En la industria de la construcción, Ibon Iribar de Cemex Ventures ofrece su perspectiva sobre el uso de la impresión 3D.

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Charles R. Goulding and Andressa Bonafe sit down with Ibon Iribar to discuss the advancements and applications of 3D printing in the construction industry at Cemex. Intrigued by the current landscape of 3D printing in construction, we had the opportunity to speak with Ibon Iribar, Investment and Open Innovation Advisor at Cemex Ventures. Cemex is a global construction materials company committed to creating a better future through sustainable products and solutions. With a revenue of $15.6 billion, this Mexican multinational offers cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and urbanization solutions in growing markets worldwide, driven by a workforce of over 43,000 employees. Having worked at Cemex Ventures for nearly 6 years, Ibon deeply explores and analyzes advanced technologies for the construction industry and helps identify investment and business development opportunities with startups, corporations, and organizations in the construction technology ecosystem across multiple markets. Ibon leads the efforts of Cemex Ventures’ biggest challenge in the construction industry, the Construction Startup Competition. He continuously seeks out the most innovative and promising solutions to invest in or collaborate with, supporting the development and growth of startups within the built environment. Ibon has been working with 3D printing for construction since 2017. He has been responsible for analyzing everything related to additive manufacturing, understanding all the technological options, how they work, and how different stakeholders behave within this ecosystem. This entails having an overall understanding from both a business perspective and the perspective of investors, general contractors, and consumers. He also worked on the analysis and due diligence related to Cemex Ventures’ first collaboration and investment in 3D printing. In mid-2022, the corporate venture capital and open innovation unit announced an expanded partnership with COBOD, a global leader in 3D printers for construction. Thanks to the efforts of Cemex’s corporate venture capital, their Global Research and Development department was able to work closely with COBOD in developing a patented family of additives called D.fab, which allows conventional concrete to be efficiently adapted for construction through 3D printing. In addition to additive manufacturing, Ibon has worked on material optimization issues, including construction waste management, demolition, and excavation. With such a comprehensive perspective on the construction industry, what, in your opinion, are the most promising areas for 3D printing and the biggest challenges for more widespread adoption of this technology? We see a lot of potential for 3D printing in housing applications, which is not limited to what we understand as pure construction, such as structural elements and walls. We also see potential in printing prefabricated elements or facade elements, which can be printed off-site. While there are opportunities in infrastructure elements, urban furniture, etc., we believe the biggest market is in the housing sector. As for challenges, I believe the biggest and most urgent one is the adoption and implementation of friendly standards. Currently, the United Arab Emirates is the only country that has set a fixed percentage of buildings to be constructed using 3D printing by 2030. Another interesting geography from a regulatory standpoint is the Netherlands, where not only houses but also some iconic structural prototypes have been developed. We have seen many companies claiming to have printed the first house, the first single-story building, the first two-story building, or the first school, etc. However, what we haven’t seen, or what hasn’t been communicated yet, is that people are already living in these buildings. We haven’t seen the next step after the first claim. I believe this is due to the lack of solid legislation or regulation in many countries. In the US, for example, each state has its own building codes and regulations, but as far as I know, a national standard for 3D printed construction does not exist yet.

A Different Take on 3D Printed Construction: Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Sustainability

The world of construction is evolving rapidly, and one technology that is making waves is 3D printed construction. This innovative approach has the potential to revolutionize the industry, but it is not without its challenges. In this blog post, we will explore the hurdles that need to be overcome and highlight the importance of sustainability in this exciting field.

One of the first challenges we face is the lack of a common or standard building code for 3D printed structures. Unlike traditional construction methods, there are no established guidelines in place for 3D printed buildings. This creates uncertainty and can make it difficult for companies and consumers to fully embrace this technology. Without a set of regulations to follow, it is hard to ensure that the structures being built are safe and up to standards.

Another obstacle that must be addressed is the mindset of consumers. Many people still view 3D printed construction as a mass-produced solution that lacks aesthetic appeal. To truly succeed, we need to change this perception and show consumers the potential of this technology. With advancements in design and materials, 3D printed structures can be just as visually appealing as traditional buildings. Educating consumers about the benefits and possibilities could help overcome this challenge.

The third challenge we face is the need for more efficient and sustainable materials and mixtures. Currently, there is a deficiency in the availability of such materials. However, there are options to explore, such as utilizing waste glass or fibers from other industries like tires. Startups are already experimenting with new materials, but their economic viability is still a hurdle. The materials need to be both efficient and economically viable for widespread adoption. One company leading the way in materials development is Cemex, and we would love to hear more about their process.

