French startup XtreeE is developing direct 3D printing for construction processes

Sep 21, 2016 | By Tess

With the benefits of 3D printing construction becoming increasingly apparent, a number of companies have dedicated themselves to developing the technology and making it a viable option for construction projects. Among these companies is France-based XtreeE, which since its founding in July 2015 has focused on the integration of digital technologies into architectural and construction practices through consulting, manufacturing, and new technologies.

On the technological front, XtreeE, is working on developing a functional 3D printed construction system, which includes raw 3D printing concrete materials, a robot capable of extruding the material and a specialized software program. To develop its 3D printing construction solution, XtreeE has been working closely with a number of partners, including building material manufacturer LafargeHolcim, multinational corporation ABB, and 3D software company Dassault Systèmes.

Xtree3’s president Philippe Morel credits his company’s potential to the interdisciplinary team working for him, which includes experts in the field of architecture, civil engineering, materials science, and robotics. Together, they are developing a 3D printing construction system that will not only allow for virtually limitless design opportunities, but that will help construction firms and companies to cut back on both construction time and material costs. These of course, are the three most significant benefits of additive manufacturing within the field of construction, along with a more sustainable approach to building.

In an interview earlier this year, Morel explained, “The advantage of this technology lies in the possibility to make previously unimaginable structures, with complex geometries and an accuracy within one millimetre…3D printing will revolutionize the construction industry by reducing very significantly the cost and time of implementation and by manufacturing custom structures for the same cost of standardized structures.”

XtreeE’s ultimate goal is to develop a “file to factory” process in which 3D designs can be sent directly to the factory where they will be 3D printed in a timely manner. Recently, the French startup completed a print of a 4 meter tall cement post, which will be installed in Aix-en-Provence to support an awning at a small tertiary. The post, which was made from a 3D printed formwork and then filled with Ductal, was only partially 3D printed, but the company is hoping to soon produce fully 3D printed structures as well through “direct 3D printing”.

Looking to the future, XtreeE is hoping to continue its development of 3D printed construction methods with the creation of large multi-scale materials, and is hoping to create France’s first 3D printed house. The company is also seeking to raise funds in order to take their technology abroad, specifically to Asia and Africa, where 3D printing could present an opportune method for creating much needed housing.

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Posted in 3D Printer Company

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