3D printing is new swag in the town. People are looking towards with lots of hope. Almost all industrial sectors are smitten by it. So “Why construction be left far behind?”
Low cost 3D printed buildings would be useful in developing countries. Since it is uses resources optimally and has negligible labor demand the cost of building such houses would be very low. The insignificant human factor involved would ensure higher efficiency of construction project. Higher the mechanization higher would be the pace of construction. Such features of 3D printing would provide huge improvement in infrastructure projects of slums where people still live in huts made of tin asbestos wood etc.
3D printing has immense potential in both developed and developing countries.
In developed countries facing shortage of human labor 3D printing technology would be huge relief. Higher mechanization means lower dependence on human labor.
In developing countries fast pace of construction would provide 3D printing edge over conventional construction methods.
Pull factor for 3D printing in construction
According to a research study conducted by Hendrickson (1998) “only 40% of a worker time is considered to be productive with 55% unproductive time and about 5% personal time.” Such higher inefficiency
According to another research study by Teicholtz (2004) “the construction industry suffers from structural productivity problems that will not be rapidly cured. The slow erosion of labor productivity, the aging of the construction work force, the slow rate of change in field practice and the current lack of student preference for civil engineering education are serious indication that new approaches are need to revitalize and bring fresh ideas into the industry.”
With the much improved standard of living and need of better infrastructure the construction industry is becoming more complicated. Clients are expecting early commissioning of project in shorter period of time. The increased competition and lower labor efficiency has sucked most of the profit margin while enhancing the risk involved in the project.
Another pull factor other than inefficiency is safety. Construction is one of the most dangerous industry in terms of health and safety. Most of the big construction company has support department of Environment Health and Safety (EHS). Higher degree of mechanization means lower no of accident.
Current situation of 3D printing in India
India is having world’s third largest construction industry after China and USA. With abundant labor at lower cost would discourage companies to introduce 3D printing technology in construction industry. The large construction companies like L&T and HCC mostly outsource the engineering part of the projects. Expecting 3D printing technology introduction by them is asking too much. At this point of time it seems that this technology can be introduced only through technology partnership with foreign companies.