ACCIONA, a Spanish conglomerate group dedicated to infrastructural management, has inaugurated a new global 3D printing center in Dubai. Established to meet the growing demand for 3D printed infrastructure, the center reportedly features the world’s largest operational powder bed 3D printer. Using concrete, the system is suited towards architectural, urban and building applications in the construction sector.
ACCIONA selected Dubai as the location for its 3D printing center in order to support the UAE’s commitment to implementing the technology within the construction sector. This includes Dubai’s vision for 2025, where 25 percent of new buildings’ components are to be manufactured with 3D printing over the next 6 years.
3D printing at ACCIONA
With a history stretching as far back as 1861, today ACCIONA’s operations are spread across two main business lines: energy and infrastructure, with the latter covering construction, water treatment and power generation. It aims to offer sustainable solutions for taking on prominent global challenges. The company’s services therefore tackle the whole value chain, from design and construction to operation and maintenance.
ACCIONA has demonstrated continued investment and interest in large-scale concrete 3D printing. The technology offers a sustainable method of producing complex concrete building elements with total freedom of form, while also using less energy and resources. This reduces the amount of waste generated in manufacturing, in line with the company’s goals.
ACCIONA recently collaborated with Spain’s National Archaeological Museum (MAN) to 3D print a 2.2 m tall archway for the museum’s garden. The structure is a replica of the San Pedro de las Dueñas Arch, and was constructed to demonstrate the potential of emerging technologies and their role in historic preservation. The company also helped to install Spain’s first 3D printed bridge in 2016, partnering with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC). It was placed in a park in Alcobendas, south of Madrid, and arcs above water without a central support column.
3D printing construction center
ACCIONA’s new Dubai center contains a 3D printer 6x3x2 meters in size. It will be used to help increase the company’s 3D printing output by constructing highly resistant structural parts with greater efficiency and automation. The company already has an office in Dubai that it opened in 2008, which has become the center point for ACCIONA’s operations throughout the Gulf region and other Arab countries.
With the new 3D printing center, ACCIONA will now contribute towards the “Dubai 3D Printing Strategy”, which aims to make the city a world-class 3D printing hub in order to help cut costs in many sectors, especially medical and construction. Dubai’s Vision 2025 is included within the strategic development plan, among other initiatives.
Various institutions have worked towards implementing Dubai’s plan with the introduction of advanced additive manufacturing facilities within the city. For example, Concreative, a concrete additive manufacturing start-up from European construction company Freyssinet, established its first 3D printing facility in Dubai in June 2019. The American University in Dubai (AUD) also announced the establishment of a scientific research center for 3D printing concrete buildings in April this year.
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Featured image shows ACCIONA’s 3D printing center. Photo via ACCIONA.