3D concrete printing (3DCP) is a form of cementitious, additive manufacturing used to fabricate buildings, houses or construction components in completely new shapes not previously possible with traditional concrete formwork. Sika offers Sikacrete® 3D material solutions for printing concrete rapidly, precisely, and inexpensively according to your project needs.
Image above: Affentranger 3DCP
Digitalization in Construction
Traditional reinforced concrete has been used for decades as an economical construction method. A shift is happening with the implementation of digital technology. As interest in digital tools and processes grows, so too the interest is increasing to use 3D concrete printing (3DCP). Digitalization is the driver aiming to improve productivity and save time, while offering something truly unique.
Many entrepreneurs and institutes see the potential to use additive manufacturing or 3D printing in construction. There is increasing demand from owners, architects, engineers, and contractors who can imagine the design flexibility and potential.
Sika aims to link this passion for 3DCP by offering innovative 3D concrete printing materials and solutions.
"Digitalization is changing every aspect of construction and the entire life cycle of a building, from the design process and automated construction all the way to maintenance." Frank Höfflin (Head Operations, Quality and EHS at Sika)
How Does 3D Concrete Printing Work?
- A print head/nozzle is mounted onto a robot arm or gantry.
- The print head/nozzle is connected to a pump with a hose pipe.
- The components of the material are mixed.
- The mix is pumped into the print head/nozzle.
- Lines are extruded on top of each other.
- Additions or admixtures can be added to alter the properties of the mix.
What Equipment is Needed?
- Positive action pan mixer for cementitious materials
- Pump for conveying fresh mixed material continuously
- Sufficient length of pipe to connect the pump and print head
- Robot arm or gantry, including control software
- Print head/nozzle
- Suitable software for translating a 3D computer model into a machine program, often referred to as slicing
What Type of Objects Can Be 3D Printed?
The possibilities are endless when it comes to 3D concrete printing. It allows you to create custom objects not feasible with traditional concrete casting methods. They can be smaller components like architectural furniture, or large-scale, fully-printed buildings and civil infrastructure. Sika has experience with all types.
Infrastructure & civil engineering
Sika offers comprehensive Sikacrete® 3D solutions for printing concrete rapidly, precisely, and inexpensively according to your project needs. With a global footprint in over 100 countries and more than 100 years of history in cement and admixture technology, Sika can support you around the world to start or improve your 3D concrete printing business. In addition to 3DCP products and technical support, we have a wide range of solutions to add value to your entire project.
Sika is actively seeking partners to develop materials which work with different types of 3D concrete printing equipment. Contact us today.
Are You Getting Started in 3D Concrete Printing?
Two-Component 3D Concrete Printing is for You
2K or 2-component is used to refer to the number of modules in a material to make a product. Sika’s award-winning 2K system is a gantry equipment and accelerated printing materials together in a unique turn-key solution fully
developed by Sika. This is an automated system utilizing several existing Sika technologies to produce very fast, precise, and high-quality printing.
The gantry system was developed by Sika and is fabricated under license with one of our partners. It consists of:
- Patented mixing station
- Patented printing head
- Computer and software
Also available from Sika are the only compatible Sikacrete®-7100 3D printing materials specially developed with the Sika 3DCP gantry equipment.
Sika Solution and Advantages
Sikacrete®-7100 3D consists of a cementitious powder with fibers and liquid polymer which is combined with water in the mixing station. Additional colors can be added to enhance the appearance. An activator is added in the print head which provides setting on demand.
- High compressive strength
- Fast printing speeds
- Adjustable setting time
- Long open time
- Printing at angles
Are You Already into 3D Concrete Printing?
One-Component 3D Solutions Available
Sika provides cementitious materials for printing objects with your equipment. There are numerous types of mixers, pumps, and robotics on the market. To achieve a successful print, the equipment and material must work together. All these factors play a significant role in achieving optimal results of the finished concrete. Sika works with our partners to evaluate the print quality and find ways to improve it.
Types of information we can discuss:
- What type of equipment do you use?
- What type of objects do you print?
- What line widths, heights, printing speed and ambient temperatures are you working with?
- What are your open time, setting time, strength and performance requirements?
- Do you have any special requirements e.g., testing, colors, maximum grain size, packaging?
Sika Solution and Advantages
Sikacrete®-751 3D and Sikacrete®-752 3D are one-component products which need to be mixed with water.
- Accelerated products
- Highly thixotropic
- Ready-to-use by adding water
- Low shrinkage
- Small grain sizes for less equipment wear
1K 3DCP Process
Download a Case Study
Frequently Asked Questions
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Costs associated with 3D concrete printing are best discussed with equipment suppliers. The cost of traditional construction methods very much depends on the costs of materials and labor in your geographical area. A local contractor can possibly assist you to make the comparison.
Sika has worldwide production factories. Where possible, we would like to produce locally to reduce transportation costs and time. If you would like to use local concrete to 3D print, Sika can also assist with pre-testing the concrete using Sika admixtures.
Yes, Sika has a range of concrete admixtures and mortar additives that can help to improve the printing consistency according to the project requirements.
Yes, Sika can help support with concrete mix design. This is our daily business to support ready-mix and precast concrete manufacturers.
Contact Sika to Inquire About This New Technology
Whether you are an architect who wants to revolutionize your design with 3D concrete or a contractor who wants to get started in 3D concrete construction, Sika’s technical experts can advise you.
Please fill out the contact form below.