Dec 14, 2015 | By Alec
With the end of the year approaching quickly, it is now possible to look back on some interesting 3D printing trends that developed over the course of 2014. Certainly a lot has happened in the field of construction, where so many concrete 3D printing experiments have been successfully completed – suggesting that a real big splash isn’t far off. For Dutch concrete 3D printing developers CyBe, at least, 2016 seems to be full of promise. The development of their 3D printable mortar has now been completed, and they’re aiming for an early 2016 release, while they are also hard at work certificating their on-site 3D concrete printing method which could finally bring the technology to construction sites across the EU.
In short, a lot is about to happen for CyBe Construction. The startup, as you might remember, is the brainchild of Dutch developer Berry Hendriks, who can already look back on a very successful year. He has pioneered one of the more promising 3D concrete printing setups, called the ProTo 3DP, which is also a far more environmentally friendly option than most of its competitors. As Berry revealed to us in January, his special mortar ‘filament’ can form bearable structures within several minutes (thus promising to speed up building considerably), while completing the hydration process within 24 hours. Meanwhile, working with their special type of mortar produces far less CO2 than regular concrete.
CyBe thus seems to have all the elements necessary to succeed, and over 2015 he has been extensively testing and optimizing his technology. ‘The focus of 2014 was to develop the basic 3D concrete print technology. '[After] achieving this milestone, the goal for this year (2015) was to focus on and plan the various potential business cases. And of course, we didn’t stopped 3D printing or further developing our technology!’ he tells us. At the same time, CyBe has also been participating in two research programs in collaboration with the Technical University Eindhoven and several industry partners, including one project on the development of 3D printable bio-concrete.
Through all this effort, Berry’s concrete 3D printing techniques and the guiding algorithms have since improved dramatically. ‘Where our small plastic 3D printer takes up to 8 hours to 3D print the scale model, the actual object of 2,300mm in height is 3D printed in just 50 minutes,’ he says to emphasize this new printing speed. At the same time, he has adopted another 3D printing angle, which eliminates the layered texture result some people dislike about concrete 3D printing. The result is a potent and quick manufacturing technique that results in perfectly smooth surfaces –what more could you need?
CyBe is thus now reaching a point where they can start focusing on customers, and Berry explains that they are now shifting their focus towards the market and towards educating clients on how they can benefit from construction-oriented 3D printers. ‘In this way everyone keeps doing what they are good at, we develop 3D concrete printers and our customers create products with them. After all the construction companies know best how to build buildings, and currently it can’t be done only by using one single 3D concrete printer,’ he says.
The first and biggest step in that process is bringing their excellent CyBe mortar to the market, which can even be sold as early as January 2016. One other great aspect about this material is that it can be theoretically used on any concrete 3D printer, though CyBe will first one to analyze those machines to ensure that it’s perfectly compatible with CyBe mortar. The other important step is certification, which is necessary within the EU to convince construction companies to adopt the technology. The EU certification trajectory for on-site 3D concrete printing of structural walls has since been launched through the 3DCP research project, in which they are collaborating with the Technical University Eindhoven. ‘This [will] eventually make it possible for our European customers to be able to use the technology during construction,’ Berry tells us.
In anticipation of this certification, the startup is also hard at work 3D printing lots of examples of what they are capable of. ‘We have a 3D concete printer and it would be a shame not to use it for producing neat products. For the designs of these products we work with various designers and create e.g. concrete vases as well as concrete benches and other street furniture. Merging design and 3D concrete printing provides endless new possibilities!’ Berry says. 2016 is thus promising to be an exciting year for both CyBe and for concrete 3D printing.
Posted in 3D Printer Company
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