Company Touts 3D-Printed Facade Technology


Officials involved with a new branch opening for the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, in Chattanooga, are celebrating what they call the world’s first 3D-printed facade that uses a patented cellular fabrication process (C-Fab) from Branch Technology.

The 20th branch of the $1.9 billion company features the technology that was pushed by President and CEO Todd Fortner, who says he began thinking about incorporating 3D printing in their business several years ago.

The Building

The design itself took more than a year of planning and collaboration from not only Branch Technology and Construction Consultants, but also BACE Structural and River Street Architects.

With the design created, they began 3D printing the structure using C-Fab, which is a printing method that allows material to solidify in open space, creating a matrix of polymer in virtually any shape, according to the companies.

“The undulating facade is patterned to identify entrances and expand around the building's curvature, serving as wayfinding for visitors,” said John McCabe, advanced concepts team and director of communications at Branch Technology.

“Varying degrees of curvature in the sinuous facade pattern nod to TVFCU's recognizable wave logo. This project is a staple of design freedom offering a one-of-a-kind product outside the literal box of repetitive, conventional construction and facade manufacturing.”

Because of the freeform technique, officials say that the structure is made with 20-times less material that traditional layered-deposition techniques, which also maximize structural capacity.

Recent 3D-Printed Building News

Last month, a provider of large-scale 3D printers for construction sites, Black Buffalo 3D, announced that it is working with the International Code Council Evaluation Service to revise its ICC-ES AC509 criteria.

The changes would “enhance the acceptance criteria for 3D automated construction technology for 3D-printed concrete walls from a single-story building construction to multi-story building construction,” according to the company.

The company’s intent is to become the first 3D construction printing company to meet ICC-ES AC509.

“We want to build trust and prove the safety of our technology in a way that no other 3D Construction printing company has done before,” said Jenn Christman, PE, 3D Product Specialist. “Black Buffalo 3D was created to increase acceptance of 3D printing in the construction industry, revolutionize traditional building techniques and truly showcase the potential of large-scale 3D printing.”

The ICC-ES is part of the ICC family and is a nonprofit, limited liability company that provides evaluations of building products, components, methods and materials. Its reports provide evidence that products or systems meet codes and standards.

The goal is for ICC-ES to bring legitimacy to code compliance claims for 3D printing and to help developers ensure regulations are met. The development of acceptance criteria is ongoing.

And, at the beginning of this year, New York-based construction technology company SQ4D Inc. listed for sale a 3D-printed home that it says is the first slated to receive a certification of occupancy in the U.S.

The residential property, which was printed onsite with the company’s Autonomous Robotic Construction System, is listed on MLS for sale as new construction for $299,999, in Riverhead, New York.

The 1,400-square-foot home (plus 750-square-foot garage) offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms and features an open floor plan. The building material listed reads as insulated concrete forms and SQ4D notes that the home includes the same 50-year warranty that the company puts on all of its 3D-printed structures.

The ARCS technology reportedly built the footings and foundations as well as the interior and exterior walls and the company notes that it’s a step in its mission to help aid the affordable housing crisis.

“At $299,999, this home is priced 50% below the cost of comparable newly constructed homes in Riverhead, New York, and represents a major step towards addressing the affordable housing crisis plaguing long island,” added realtor Stephen King, the agent who has the Zillow listing.

The company reportedly has other plans being reviewed elsewhere in New York as well as California.


Tagged categories: 3D printing; 3D Printing; Building envelope; Building Envelope; Cladding; NA; North America

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