Additive construction company COBOD International is on a mission to build buildings around the world using automation, robotic construction and 3D printing. So far, the Danish company is doing quite well with this goal, as it has supplied the 3D printers for many of the major 3D printed buildings that have been announced over the past two years, including those in 14 Trees (the daughter company of Holcim), Printed Farms and PERI, which actually acquired a significant stake in COBOD in 2018. Today, the company has signed a distribution agreement with Siam Cement Group (SCG), which is both the oldest and largest cement manufacturer in Southeast Asia and Thailand. SCG will distribute COBOD’s construction 3D printers in the region and promote the technology there as well.
“We are very proud that Siam Cement has chosen to partner with us,” said Henrik Lund-Nielsen, Founder and Managing Director of COBOD International. “The fact that Siam Cement has now invested in a 3D printer from us and even wants to distribute our printers exclusively is a sign of great belief in the future potential of 3DCP technology – a positive trend we have seen among manufacturers of cement and concrete from all continents over the last 6 to 9 months.
SCG is one of the leading business conglomerates in the ASEAN region and has three main businesses: chemicals, cement building materials and packaging. With nearly 54,000 employees and $12 billion in revenue in 2020, it’s one of the largest public companies in the world by Forbes standards. In the past, SCG has fabricated prototypes, and supposedly buildings, using other 3D printers, but feels ready to take a bigger step in regional construction. That’s why he turned to COBOD, who have the expertise and equipment to help SCG take it to the next level in the construction market.
“3D construction printers have been widely used in many parts of the world with excellent results. The technology reduces waste and increases construction times through foolproof simulation with minimal workers,” explained Abhijit Datta, Managing Director of SCG International. “This is the starting point of this collaboration with COBOD International A/S. Together, we will improve the construction market in Thailand with the future hope of expanding cooperation within ASEAN. With our regional expertise and strong national business alliance, we are ready to help our partner achieve long-term success.
Now that the deal has been signed, SCG will learn all it can about building 3D printing with COBOD systems. Then, it is planned to create a sales channel dedicated to 3D concrete printing, or 3DCP. If we take into account what Jan Graumann, Global Head of Business Development and Sales for PERI AG’s Construction 3D Printing, told 3DPrint.com, this certainly matches the predictions for the 3D printing industry of construction.
“Next year and beyond, we expect the number of construction 3D printing companies as well as the number of completed 3D printing projects to continue to increase. The technology has proven its high potential to increase the productivity in the construction industry and thereby address the global housing shortage,” Graumann told us. “Furthermore, we are confident that construction 3D printing will increasingly become a standard construction method over the course of the next few years.”
COBOD has an open source strategy and builds partnerships around the world with academic institutions, customers and other cement manufacturers, such as Holcim, 14 Trees and Cemex. At times, the hype surrounding the 3D construction printing segment can be overwhelming, but COBOD seems pretty determined to back up what it promises. This winter, the company showcased its BOD2 printer live at concrete world convention in Las Vegas to show the commercial maturity of its technology, and recently released a 3D visualized configurator to create construction 3D printers.
“Looking only at the last 6 months, we have seen orders in this segment coming from Europe, Latin America – and now Asia. Commitment is coming from both global giants but also regional players or local,” said Simon Klint Bergh, Asia Pacific Manager at COBOD. “Overall, among concrete and cement manufacturers, there is a real acceptance and belief that 3DCP is going to play a role vital for the industry in the years to come.We are now delighted to be able to count Siam Cement among our partners.
Of course, the company may need to be flexible in the future, as ongoing industry research indicates that concrete is quite outdated.
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