The German University of Technology in Oman, GUtech, celebrated the completion of the 3D printing of the walls of the world’s largest 3D printed structure composed of genuine concrete on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The participation of His Excellency Sultan Al-Habsi, Minister of Finance of Oman, as well as more than 200 guests, including numerous ministers and VIPs from Oman, who attended the event in Muscat, Oman’s capital, underscored the significance of the occasion.
A Two Stage Printing Process
The house is typical of a communal housing unit in Oman, with a floor area of 190 m2 (2,100 SF). There are three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a guest reception area in this home. Two stages of printing were used to create the house.
While the materials recipe was changed and the Omani crew was trained
during the printing of the first portion of the house,
the Omani crew completed the second part of the house on their own in only five days. In 3D printed projects, this is a sign of rapid learning and productivity gains.
“Today’s display of the first 3D printed building is likely the first step in the 1,000-mile journey,”
stated Dr Hussain, Acting Rector of GUtech.
A step that will not be accomplished unless all parties concerned support it. In this regard,
I would like to express my gratitude to all local and international parties who support the centre and the university.
We expect that this centre will contribute to Oman’s efforts to realize Oman’s Vision 2040.”
The first 3D Printed Real concrete
While there have been other 3D printed buildings in the Middle East,
the 190 m2 (2,100 SF) structure in Oman is the first to be produced using real concrete rather than the typical dry mix mortars used in most other 3D printed structures.
To make the concrete 3D printable,
GUtech used the D.fab solution,
which was developed in collaboration between COBOD and CEMEX and allows for particle sizes of up to 10 mm (1/3 inch) in the concrete.
CEMEX and COBOD announced the D.fab solution in conjunction with the first 3D printed building in Angola.
The D.fab approach was also employed in Angola,
with the result that the concrete materials for the 52 m2 (575 SF) house cost less than $1,000.
“The introduction of this breakthrough 3D printing machine is a testament to our
customer-centric philosophy and tireless drive on ongoing innovation and development,”
said Juan Romero, Executive Vice President of CEMEX’s Sustainability, Commercial, and Operations Development.
We have produced an experience for clients that is superior to anything previously delivered in collaboration with COBOD.”
In the instance of Oman, more than 99.5 per cent of the components utilized were indigenous,
with the D.fab additions accounting for less than 0.5 per cent of the total.
Materials for 3D printing the walls of the 190 m2 (2.100 SF) house cost less than 1,600 Euro in Oman.
The materials would have cost more than 20,000 euros if a printable dry mix mortar had been used, according to COBOD, and it was such huge cost reductions that COBOD and CEMEX were aiming for.
“While we have been happy to help various cement and concrete manufacturers develop dry mix 3D printable mortars, we have also insisted on a solution for making real concrete made from locally available materials for mass application of our technology,”
Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder & General Manager of COBOD International, said of this milestone for the widespread adoption of the 3D construction printing method.
We are delighted that CEMEX accepted the challenge, and we are proud that, together, we were able to develop the new solution, which GUtech has already implemented in the first building in Oman.
Our innovative technology is now more competitive than ever before in Oman and throughout the world, thanks to the low cost of printed materials,
as well as the savings from not having formwork and the small workforce required to operate our printers.”