His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has officially launched the ‘Dubai 3D Printing Strategy’ which will see 25 per cent of all buildings in Dubai 3D printed by 2030, establishing Dubai as a leading hub of 3D printing technology.
“The UAE is presenting to the world today the first integrated and comprehensive strategy to exploit the 3D technology to serve humanity. We have also framed practical plans and precise goals to turn the strategy into reality – the reality that will contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and help preserve our human heritage,” Shaikh Mohammed said. “The future will depend on 3D printing technologies in all aspects of our life, starting from houses we live in, the streets we use, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the food we eat.”
According to the plan, the use of 3D printing in Dubai’s construction sector will increase by 2 per cent, starting 2019 up to 25 per cent by 2030. By 2025, the value of 3D printing technology-based construction in Dubai is expected to be Dh3 billion, while 3D printed medical services will account for Dh1.7 billion and 3D printed consumer goods for Dh2.8 billion – a total of Dh7.5 billion in the same time frame. The global market for 3D printing is expected to be $300 billion by the same year.
“We will raise this percentage with the development of global technology as well as growth of market demand. We believe that this technology is capable of transforming the construction sector by lowering costs and reducing the time it takes to implement projects,” Shaikh Mohammed noted. “It will also help reduce manpower requirements as well as waste generated from construction which can be harmful to the environment. We will also focus on utilising this technology in other vital sectors such as medicine and consumer products to offer goods and services at competitive prices.
“This technology will create added economic value and benefits worth billions of dollars during the coming period. We should have a share in this growing global market. This technology will restructure economies and labour markets as the use of unskilled labourers will come down compared to the current situation, especially in construction sector,” he added. “It will also redefine productivity because the time needed for 3D printing of buildings and products will be 10 per cent of the time taken in traditional techniques.”
Shaikh Mohammed also said that the project aims to do nothing less than making Dubai one of the world’s foremost centres of 3D printing technology.
“Through the 3D Printing Strategy, we aim to make Dubai a global hub for the development of this technology and a base for research and development in this area. We aim to provide the best opportunities for innovation and optimal application of this technology worldwide. Our goal is to raise the level of services provided to the people and harness 3D printing for the benefit of the entire community,” he said. “The future does not wait for those who hesitate and slow down. The next stage requires us to act fast and utilise the opportunities. Few days ago we launched the Dubai Future Agenda and we have started to implement it through a number of initiatives and strategies which add value to humanity and our national economy.”
Story2 Dubai 3D printing strategy, explained
The Dubai 3D printing strategy will focus on three important sectors: construction, medical products and consumer products.
The construction and building sector will focus on lighting products, bases and foundations, construction joints, facilities and parks, humanitarian buildings and mobile homes, in addition to residential villas, commercial outlets and galleries.
In the medical product sector, the focus will be on 3D printed artificial organs, teeth and bones, as well as medical and surgical devices and hearing aids.
Lastly, the consumer products sector will focus on items ranging from fast food, household items, fashion, jewellery and accessories and children’s games.
The strategy has five pillars: Infrastructure, legislative structure, funding, talent and market demand.
The infrastructure pillar is designed to provide support to research and development in order to attract the important companies in the 3D printing field, as well as providing the necessary infrastructure to help Dubai achieve it’s goals.
With the talent pillar, the strategy will build local capabilities in terms of local research and design talent and attract the world’s most innovative minds in the 3D printing field.
The legislative structure pillar will focus on the creation of a regulatory framework to govern the use of 3D printing technology within various sectors, as well as determine the specifications of the materials that will be used in the printing process.
The funding pillar provide financing alternatives as well as investment support to develop this technology and expand its scope.
The fifth and final pillar, the market demand pillar, will promote the application of 3D printing technology within various sectors to bring prices of products to competitive levels while maintaining a high-standard of quality.
Dubai entities come together to add the extra dimension
A host of government entities will play a part in implementing the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, including the Dubai Municipality, Dubai Health Authority, and Dubai Holding. Additionally, the Dubai Future Foundation will play a major role in organising the collective effort and putting them within set frameworks to achieve the strategy.
A vital role will be played by the Dubai Municipality, which will use existing technologies locally and work to attract leading global companies in the 3D printing field, and analyse the best ways with which to transform traditional building methods to 3D printing.
To achieve these strategic targets, the Dubai Municipality will launch and organise a number of projects and initiatives across for main stages. In the first stage – the implementation stage – a comprehensive study of the 3D printing sector will be carried out, particularly with regards to building construction. This will contribute to the organisation of the registration process, as well as legislation, implementation and follow-up monitoring and modification.
In the second phase – the qualification phase – projects will be organised to put 3D codes for printing materials, systems and specifications, hardware and technical standards of sustainability and project maintenance. Additionally, this phase will see the adoption of registration and classification process and take steps to educate engineers as well as local and international companies. Labs will also be prepared to test and measure material, and cadres and electronic systems for operations and inspection will be prepared.
In the implementation phase – which will begin with the launch of the first pilot project with Dubai Holding – developers will be inspired to work on prototype projects, while the private sector and consultants will be encouraged to adopt printing processes through a combination of direct impact incentives.
Finally, the development phase will include several measures and performance indicators to cover all the previous stages and develop them, as well as draft work agreements with important developers.
The Dubai Health Authority, for its part, will work to create the appropriate environment and adopting standards through which to apply 3D printing technology in the healthcare sector and promote Dubai’s position as a global centre for 3D printed medial products, as well as build partnerships with key players in the world of 3D printing.
Lastly, Dubai Holding will implement the 3D printing strategy by launching innovative laboratories, as well as establish a special centre for 3D printing, organise workshops and training courses, and establish a special fund to support pilot projects in a number of sectors.
What is 3D printing and how is it used?
By Bernd Debusmann Jr.
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is essentially laying down layer upon layer of material until an object is created.
Currently, the 3D printing process begins with a design in a computerised 3D modelling program, or through a 3D scanner that can make a digital copy of an item.
Once the design is complete, the 3D printer begins laying down materials, which can range from plastics and metals to sandstone and porcelain, until the design is complete.
3D printing is already being used to create a wide variety of items, ranging from sophisticated lightweight aircraft components to titanium jaws and pelvises, pieces of art, or complex and intricate architectural models that otherwise would be made by hand.
Additionally, 3D printed buildings are already a reality.
According to experts, the use of 3D printing technology has the potential to reduce the construction time of buildings by 50 to 70 per cent, reduce labour costs by 50 to 80 per cent, and can cut down on the amount of construction waste by 30 to 60 per cent, which means increased sustainability and economic return on the initial investment.
In July 2015, Dubai officials announced that the emirate will be home to the world’s first fully 3D-printed office building. The structural components, interior furniture and all the detailing will be constructed layer by layer using a massive 20-foot tall 3D printer.
The finished parts will then be assembled in Dubai over the course of several weeks.
In other parts of the world, 3D buildings have already been built for residential purposes. In China, design engineering company WinSun successfully printed 10 full-sized single story houses in 2014, each costing less than $5,000.
Additionally, the company has successfully built a three-story, 11,840 square-foot mansion for a total cost of $161,000, as well as a five-story apartment block.