Aug 18, 2016 | By Alec
While it has taken years, it is starting to look like a turning point is being reached in the Syrian Civil War – which spilled over into Iraq and saw the rise of ISIS. In fact, ISIS is increasingly being pushed out of Iraq altogether. But even if a swift end to the war is in sight, the troubles for the local population won’t suddenly go away. We’ve all seen the images of countless destroyed cities and towns where people are forced to live in inhuman circumstances, and that life won’t change for years. But the Iraqi government is looking at quick solutions, and might have found them in 3D printed homes.
This is not even just a quirky suggestion, as the Iraqi government has already looked at various practical options. Just a few days ago, a delegation featuring representatives from the Iraqi Ministries of Planning, Housing, Finance, Water Resources, and from the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Regional Planning Department, travelled to the WinSun’s Suzhou office, China to look at the 3D printed homes. The delegation was led by the Assistant Director of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning, Abbas Fadi Abbas Ka Demi.
WinSun is one of the world leaders in construction 3D printing technology. Back in 2014, Winsun made headlines all over the internet for building not one, but ten 3D printed houses in less than 24 hours. Since then, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Company, to give its full name, has been following up their initial success with one 3D printed concrete creation after another. Back in March, they even unveiled two gorgeous 3D printed Chinese courtyards, inspired by the ancient Suzhou gardens.
But WinSun has been particularly working hard to scale up the technology, and even the Saudi Arabian government has been looking to WinSun for 3D printed homes – with recent discussions focusing on the construction of a staggering 1.5 million 3D printed housing units over a five year period. While the Iraqi government isn’t thinking on such a scale just yet, they are recognizing the potential of construction 3D printing– which could greatly speed up the production and construction of new housing units in northern Iraq, which has been torn apart by war since 2014.
During the meeting at WinSun, the Iraqi delegation was therefore particularly interested in practical issues, and discussed the possibility of sponsoring 10,000 housing projects in Iraq. Alternatively, they are also interested in directly purchasing 3D construction printers for post-war rehabilitation. While discussions are still in the very earliest stages, it’s clear that 3D printing could play a huge role in the Middle East.
During the visit to Suzhou, the delegation was also shown around the famous creations of WinSun, which are all built at the WinSun HQ test site. Among others, the Iraqi delegation visited the world’s tallest 3D printed apartment building, featuring six floors not counting the ground floor, and the world’s first 3D printed villa – a 1,000 square meter home that has been particularly popular with visitors. Both were unveiled in January 2015, to critical acclaim. But WinSun has clearly been working hard since then, as the Iraqi delegation also saw several new creations, such as 3D printed water wells and even a septic tank (visible below).
But that is not all. Over the past few months, WinSun has also 3D printed an underground piping infrastructure for urban construction projects, 3D printed steel housing and 3D printed moveable buildings (such as nursing homes and hotels). They are also looking at providing international training for their 3D printing tech. But perhaps most ambitious is the company’s plan to 3D print a 100m tall structure – for which it is currently seeking approval.
At the same time WinSun has been working hard to push their ‘Dream Factory’ project, aimed at setting up more than a hundred 3D printing factories in China. So far, they’ve exported the concept to eleven other cities, including Dubai and Shanghai. The China Railway 24th Bureau Group Co Ltd will be building one of these factories in Shanghai, while another is being built in Baotou City in Inner Mongolia. There, it will be part of a 0.67 square kilometers 3D printing park, with a projected output of 452 million USD over the next five years. It will also serve as a hub for a further eleven 3D printing factories throughout the Inner Mongolia region of China.
Regardless of whether or not these Middle Eastern 3D printing plans materialize, it’s clear that WinSun is not resting on their laurels. Commercial construction 3D printing is quickly becoming a reality.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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