Printed Architecture is a recently founded (2014) firm focused on developing innovative building process.
We design new methods, models, and applied technology geared to the application in architecture of additive manufacturing, also commonly known as 3D printing technology.
The primary purpose of Printed Architecture is to develop 3D printed building components to accomplish the goal of getting a viable commercial rapid habitat fabrication system at very low cost, fully sustainable, and ready to use for a broad range of needs.
These needs may range from; initially for basic habitation, for rapid deployment in emergency situations, for sheltering purposes in oil&gas and/or mining industries, or to be used in extreme environments, like desert and polar zones, or even to be utilized for off-earth habitation in space.
Going from design stage to prototype model. U.S. Patent pending.
Project Description (section in development)
One of the most important contributions to GNP for most countries in current economic systems is given by the construction industry. The technological systems developed in the 20th century tried to reach higher levels of industrialization and standardization but faced a strong cultural resistance despite their reduced cost compared to the more conventional ones. This resistance is mostly due to the fact that the utilizer associated the concept of multigenerational durability to buildings due to the high but necessary investments needed in construction.
Most non-conventional systems have been proposed especially for the so called social housing during the past century, trying to solve pressing problems but also generating non qualified spaces without identity contributing to the urban blight.
For that reason we can notice that the identity and cultural values have prevailed up to now despite the fact that from the territorial planning point of view every experiment in containing the city expansion has failed most of the times.
We actually eliminated and covered by buildings some of the most fertile areas for food production of our planet since the original sites utilized for our cities were the most adequate for that function. Despite our advanced technologies construction still represent an uncertain activity where site conditions are not totally under control and we are lacking a precise cost, schedule and quality control.
Furthermore construction activities generate high pollution, both from manufacturing, wastes and contributing to urban blight.
Many prefabrication systems have been proposed that passed standard test of every type with better results than conventional ones. From such experience we now have several mixed systems including those based on the introduction of plastics, generated from the oil industry. For all the above reasons we need to develop holistic concepts that can face the current challenges by introducing more advanced technologies but also addressing other challenges.
The proposed concept is revolutionary and may change the rules of the game of the construction industry as well as minimize the ecological footprints generated.
To obtain a holistic revolution that could be culturally accepted and at the same time could minimize the ecological footprint we must find new rules and concepts of industrial manufacturing that will require a minimum number of personnel and time and with better results as the conventional system especially to much reduced costs.
PRINTED ARCHITECTURE proposal wants to improve the existing technology not only by developing an entirely new industrialized system that can be assembled seamlessly on the site in minimum time but also by utilizing recycled waste materials for the building components.
Such system is extremely flexible, and allows assembly of construction components, through a totally dry process that allow any shape and dimension.
PRINTBUILD ™ system consists in specialized functional panel-type containers, filled with cellulose paste or construction waste as insulation material, which can be assembled in accordance with the project requirements. As an additional innovation the panels can be manufactured by utilizing 3D printing technology, on or off site as required.
The materials will be provided from the recycling of waste PET plastic bottles for the container blocks of the system as well as newspaper wastes for the insulating materials. The proposed system will be formed by several components, the main ones being the wall, slab and roof systems. In this way we are solving several problems:
• The need to innovate construction saving time and costs.• Transform construction in an industrialized activity of easy component assembly.• Elimination of uncertainty due to construction site activities.• Recycling waste contributing to the new green economy.• Utilize waste as raw material reducing resource depletion.• Reutilization of demolished construction waste. • Elimination of waste materials from construction, usually a major problem to find landfill disposal areas.• Reducing urban blight caused by construction sites and public waste disposal areas.• Reducing power requirements and resources needed by the construction industry.
Furthermore the 3d printing concept by being additive will resulting in major savings of resources compared to the traditional eliminating wastes, that represent, a major factor of contamination in the entire ecosystem and optimizing the material utilization.
Even the building sites will be transformed from existing collection of construction materials of every type to spotless assembly lines of manufactured components in a Lego type of environment contributing to reduce pollution and urban blight.
