Housing crisis has always been a major problem for all countries. The developing developed and the underdeveloped economies face this problem world wide. In order to tackle this problem, the Netherlands have come up with an innovative solution with the help of 3D printing technology.
Video Credits: TU Eindhoven, YouTube
Professor Theo Salet from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has come up with a project named ‘Project Milestone’. Under this project Professor Theo and his team aim to develop safe and rigid structures which would allow unique homes with a distinctive character to roll out on a concrete paper. This project will be able to provide a large scale of customisation to its users instead of standardization.
Speaking about the need and importance of this project, Professor Salet said, “This is not about the ambition of some scientist, it’s about the rock-hard necessity of making major changes to the way we build.” He further added that, “Understand that we need to build in the Netherlands alone a million homes in 10 years and make 7.5 million homes drastically more sustainable in 30 years. In addition, infrastructure from the 1960s and 1970s is heading towards the end of its design life. We are facing an unprecedented challenge.”
Project Milestone is a collaboration between TU/e, Eindhoven Municipality, Van Wijnen (a construction company), Saint Gobain Weber Beamix (a manufacturer of building materials), Witteveen + Boston (an engineering firm) and Vesteda (a housing investor). This entire project is headed by professor Salet who is also the Dean of the Department of the Built Environment at TU/e.
According to professor Salet a close collaboration between the government, academia and industry is very vital and urgent. He briefly describes it as people, planet, profit. He also said that the construction sector must focus on what are the demands of the society and cater to them in a sustainable manner.
This project is a result of years of research put in by professor Salet along with PhD students Rob Wolfs and Zeeshan Ahmed and also various master’s students.
Speaking about the scale of this product and what are the further developments that could be done to improvise the process, professor Salet said, “We’ll then start delivering mass production and, in a while, the same houses will line every street. That would be extremely monotonous; no one is waiting for that and it isn’t necessary either. You have to digitize the entire process from design to construction. A robot doesn’t care what shape it has to print, so you then get industrial customization with variation. Let’s make that step in one go, as challenging as it may be.”
According to professor Salet, this will prove to be a huge benefit for the construction sector too. Industrial customisation will increase productivity to a massive scale. The sector is currently suffering from an acute shortage of skilled workers; since one needs less high quality craftsmanship in this case it will prove to be helpful. All the heavy work involved will be reduced to a great extent.
This entire program will prove to be beneficial for women too. With the help of this technology they will be able to participate more into this sector. It will also improve health conditions to a great extent. The biggest advantage is the sustainability that will be provided, the amount of material used will be cut down and it will be possible to reuse most the materials and elements involved.