Sep 22, 2017 | By Benedict

Apis Cor, a construction 3D printing startup based in Russia and San Francisco, has raised $6 million in investment from the Rusnano Sistema Sicar venture fund. Apis Cor’s robotic 3D printer can purportedly 3D print an entire house in a day.

Even the most passionate 3D printing devotees agree that additive manufacturing will probably never be used to make all buildings. But with new tech able to 3D print an entire house in a day, the global interest in construction 3D printing has never been higher.

Apis Cor, a Russian-formed startup with locations in the Russian cities of Moscow and Irkutsk, as well as San Francisco in California, is currently generating lots of excitement on the back of its unique 3D printing technology—technology that can purportedly churn out a building in just 24 hours.

In fact, that excitement has just come to a head in a way that will massively benefit Apis Cor. The Rusnano Sistema Sicar venture fund, a private equity fund established by globally renowned tech firms Sistema and RUSNANO, has just pumped $6 million into the Russian startup to help it develop and multiply its house-building additive manufacturing systems.

And as if to highlight just how important Apis Cor is becoming on the tech landscape, this $6 million deal is the jointly owned venture fund’s first ever investment since its inception last year.

"We are pleased that Apis Cor has become our fund’s first investment,” commented Sergey Vakhterov, Managing Director of RUSNANO MC. “The company is a pioneer in the 3D printing industry and its technology has no peers on the global stage.”

So what makes Apis Cor so “peerless” and therefore such an appealing investment?

Frankly, it’s all about one highly advanced 3D printing robot. The company’s mobile robot, the center of the entire business, is capable of constructing buildings using fine-grained fiber concrete mixed with special additives. It can build walls of buildings “to any design” in very short time-frames, as evidenced by the 24-hour house printing, and prints these structures on-site. It can also print across an area of 132 square meters, leaving zero construction waste behind, and uses an automatic horizontal stabilization system for building houses on uneven terrain.

But there's more. Apis Cor says its 3D printing robot can construct buildings up to three storeys high—and at a slightly lower overall cost than other construction techniques can offer.

“Apis Cor's solution makes the construction process cheaper and drastically changes the entire industry,” Vakhterov added.

In terms of hard numbers, Apis Cor’s construction 3D printing technology is expected to make “low-rise cottage construction” 19 per cent cheaper than foam concrete houses—a saving that could be realized as soon as next year. With further development, cost reduction could eventually reach 20 to 30 per cent.

And while the startup isn’t exactly taking on skyscrapers yet, its chosen target market of smaller structures could prove to be a goldmine—for both Apis Cor and its new investors.

“3D printing has enormous potential for the construction industry, with a projected share of up to 30 per cent of the global low-rise cottages market, which is valued at $68 billion,” said Sergey Dergach, CEO of Sistema Consult, a company advising the venture fund.

In line with its high expectations for 2018, Apis Cor claims that it already has a full-cycle solution, and is now entering the phase of active commercial growth, targeting customers in Russia, Asia and the Middle East, the US, and Europe. These regions promise varying opportunities, with Russia, Asia, and the Middle East all offering potential state-backed contracts for social housing developments, and the U.S. and Europe more interested in experimental architecture. Both needs can be met with 3D printing.

By the end of 2018, Apis Cor expects to have “several dozen” of its 3D printing robots in operation, with revenue that year expected to reach tens of millions of dollars.

“With its first and as yet unrivalled solution capable of successfully outperforming conventional technologies, Apis Cor has the potential to become a leader in the 3D construction industry and claim first-mover premium in this fast-growing market,” Dergach said.

The Rusnano Sistema Sicar private equity fund was established by Sistema and RUSNANO in 2016, and will manage around $100 million. The two companies each hold 50 per cent.

Revisit our list of 27 amazing 3D printed housing and construction projects to get a better feel for the state of construction additive manufacturing today. Next time we publish such a list, expect to see an Apis Cor project firmly in the mix.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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