AM Investment Strategies
AMS Spring 2023

Siam Cement to Distribute COBOD Construction 3D Printers in Southeast Asia

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Additive construction firm COBOD International is on a mission to construct buildings all around the world using automation, robotic construction, and 3D printing. So far, the Danish company is doing pretty well with this goal, as it provided the 3D printers for many of the major 3D printed buildings that were announced in the last two years, included ones by 14 Trees (the daughter company of Holcim), Printed Farms, and PERI, which actually acquired a significant stake in COBOD back in 2018. Now, the company has signed a distribution agreement with Siam Cement Group (SCG), which is both the oldest and the largest cement manufacturer in Southeast Asia and Thailand. SCG will distribute COBOD’s construction 3D printers in the region, and promote the technology there as well.

“We are very proud that Siam Cement has chosen to become a partner with us,” said Henrik Lund-Nielsen, the Founder and General Manager of COBOD International. “The fact that Siam Cement has now invested in a 3D printer from us and even want to exclusively distribute our printers is a sign of great conviction in the future potential of 3DCP technology – a positive trend we have seen among cement and concrete manufacturers across all continents over the last 6-9 months.”

SCG is a top business conglomerate in the ASEAN region, and has three core businesses—Chemicals, Cement-Building Materials, and Packaging. With nearly 54,000 employees and a revenue of $12 billion in 2020, it’s one of the largest public companies in the world by Forbes standards. In the past, SCG has fabricated prototypes, and supposedly buildings, using other 3D printers, but feels that it’s ready to take a bigger step in regional construction. That’s why it’s turned to COBOD, which has the expertise and equipment to help SCG get to the next level in the construction market.

“3D construction printers have been widely used in many parts of the world with excellent results. The technology helps reduce waste and increase construction times with foolproof simulation with minimal numbers of laborers,” explained Abhijit Datta, Managing Director, SCG International. “This is the starting point of this collaboration with COBOD International A/S. Together, we will improve Thailand’s construction market with the future expectation of extending cooperation in the ASEAN. With our regional expertise and domestic solid business alliance relationship, we are ready to assist our partner in achieving long-term success.”

Now that the agreement has been signed, SCG will be learning all it can about construction 3D printing with COBOD’s systems. Then, the plan is to create a dedicated sales channel for 3D concrete printing, or 3DCP. If we heed what PERI AG’s Global Head of Business Development & Sales for 3D Construction Printing Jan Graumann told 3DPrint.com, this is definitely in line with predictions for the 3D construction printing sector.

“Next year and the years thereafter we expect the number of 3D construction printing companies as well as the number of realized 3D-printing projects to continue to increase. The technology as proven its high potential to increase productivity in the construction industry and thereby address the global housing shortage,” Graumann told us. “Additionally, we are convinced that 3D construction printing will more and more become a standard building method over the next years.”

The home 3D printed in Oman using COBOD technology and D.fab. Image courtesy of COBOD International.

COBOD has an open source strategy, and sets up partnerships around the globe with academic institutions, customers, and other cement makers, such as Holcim, 14 Trees, and Cemex. Sometimes the hype surrounding the 3D construction printing segment can be overwhelming, but COBOD seems pretty committed to backing up what it promises. This winter, the company demonstrated its BOD2 printer live at the World of Concrete convention in Las Vegas in order to showcase the market readiness of its technology, and recently released a 3D visualized configurator for creating construction 3D printers.

“Considering only the past 6 months we have seen orders in this segment from Europe, Latin America – and now Asia. Engagement is coming from both global giants but also regional or local players,” said Simon Klint Bergh, Head of Asia Pacific at COBOD. “Overall, among the manufacturers of concrete and cement there is an acceptance and true belief that 3DCP is going to play a vital role for the industry in the years to come. We are thrilled now to be able to count Siam Cement as one of our partners.”

Of course, the company may need to be flexible in the future, as continuing research in the sector indicates that concrete is pretty outdated.

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