Cemex Ventures invests in 3D-printing tech for building

Dive Brief:

  • San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico-based Cemex Ventures, one of the most high-profile contech investment firms in the industry and an arm of the global concrete company, announced on Tuesday that it was investing in Copenhagen-based 3D-printing firm Cobod. Cemex Ventures declined to reveal the investment total.
  • The investment is an extension of the two companies’ previous partnership, according to the release, which has existed through the past year. Cobod created D.fab, its proprietary admixtures family, which can be used to adapt a regular cement mixture for 3D printing.
  • With its new investment, Cemex Ventures said the two companies aim to create more building material products and advancements in 3D printing.

Dive Insight:

Ibon Iribar, investment and open innovation advisor at Cemex Ventures, told Construction Dive in an email that Cobod’s offerings, which include the D.fab admixture and gantry-based robotic machines instead of robotic-arm printers, were what set Cobod apart from competitors. Iribar also emphasized Cobod’s business model, which is focused on manufacturing the printing machines and not the construction element.

D.fab can prepare different cement mixes for 3D printing by making a more fluid mixture, according to the company. With the admixture, along with Cobod’s machines, the 3D printing process requires less material and opens the door to the use of any form of cement, the company claims. 

Iribar said that the product has been tested on some of Cobod’s projects in Angola and Oman, and expects it to be used on projects in the U.S. and U.K. in the short term.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on, contech investment has spiked as contractors push for new technologies to compete for contracts with limited numbers of people on a jobsite and asynchronous communication. 

3D printed building in particular has garnered interest as applications for the technology grow in number and variety, and innovations such as using recycling materials for printing gain more research. Another mainstay in the 3D printing industry, Austin, Texas-based ICON, printed a 3,800-square-foot barracks in August on a military base in Texas, and the tech is being used to build on the moon.

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