Of all the new technologies making their way into the construction industry, 3D printing appears to have the greatest potential for making profound changes in the way buildings and other structures are designed and built. Large-scale 3D printing equipment has already been shown to be effective at creating walls, bridges, modules, and even entire buildings. Now the next step for 3D printing in the construction industry appears to be using the technology to create vehicles and construction equipment.
A fully functional excavator, created entirely through 3D printing with steel, is set to be displayed at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada in March, 2017.
The CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show will also feature a demonstration of 3D printing technology during which a second excavator will be created on the showroom floor, noted reporter Scott J, Grunewald, writing on the website 3Dprint.com.
3D printing provides a quick, relatively inexpensive technique for designing and prototyping small-scale objects. The technology has been used successfully in medical and veterinary applications for creating prosthetic limbs or new hip and knee joints. However, this is the first time a working piece of large-scale construction equipment has been created using the process.
The Best Has Yet to Come
“There have been all sorts of wonderful predictions for 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, but for the construction industry the best has yet to come,” stated industry observer and commentator Korky Koroluk in a May 27, 2016 article in the Daily Commercial News.
The printing and demonstrating of the excavator is a joint effort featuring a collaboration between the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), noted a writer on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 website.
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