This year World of Concrete hosted many familiar 3DCP faces and some new teams too! I got interviews with RIC, Sika, Spacecrete, Geopolymer International, Cobod, Arc3D, Renca, Quickcrete, Ventures Equipment, and Mapei! I’ll try to give a little overview of what each had to share from the event. You can watch the interviews at the bottom of the article.
RIC was the highlight of the show with 2 printers on display and one in action. The robotic arm is on a mobile lift which gives it a tremendous Z-axis (height) reach capability. They demonstrated printing quickcrete material at the event live. This is always a challenging feat, the law of engineering says that once you have an audience things will inevitably fail, despite this RIC managed to succeed both printing attempts on day 2 and 3 of the show.
Sika was also printing on a 3D Potter machine, you may recall when I visited their HQ/ Manufacturing facility last month. They were primarily demonstrating their unique material which can be deposited back in the hopper after being printed within a 15ish minute time frame.
Spacecrete had a unique material solution, an admixture that when combined with concrete drastically increases it’s buildability. The CEO gave a demonstration mixing it live at his booth. They also had multiple iterations of concrete printing extruders.
Geopolymer International brought their mixer pump to the show along with a huge variety of objects which are made with materials including the silica based geopolymer they love to use. This includes ceramics, hemp, asphalt, foam-crete, and rubbery materials.
Cobod did not bring their printer this year but they did have an educational seminar which they allowed me to sit through. I missed the first half but the parts I saw were quite a good overview of the technology including some common pitfalls typical in any construction site like covering materials with a tarp if they are stored in a pile under a tree. Some of these things seem obvious to experts but many people in the 3DCP industry come from fields other than construction so educating these clients becomes a partial responsibility of the printer manufacturer.
ARC 3D is a new company on the scene of 3DCP, they brought a small scale model of what their truck mounted printer would look like on a job site. They also had some footage from the testing of their own extruder head. I am eager to see what their product looks like when it comes to fruition as they are taking a unique approach. They mentioned that their clients will not be restricted to a particular material and they are working on being able to work with local materials.
Renca works closely with Geopolymer International and is a supplier of the geopolymer material for them. Geopolymer International will be starting a house project soon using a red version of the Renca material.
Quickcrete was in attendance and I got a quick interview with them, you may recall their material was used at the Houston 3D printed house project. Their material was also used at the RIC exhibit this year. They are very excited about the 3D printed construction industry.
Ventures Equipment had a couple new systems for 3DCP a batch mixer with a scale for measuring your concrete ingredients. This will be a critical step for ultimately automating the mixing system. In the past Ventures Equipment did a sponsorship deal with my channel but that has since ended many months ago. I agreed to the sponsorship deal in the first place because they showed dedication to developing 3DCP mixing tech and that is still the case. This year their 3DCP offering is better than last year and I expect next years will improve too.
Maipei is the company Black Buffalo works with for their 3D printed mortar that was used on the recent Alquist project for Habitat in Virginia. This year they successfully achieved AC509 certification which was a very lengthy and expensive process. Now they are ready to hit the market with their certified material. They claim it is the first AC 509 certified material on the market and I believe that to be the case, other companies which have achieved this certification have yet to sell their material on the open market.
There were a few more groups we’ve seen on my youtube channel that I met at the event and didn’t get the chance to film including R-Squared, Black Buffalo, Citizen Robotics & Matthew Carli. I also saw Homes Now & Heidelberg who I hope to feature on the channel in the near future. WOC 2023 was a great event and hopefully there will be even more automation there next year!
Shoutout to the Automation Nation member I met at the event! As the community supporting my independent journalism with $10/month grows, I will be able to provide even better coverage of this ever rapidly developing industry of construction automation. Consider signing up at https://automate.construction/nation and get access to my private list of 101 construction 3D printer manufacturers along with a map of which country they are from and virtual 360 tours of 3D printed houses around the world.