Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a term for production methods in which material in liquid or solid form (e.g. as powder) is usined in a printer which shapes the material according to a digital 3D model. AM has already created revolutions in the fashion, food and medical sectors, and now SINTEF is exploring how it can also revolutionize the way we build.
AM technologies make it possible to build structures in inaccessible environments (e.g. on the moon), and contruct buildings with special architectures such as irregular shapes and complex connections. But AM has, first and foremost, a fantastic potential for creating better housing for most people. AM makes it possible to tailor buildings to local climates, and to the users' wishes and needs, at no extra cost.
In order to exploit the possibilities of AM, one has to rethink the entire process - from planning and design to construction and use. Processes, workflows, business models, value chains and markets need to be developed. Groundbreaking technologies such as AM and robotization will require new expertise from the authorities and the builders, and from all involved in the design team, in the factories and on the construction site.
SINTEF, NTNU and other R&D institutions collaborate with construction companies to develop the high-tech construction processes of the future - for more competitiveness, efficiency, quality and adaptation to customer needs and local conditions.