The basics of the construction industry have been pretty much the same for decades. Materials and building methods have held fairly steady with wood and steel being the major players. But, advances in technology and market awareness of unique qualities are driving the construction materials and materials innovations.
Advances in 3D printing and materials are adding another layer to the industry’s portfolio. 3D printing is a manufacturing technique that ‘prints’ by laying material down to build an object. Also known as additive manufacturing, this process is being used in many industries to build small parts but printers are being developed that can print very large parts using different materials such as concrete.
New house-building printers have capabilities to build 1,000 square feet a day. Some, like the WASP system, use local materials such as clay and dirt and are designed for use in disaster or developing areas. The Apis-Corbuilds from the inside out and doesn’t need any railing system to move on. The ideas for 3D printing of buildings has been in the works for years and although they are performing better, the reality of widespread commercial use of these types of innovations are still in the future.
The future is now, though, for innovative materials that meet building codes and standards as well as environmental and safety concerns. One such product, cross-laminated timber (CLT), is an engineered wood product that offers the strength of heavy timber but has fire resistant properties, is renewable and sustainable, and reduces a building’s carbon footprint. Bamboo is also a material that could one day be used in place of reinforced steel because of its tensile strength.
Fostering new ideas and encouraging innovation is what drives most industries to evolve. The new products being developed for the construction industry will help meet changing standards. No matter what new ideas come along, Hunter Lift will be ready with the custom material handling equipment the industry requires.