The high number of products and building types permitted by the system flexibility will contribute to build housing of high and independent energy conservation level and will provide all the urban equipment which will be needed including the possibility of easy substitution of damaged ones.-At the moment the construction industry, while supported by highly standardized building components, in its essence is still following traditional practices, including legal procedures to obtain building permits. Considering construction itself there are several issues to evaluate such as:
• Poor control of final costs.• Delays due to poorly controlled site activities and labor related issues.• Lack of quality due to uneven personnel skills and different trades’ capability. • Utilization of centuries old multi-trade techniques and materials neglecting existing technologies capabilities while not optimizing all construction processes.• Adoption of high polluting technologies for component manufacturing as well as during construction generating high volumes of wastes including the need for major landfill disposal facilities.• Heavy requirements of utilities, power and water on site.• Need of heavy and large material handling equipment on site.
By analyzing past experiences and recent trends we can foresee the utilization of new technologies that may change entirely the rules of the game. One of the most important is 3D printing, a technology in fast development since it allows mobility and access to endless shapes. It also allows the utilization of several waste materials that not always are properly utilized and end up in natural locations causing ecological damages. Due to the durability of such wasted components it have been estimated that they will decay only after hundred, even thousands of years especially for such materials as:
• PET type plastics.• Recycled paper waste. • Construction wastes of several type demolition and building materials.• Chemical wastes from containers.
To face the above challenges we are proposing a construction system that can utilize advanced additive (no waste) manufacturing technologies:
• 3D printing (on site or off site).• Utilize recycled waste for its components to reduce dependence from non renewable resources (PET and plastics for the container components and recycled paper or construction waste for the insulation material).
The system is composed of external and internal walls, ceiling and roof components made in PET ultralight material with adequate shape for load resistance, filled with cellulose or construction recycled waste as insulation.Such system will allow dry construction by assembling manufactured components as designed. Such components will allow the integration with the piping and utilities where needed and can also incorporate systems, equipment and furniture in accordance with design requirements.
The building components have variable dimensions in accordance with their designated function in the construction system. For that reason there are structural components, walls, slabs, roof with the related finishes that complete the building system, including bathroom, kitchen and container units. Being an entirely new, low cost system, our goal being to reduce conventional construction costs by 60%, with fast assembly times, we estimate that a single family house of 60 sq. m. can be assembled in three days by a 3 person crew. This new construction system addresses several goals as follows:
• Innovative, disrupting and competitive solutions for profitability and growth.• Reduce general contamination and wastes.• Reduce requirements from non renewable resources.• Reduce power consumption, and wastes.• Major contribution to the green economy.• Creation of an all new industry for global activities.• Utilize waste for raw materials reducing resources depletion.
--At the moment the innovation is in the design stage, while some components have been tested as prototypes. Our company, being already involved in manufacturing innovative construction systems for the global market is already familiar with most process for the development of building systems. The entire system is fully designed and ready to perform tests with single components as well as assembly examples.
At the end of the start-up phase of this project we expect to manufacture a scale model of a single housing unit utilizing the proposed system. Field tests and prototypes were built utilizing polyurethane and polystyrene components, including solutions for fast assembly times, but they were superseded by the simplicity of the proposed system which represents a further development from those first construction system.--At the moment we are at low TRL, proof of concept. Our company originally developed such system for NASA space and lunar bases as design proposals due to their reduce weight and need of space. While such application proved successful we demonstrate that their optimum utilization can be in our planet.
We believe that with a proper financing we can soon reach TRL 9 and be in production since the techniques are of simple implementation, the basic technologies are already developed. And our company have the experience, facilities and marketing skills on a global level to pursue with success the desired goals.--During the feasibility assessment time frame, we want to advance from design stage to component prototypes.
Such phase will allow us to field test the product; define manufacturing costs, time, facilities and equipment needed. At the same time we will be able to develop site assembly experience with the system utilization to estimate its optimization regarding time, sequence of activities, manpower requirements and ultimately costs. With that information we will proceed with market studies and test of consumer acceptance of the system. --This system has a global market possibility. Since its benefits are of several types, including cost, time and quality it could be easily accepted once successfully tested.
Latin American (Argentina) industry can take advantage by being the first to utilize it and create the system, all manufacturing systems and technologies for its development.
The entire building industry can obtain benefits, since the system can be utilized for retrofitting existing and build entire new buildings.
