Many companies in the construction industry set to make great impact using this new technology- 3D printers for building homes. WOHN homes has a different dimension to this technology. Could we say this dimension is a new breakthrough for the 3D printing industry? The CEO of WOHN homes, Morten Bove fell in love with the technology behind 3D printed houses but not the concrete materials used. He mentioned in a recent episode of The Automate Construction Podcast (linked at the bottom) that the real motive of joining the construction industry was to solve the problem of social inequalities by building affordable homes; he also did not fail to mention that he had come a long way in other industries before coming into the construction industry.
WOHN Home deals with an alternative material, which is a special formula between waste plastics and wood fiber. A lot of testing was done before this formula was birthed. During the testing process, many waste plastics were used as a replacement for concrete but the structures always collapsed. The company’s ultimate motivation gave them the zeal to pursue the quest of finding an alternative material for 3D printing of affordable homes and, because of the large amount of waste plastics generated a year, they were certain that something had to come out of it. They thought of how these waste plastics could be reinforced without the use of concrete; as they needed a material that would leave little or no carbon footprints since they saw the huge carbon footprints left when producing cement. This is one of the main issues with every traditional construction process, and the use of concrete during 3D printing does not solve this problem. That’s when the company had an idea to add wood fiber- sawdust as reinforcement, which made the material a whole lot stronger and better, and a lot of successful testing have been done using this new special formula. This innovation can cause a paradigm shift in the way homes are built and constructed.
3D Printers and the Special Formula.
WOHN homes is to be sold anywhere in the world; the company prints everything in the factory and doesn’t need to print on site. After many tests and operations carried out, the company redesigned the extruder they work with, and now use a robotic arm due to the thickness of the material been used. The robotic arms increases the stability of the rig and reduces vibration when compared to the gantry. WOHN Homes revealed that they will officially start commercialization by the end of summer 2023. One of the main dealers will be developers, who build homes in volumes in order for the company to make larger impact to the society. The company is certain that their decision to sell mostly to developers wouldn’t delay sales because they check off the boxes of sustainability, affordability and waste.
WOHN Homes The Future.
A WOHN home has a lifecycle of 50 to 60 years, after which the house can be recycled by adding fresher waste; depending on the number of recycling the plastics used for the buildings have undergone. The company has a method put in place for evaluating and testing the homes eligible for recycling using this criterion. The element of recycling a home gradually kicks out the culture in the society of ‘use it once and throw it away’. In using polymers and wood fiber as an alternate material for 3D printing constructions, nothing really goes to waste- the plastics that cannot be used due to number of times it has been recycled (which ideally is 7 times) can be used for landfill and burnt for fuel by other companies. A waste product of wood called wood wool is turned into pulp, fluffed up and blown into channels known as cores, is used as insulation; which also reduces the use of fossil fuel to make rock wall types of products that are considered as heavy carbon contributors in the world. WOHN digs into the escalating urbanization with 200,000 people moving to cities and urban surroundings every day. A trend so transformative to our present way of living, that it requires equally transformative concepts and thinking to handle it.