Germany’s first 3D-printed building is now under construction

PERI is building the first 3D-printed apartment building in Bavaria, Germany. It will be the largest printed residential building in Europe once complete. Photos courtesy PERI
PERI is building the first 3D-printed apartment building in Bavaria, Germany. It will be the largest printed residential building in Europe once complete.
Photos courtesy PERI

German construction company PERI GmbH is constructing the country’s first 3D-printed building in Wallenhausen, Bavaria.

When complete, the five-in-a-block apartment building with around 380 m2 (4090 sf) of living space will be the largest printed residential building in Europe. On this project, the printing process is expected to take six weeks.

“By printing the first apartment building in Germany, we are demonstrating that this new construction technology can also be used to print large-scale dwelling units,” said Thomas Imbacher, managing director, marketing and innovation, at PERI. “In terms of 3D construction printing, we are opening up additional areas of application on an entirely new level.”

The planning architect is the architectural firm Mühlich, Fink & Partner BDA from Ulm, Germany. The engineering office of Schießl Gehlen Sodeikat assisted with the preparation work for the warrant. The Technical University of Munich planned and carried out the relevant approval tests.

PERI is using the gantry printer BOD2 from COBOD for this project. The system has a print head that moves about three axes on a securely installed metallic frame. The benefit is the printer can move along its frame to any position within the construction and only needs to be calibrated once. This saves time and cuts costs.

During the printing process, the printer takes into account the pipes and connections for water, electricity, etc. that are to be laid at a later time. BOD2 has been certified in such a way that it is possible to carry out work within the printing area while printing is in progress. This means that manual work, such as the installation of empty pipes and connections can be easily integrated into the printing process.

The “i.tech 3D” material that is being used to print the building was developed by HeidelbergCement specifically for 3D printing.

“The properties of i.tech3D are tailored to the specific requirements of 3D construction printing using concrete,” said Jennifer Scheydt, head of engineering and innovation at HeidelbergCement. “Our material has excellent pumping and extruding characteristics and works perfectly with the BOD2 printer.”

Two operators are required to run the printer. The print head and the print results are monitored by a camera. With a speed of 1 m/s, the BOD2 is currently the fastest 3D construction printer available on the market. The BOD2 only takes around five minutes to complete 1 m² (11 sf) of a double-skin wall.

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