The final consumer also will benefit by obtaining advanced components at lower prices. Furthermore the assembly time advantage will allow good marketing conditions worldwide.--Main user needs are:
• Guaranteed lower construction costs.• Reduced and confirm time of assembly.• Reduce number of trades involved.• Reduce or eliminate waste of materials.
We are transforming the industry from a subtracting to an adding manufacturing system, saving materials, processes and related utilities, personnel, facilities and equipment. Lighter building components will significantly reduce the total weight and structural costs of buildings.--Goal of the system is to reduce building costs by 40% on the overall and at the same time to reduce more substantially construction and assembly time by 80% compared to traditional systems.
Furthermore by reducing number of components and trades we are obtaining a highly simplified system compared to traditional one.--For this particular product the high volume low-medium price market is the most suitable. For example, European construction market is considered a value of nearly 1 trillion euros supplying several million jobs.
By considering that this product could represent from 15 to app 30% of the building value we can estimate the market at 250/300 billion euros.
Obviously to enter in such high volumes adequate production facilities and marketing campaign will be needed, including user’s acceptance.
The possibility to use the components for retrofitting can significantly increase the market size and targets.
An additional advantage of this product is its utilization of recycled waste, plastic, paper and construction wastes.
The latter possibility will allow convenient agreements, for both parties, the municipalities that need to get rid of their wastes and the construction industry that needs to immediately reutilize them as primary resources in a closed cycle with mutual advantages.--This system is totally new. Competitors utilizing 3D printing techniques are at experimental stage with brick or block type of system completely different than the one proposed. While at the moment we can be alone, we can forecast that in a very short time such technologies in construction (3d printing and waste recycling utilization) will become widely used.--Public and private single family houses in any given Latin American country for the entire system and its components, while non standing components such as exterior, interior and specialized walls can be independently utilized in new and retrofitting construction projects. They can be sold directly to construction companies or through building components stores.--Psychological and cultural barriers against the utilization of prefab plastic materials in the house will be the most important barrier.
Most people are tied to traditional “solid” materials and may not accept alternate solutions even if more convenient.
A long campaign, with examples, owner’s reports, positive word of mouth and other tools must be implemented to overcome such barriers.
--World markets for high volume production, by pinpointing specific housing programs in several countries where cost and delivery time, are of the essence by doing joint ventures with local companies and develop the product for specific local programs.
Proceed to homologation in single countries where market conditions are good and for immediate utilization of the product. For low volume market a more traditional approach can be implemented. Specific business and marketing plans will be developed and implemented in accordance with market requirements, volumes and technical needs.--Many key stakeholders can be considered, all players in the construction equation from design to construction companies, and to single building components companies.--Main measures are to show the benefits and advantages to both authorities and general public for the system green oriented production.
Reduced use of non renewable resources compared to conventional systems. Elimination of wastes, their disposal and need of landfills, the better urban and territorial landscape generated by an additive type of assembly only construction industry.
Once accepted the system other specific benefits, high quality materials at lower costs and reduced construction time will increase its acceptability.--An international patent is ready to be filed in a major European country together with the requirements of the regulation agencies for construction materials, including all certifications.--Patent search resulted in no similar product. While materials utilized are in production and available. --A U.S. patent has been initiated and currently is pending as a result of the start-up phase. This will allow us to work at ease for Phase 2 that will be followed by several other patents related to the system as it is being further developed.
This phase will be immediately followed by registering and homologation at international levels as soon as possible. During this phase all needed certifications will be applied for in accordance with the territorial business plan.
The final goal is a construction system that will include not only building components but major equipment and furniture of the housing such as bathrooms, kitchens, closets, containers, HVAC and water heating units.
Separate provisions will be considered for water and waste recycling, including rain storage and utilization, vertical hydroponics farming,
ndependent power generating and storage systems, and other technological advances to transform our houses to mini-facilities that will contribute to the green economy.
--Regulatory and mandatory issues and certifications, being required by the construction industry, must be obtained for the final utilization of the product.
Structural, acoustics, wind force, earthquake and insulation tests must be implemented to get total and final approval from testing organizations in single countries with similar requirements but different procedures, starting from a single one as a pilot for others.
We plan to perform such tests with prototypes components during Phase 2 of this contract in order to be in the market by the end of such contract.
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