Jun 16, 2017 | By Tess

Behrokh Khoshnevis, inventor of the innovative Contour Crafting construction 3D printing method, has received a significant investment from Doka Ventures, a construction-focused subsidiary of Austria-based Umdasch Group. Khoshnevis has also leased a 33,600-square-foot space in El Segndo, and will ramp up production of his robotic construction 3D printers.

At 3Ders, we’ve been captivated by Khoshnevis’ Contour Crafting method of building since it first crossed our radar. While we first wrote about the technology in 2012, it has been interesting to see how Khoshnevis’ 3D printing method has evolved and gained interest over recent years (even from institutions as illustrious as NASA).

Khoshnevis, currently a professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and CEO of Contour Crafting Corporation, invented the 3D printing construction method while working at the University of Southern California. The technology, which consists of a large-scale concrete 3D printer, is reportedly capable of printing an entire 2,000 square foot house, with electrical, plumbing, and ventilation conduits included, in just 24 hours.

The technology’s inventor believes that his method could have important applications here on Earth, offering low-cost and rapid housing to people of limited means and those in disaster zones, as well as in space, where local materials could be used by the 3D printer to create livable habitats for future colonies.

Behrokh Khoshnevis, creator of Contour Crafting 3D printing technology

At present, Contour Crafting Corporation is gearing up to start series production of its first-generation deployable robotic construction 3D printers. “Very soon, we’ll have the first series-ready deployable robotic 3D construction printer,” said Khoshnevis. A press release indicates that the first Contour Crafting 3D printers will be ready for dispatch at the start of 2018.

Through Doka Ventures’ investment, the firm will acquire a 30% stake in Contour Crafting Corporation, and will appoint a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chair of the Board of Directors for the 3D printing company. Khoshnevis will maintain his role as President and CEO of the company and will continue to be majority shareholder.

As the world’s population grows (it is expected to reach 11 billion by 2100!) and urbanization rates rise, low-cost and rapid housing solutions will become increasingly important, especially for those earning low wages. Traditional construction methods will not be able to meet this demand, says Contour Crafting, but 3D printing construction could be up to the challenge.

The Contour Crafting method is capable of printing building shells using a layer-by-layer deposition process. The 800 lbs machine (lightweight compared to most construction equipment), which can build a structure in as little as a day, can be easily deployed to regions where housing is needed. (For instance, for social housing projects or regions that have been hit by disaster.)

First generation models will reportedly have a building reach of between 24 and 40 feet, and will also have a “user-selectable length” which could be larger. In terms of operation, Khoshnevis says the 3D printers can be brought to the work site using a standard-sized truck or a marine-freight shipping container. In contrast to conventional construction, where many workers are needed, the Contour Crafting printer could be operated and monitored by only a few certified operators.

With the partnership, Contour Crafting Corporation becomes Doka Ventures’ first strategic investment. The venture capital firm is primarily interested in innovative technologies and business models for the construction industry. Doka Group, Doka Ventures’ sister company, is a recognized manufacturer of formwork technology in the construction sector.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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