital sectors such as medicine and consumer products to offer goods and services at competitive prices.”
Obviously the medical sector, an area being heavily impacted by 3D printing around the world, is going to be a focus in the UAE, with the estimated value of 3D printed medical products in Dubai expected to be reach Dhs1.7 billion by 2025.
Their plans revolve around developing the following 3D printed items:
- Artificial organs
- Medical and surgical devices
- Hearing aids
“Through the 3D Printing Strategy, we aim to make Dubai a global hub for the development of this technology and a base for research and development in this area,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “We aim to provide the best opportunities for innovation and optimal application of this technology worldwide. Our goal is raise the level of services provided to the people and harness 3D printing for the benefit of the entire community.”
Also included as a major part of this plan are ‘five main pillars’ to include:
- Infrastructure – providing support and R&D for attracting the world’s largest companies involved this field.
- Legislative Structure – Focusing on regulatory frameworks for the 3D printing technology in numerous sectors, as well as exploring which materials will be allowed.
- Funding – Allowing for financing, as well as alternatives, to include investment support as technology is both developed and expanded into more relevant applications
- Talent – Encouraging capabilities of local researchers, designers and innovators, as well as bringing in the best minds, worldwide, regarding 3D printing.
- Market Demand – Promoting 3D printing in numerous and varied sectors, allowing for price-competitive products without sacrificing quality.
Many partners will be involved, which comes as no surprise considering the vast scope of this initiative. Dubai Municipality, a crucial government agency, will be involved in putting the strategy into action with technology already in place as they continue to work to attract global companies. They will also be responsible for helping to make a seamless transition from conventional methods in construction to those being used with 3D printing. Dubai Future Foundation will streamline efforts and make frameworks for reaching goals. The Dubai Health Authority will work toward the goals in the medical arena, setting standards and a framework for 3D printed medical applications and products. They will have a focus on international partnerships. Dubai Holding will be key in strategizing as well, creating a lab with the purpose of encouraging innovation and inviting designers in. A special center for 3D printing is in the works, and it will also provide workshops and training. A fund will also be set up for a variety of projects to include 3D printing.
Four main stages will serve to help achieving all of the goals:
- The Establishment phase – Preparing an overall study of the 3D printing sector, specifically building construction.
- The Qualification phase – Compiling ideas and organize all that will be required to ‘develop codes’ for 3D printing and materials, systems, hardware, and also develop standards to maintain sustainability and keep projects going. Training of engineers and other companies will be involved, as well as setting up labs.
- The Implementation phase – As the Dubai Holding pilot project begins, so will this phase as developers turn to making new prototypes and starting other projects. The strategy states that both consultants and those in the private sector will be expected to get on board with 3D printing, especially in construction, motivated by direct impact incentives.
- The Development Phase – Evaluation and measuring will be performed to assess the previous stages and ongoing development.
It’s difficult to imagine a more hard-hitting, comprehensive strategy than the one outlined here, which will also include plans for a global forum as international connections continue to be sought. This plan, overall, is being brought about by the Future Cities Programme of the UAE, with the ultimate goal of adding social and economic value. This is part of the Dubai Future Agenda headed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Discuss further in the 3D Printing in the UAE forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source / Images: The Gulf Today]