Just when I think Dubai can’t surprise me anymore, the United Arab Emirates city goes and proves me wrong yet again. We cover 3D printing news from all over the world, yet Dubai is one of the most – if not the most – consistent locations in terms of generating stunning announcements about the incredible things being done with the technology. Earlier this year, Dubai made the grand announcement that 25% of all buildings in the city will be 3D printed by 2030, if all goes according to plan, and it’s becoming easier and easier to believe that that lofty goal can be met.
Just a month after Dubai announced their ambitious building plans, the city inaugurated the world’s first 3D printed office building, which took a mere 17 days to construct. A day later, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) stated their intention to build another 3D printed first: 3D printed laboratories at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
Today, DEWA announced that they have awarded the contract for the design and construction of the first 3D printed laboratory to Convrgnt Value Engineering, a UAE-based construction firm that has been in business since 1974. Not only will the building be the first 3D printed laboratory in the world, it will be the first building in the UAE to be fully 3D printed onsite, rather than printed in segments elsewhere and assembled onsite.
The completed lab will be a center for research on 3D printing and drones, including the use of drones to study and improve the performance of photovoltaic labs and other photovoltaic technologies. The lab will be divided into four sub-laboratories:
“We are extremely pleased with the award and even more so since this will be the first 3D printed laboratory in the world and the first 3D building in the UAE that is fully-printed onsite,” said Vibin Paul of Convrgnt. “3D printed building technology is not only new to the Gulf but also the world and we are fortunate to be at the forefront with this project.
“The building will be printed using a system of robotic arms at the desert location. The risks of working in an unshielded open environment have to be addressed and the logistics accurately controlled during the printing operation.”
- The Electronics Lab, which will house electrical design and repair services for drones that will be used by research and development staff and DEWA employees
- The Prototype Lab, which will be a center for research, educational solutions, and product development. Employees at the lab will also test avionic systems, flight controls, and electric power units, while solving issues and developing solutions for national and DEWA objectives.
- The Software Lab will research, design, implement and evaluate software systems, particularly in the areas of operating systems, cloud computing, mobile computing, distribution systems, software engineering and virtualization.
- The Mechanical Lab will research and experiment with the behavior and characteristics of certain materials, while developing product prototypes for engineering applications.
The facility will also have an outdoor flight testing area, which will include a landing pad with sensors, plus a power, water and data line.
“DEWA’s vision is inspired by the wise words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said that, ‘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 Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA.
“The construction of the 3D-printed lab, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, reflects our on-going efforts to achieve the directives of our wise government. The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is a unique global initiative to use technology for the service of humanity, and promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub for 3D printing technology by 2030.”
DEWA did not give a date for the estimated completion of the lab, but judging by the pace Dubai is setting with their other 3D printed construction projects, it’ll probably be done much sooner than anyone might expect. Discuss further in the 3D Printed Lab forum over at 3DPB.com.