Global renewable energy, infrastructure, water, and services company ACCIONA, headquartered in Madrid, opened its first Middle East office in the UAE city of Dubai back in 2008. The company is a leader in sustainable infrastructure solutions, and this week inaugurated a new global 3D printing center in Dubai that plans to meet the continuing demand for 3D printed infrastructure.
This new production facility has been in the works since 2016 – the result of a major internal development process in Innovation. Now, the technology housed in the new 3D printing center is ready to be developed for commercial use…and the technology itself is pretty incredible.
According to ACCIONA, the facility houses the world’s largest operational powder bed 3D printer, which uses concrete as a base material – perfect for creating very resistant structural parts in architectural, building, construction, and other urban applications.
“We are delighted to present this initiative which represents a successful case of cutting edge technology developed at the ACCIONA´s R&D and Innovation Center being transferred to the market and making it accessible to all. Moreover, reinforces ACCIONA’s image as an innovative company,” Luis Clemente, ACCIONA 3D Printing COO, said in a press release. “With no doubt, Dubai is the place to be when it comes to the state-of-the-art technologies, especially regarding concrete 3D printing as it is underpinned by the Dubai’s commitment in 3D Printing strategy.”
Ah, yes, the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which will require 25% of the components in new buildings in the city-state to be manufactured using 3D printing by the year 2025, which is not nearly as far in the future as it once seemed. The goal is to make Dubai a major 3D printing hub by 2030, and things seem to be moving along swimmingly. The strategy was even integrated into the UAE’s strategic development plan for cost reduction, performance, and productivity improvement of products, in addition to environmental impact mitigation.
3D printing is a versatile and sustainable technology that can help reduce climate impact, increase productivity and automation, and digitize production processes. Using concrete as a base material in construction applications, as ACCIONA is doing, can increase strength and durability as well, and large-scale concrete 3D printing makes it possible to fabricate structural elements without the use of formwork or molds, increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of waste used.
Dubai was chosen to house ACCIONA’s new 3D printing center in order to, as the press release states, “support the Emirate’s commitment to deploying this technology in all economic fields,” but most specifically in construction, with which the company is pretty familiar.
In fact, ACCIONA has achieved several milestones in concrete construction 3D printing, such as 3D printing a footbridge in Madrid and 3D printing the first true-to-scale, architectural piece of cultural heritage, together with the National Archaeological Museum of Spain (MAN) – the Romanesque arch of San Pedro de las Dueñas.
The 3D printer housed in the new center in Dubai is 6 x 3 x 2 meters, and will bring more automation and efficiency to construction processes and urban design – thus helping the city-state’s 3D Printing Strategy come to fruition.
“The arrival of the World´s largest 3D printing machine in Dubai´s Ras Al Khor Industrial Area represents the availability of this revolutionary and unique technology in the GCC. At ACCIONA, we are always pursuing the development of new and advanced know-how within our global goal to achieve a better planet,” said Jesús Sancho, ACCIONA Middle East Managing Director.
ACCIONA has long worked in the UAE, having been awarded several water facilities in Dubai and Fujairah, and extending the Dubai Metro Red Line for Expo 2020, and modernizing both the Red and Green Lines, through its construction division. The company is also working to build the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park (Phase III) in Dubai, which will be one of the world’s largest photovoltaic plants once it’s completed.
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.[Images provided by ACCIONA]
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