- Denmark-based 3-D printing company Printhuset successfully completed Europe's first 3-D printed building, according to 3D Printing Industry.
- Dubbed the Building on Demand (BOD), the structure's walls took only 50 hours to print on-site in Copenhagen.
- Project teams are still putting finishing touches on the project, which will house office and hotel space.
Europe's BOD comes only a month after a Netherlands-based university successfully completed the world's first 3-D printed concrete bridge. The 26-foot-long structure was printed over a three-month process, producing its approximately 800 layers of reinforced, pre-stressed concrete. The bridge — and likely other 3-D printed structures that follow it — is touted for its sustainability, requiring less concrete than its traditionally built counterparts.
Though still an emerging method in the construction industry, observers are watching the development of 3-D printing technology closely. In March, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers unveiled the world's first fully functional 3-D printed excavator. While the machine wasn't entirely produced via printer, its manufacturing marks a significant milestone in bringing 3-D printing's application closer to the mainstream market. China and Dubai also have made strides in honing the new delivery method, with Chinese company WinSun printing and assembling ready-to-use bathrooms while Dubai delivered the world's first 3-D printed office building.
As 3-D printing reaches new levels of maturity, the technology could be a disruptor to traditional building practices. Necessitating fewer resources and people to manage them, the technology could be a boon for an industry plagued by skilled labor shortages.
Still, 3-D printing's move to the market will take time — and it will likely be segmented. Although research firm Gartner expects global sales of 3-D printers to reach $14.6 billion by 2019, a separate report notes that the market likely will be focused on 3-D printed concrete. According to Research and Markets, the 3-D printed concrete market is set to grow to $56.4 million by 2021. Researchers note that, as global construction needs increase, concrete will represent the strongest opportunity for 3-D printing's adoption.