A robot applies a layer of concrete to a 3D-printed wall.

3D Concrete Printing

Design Freedom, Construction Efficiency, and Sustainable Performance

3D printing in construction is an upcoming new way of building that through robotic automation allows for the reduction of material usage, the reduction of waste, the increase of process efficiency and safety, while ensuring enhanced design freedom.

3D printing is part of Heidelberg Materials’ sustainability strategy to create innovative products and processes to reduce and reuse materials and build a more sustainable future. Further, our 3D printing products are fully recyclable.

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3D printing in construction

How does 3D concrete printing work and what is it used for? 

3D printing is a methodology that requires the sequential layering of material, starting from a digital model, in order to create tridimensional shapes. The specific advantage is that it allows the direct transfer from a 3D digital model to the final building without intermediate steps of 2D drawings/plans (Design to Print – DTP). In construction, the 3D printing technology is mainly used to build:

  • Multi-floor buildings
  • Structural components or other pre-fabricated elements (e.g. foundation pads, walls, connections, utility service cabins, tiny houses, bus stops, flood protection barriers, etc.) 
  • Urban furniture or other decorative objects (benches, vases, decorative panels, etc.)

3D printed house in Beckum, Germany

The benefits to you

  • Cement content in our products is very low
  • Our 3D printing products are 100% recyclable, like concrete
  • Our formulations contain recycled materials and by-products, thereby reducing the use of virgin raw materials
  • 3D printing allows for reduction of material use (proven up to 75% depending on the design)
  • Traditional waste associated to traditional concrete construction are eliminated through 3D printing (no-formwork, no process waste, automation ensures accurate application)
Quicker construction 
Watch with three lines representing fast movement

Simultaneous construction phases resulting in potential time saving of 60-70%

Versatile, reliable and strong
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Performance tailored to achieve strength of structural concrete, robust in different environments and available locally

Design freedom
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High degree of freedom in designing construction elements

Reduction of labor cost…

..., but increase in talent attractiveness; digital job sites highly attractive for younger generations

Improved safety
Safety helmet

Fewer tools needed on site, reduced noise and dust

Local support, global expertise

A global network of experts, available locally

The typical printing process 

1. Material Loading: Our material is loaded in the storage container (e.g. silos)

2. Mixing: Our product is mixed with water, in the horizontal chamber, for few seconds; the water content we recommend is reported on our technical data sheet;

3. Pumping: A progressing cavity pump typically pushes the material in the hose;

4. Transportation: A hose, typically 5-40 m long (diameter 25- 50 mm), transports the material to the printing head;

5. Printing: The structure is printed following a pre-defined printing path; the printer can also be controlled remotely; different types of printers can be used (e.g. robotic arms, gantry systems or cranes).
 

Our Products and Service

We produce and sell dry-mix mortars, that we developed specifically for 3D printing construction. We also provide trainings, technical support for projects, and guidance for printing.
 

Products

  i.tech 3D N/NF

i.tech 3D N4

Max Aggr Size

2 mm 4 mm
Workability time 20 min  T=5–30°C
Printing speed layer time Medium–Fast, 3–20 min
Compressive Strength 1d
Compressive Strength 28d
>10 MPa
>48 MPa
>10 MPa
>50 MPa
Colours Light Grey
Aesthetics ++++ +++
Embedded CO₂ Available for specific production site
Printer compatible All types

 

Service

Materials Expertise
  • Guidance for products selection
  • Support for certifications
  • Laboratory testing and materials trouble shooting
3D printing expertise
  • Guidance for mixing and printing during trials
  • Support on the construction site
Our Brand and our Network

Network of: 

  • 3D printing producers
  • Construction companies
  • Engineers/architects
  • Universities
 

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