Cemex has been working on developing materials for 3D printing through their partnership with COBOD. They recognized the challenges faced by the industry in coordinating various aspects of a 3D printing project. COBOD’s expertise in machine manufacturing was coupled with Cemex’s focus on material optimization, resulting in the successful launch of D.fab in late 2021. The material has already been used in projects in Angola, Oman, and expanding to other geographies. This collaboration showcases the potential of 3D printing and how it can enhance traditional construction methods.

When it comes to addressing the issue of affordable housing in Mexico, Cemex understands the importance of utilizing 3D printing technology. However, the challenge lies in changing the perception of potential buyers. Many people are hesitant to embrace 3D printed homes due to concerns about aesthetics and reliability. By combining 3D printing with traditional techniques, we can create more promising options in the affordable housing market. It’s about finding the right balance and showing consumers the potential of this technology.

The commitment to sustainability is also a driving force behind Cemex’s interest in 3D printing. As part of their sustainability goals, they have been working on reducing their carbon footprint through decarbonization initiatives and waste management. Introducing waste components into the mixtures for 3D printing is a potential next step, aligning with Cemex’s existing Regenera line of products based on waste materials. Some markets have already embraced this type of material, making it a promising avenue to explore for a more circular and sustainable approach.

In conclusion, 3D printed construction has the potential to transform the industry, but there are challenges to overcome. From establishing building codes to changing consumer perceptions, these hurdles can be addressed with innovation, collaboration, and sustainable practices. Companies like Cemex are leading the way in materials development and embracing the possibilities of 3D printing. By leveraging this technology and focusing on sustainability, the construction industry can create a more efficient, affordable, and environmentally friendly future.

Cuando hablamos de reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero, muchas veces pensamos en cambiar nuestros hábitos de transporte, consumir menos energía o implementar energías renovables. Sin embargo, existe otra tecnología que puede ayudar significativamente en este sentido: la impresión 3D.

La industria de la construcción, uno de los sectores más contaminantes, puede beneficiarse enormemente de esta tecnología. La impresión 3D no solo puede reducir el uso de maquinaria que consume combustibles fósiles, sino también disminuir los esfuerzos necesarios para mover los materiales desde la fábrica hasta el lugar de trabajo. Esto tiene un impacto positivo tanto en la huella de carbono a corto plazo como a largo plazo.

Recientemente, tuvimos la oportunidad de conversar con Ibon, representante de una de las compañías más importantes de la industria de la construcción a nivel mundial, Cemex. Él nos dio una perspectiva interesante sobre cómo su empresa se ha involucrado con la impresión 3D y los beneficios que esto trae consigo.

La experiencia única de Cemex en el campo de la impresión 3D ha ayudado a iluminar las oportunidades y los desafíos que existen en la adopción más generalizada de la fabricación aditiva en la construcción. Esta tecnología puede revolucionar no solo la forma en que se construyen los edificios, sino también la forma en que se reduce su impacto en el medio ambiente.

La impresión 3D ofrece numerosas ventajas en términos de sostenibilidad. Por un lado, permite la fabricación de estructuras más livianas, lo que implica una reducción en la cantidad de materiales necesarios para construir un edificio. Esto a su vez disminuye la energía necesaria para transportar estos materiales y reduce la emisión de gases de efecto invernadero asociada a ello.

Además, la impresión 3D permite una mayor flexibilidad en el diseño y construcción de edificios, lo que se traduce en una mejor eficiencia energética. Las estructuras pueden ser diseñadas de manera más precisa, optimizando su orientación y maximizando el aprovechamiento de la luz solar y la ventilación natural. Esto significa menos necesidad de calefacción, refrigeración y iluminación artificial, lo que se traduce en un menor consumo de energía y una reducción en las emisiones.

Sin embargo, a pesar de todas estas ventajas, aún existen desafíos en la adopción más generalizada de la impresión 3D en la construcción. Uno de los principales obstáculos es el costo inicial de la tecnología y la falta de experiencia en su implementación. Además, es necesario establecer regulaciones y estándares claros para garantizar la seguridad y calidad de las estructuras impresas en 3D.

En conclusión, la impresión 3D puede ser una herramienta poderosa para reducir las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero en la industria de la construcción. La experiencia de Cemex en esta tecnología ha demostrado los beneficios que puede traer consigo, tanto desde la perspectiva de la sostenibilidad como desde la eficiencia energética. Sin embargo, aún queda mucho trabajo por hacer para superar los desafíos y lograr una adopción más generalizada.

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