What’s Hot, What’s Not?
Last week, Peggy Smedley and I spent the week at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and there were a lot of new emerging technologies for the jobsite in the Tech Experience—and it has me thinking: What new technologies are really disrupting the industry today, and what technologies are, well, not.
This is going to kick off a series of blogs that will look into some of the latest technologies to help determine what’s hot and what’s not.
Where better to start than 3D printing? CONEXPO-CON/AGG kicked of the expo last week with a press conference that unveiled a 3D printed excavator. I have to admit it was neat to watch the printed piece of equipment move and dig earth.
For those of you who may not have heard about it already, Project AME (additive manufactured excavator) was developed, in partnerships with a number of organizations, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to create and assemble the cab, boom, and a heat exchanger.
Peggy and I had the pleasure of talking with Bill Peter, director, manufacturing demonstration facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, about Project AME immediately after the demonstration, and one key takeaway is that there is a lot to consider when it comes to 3D printing in the construction industry, especially taking into account the materials that will be used to print.
So this has me thinking: Will 3D printing take off on the construction side of the business? Will contractors be printing homes and buildings in the future?
I think there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to get there. The machines are here. They can print, but the materials are what need to continue to evolve. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one organization that gets this.
Perhaps there is an opportunity here to leverage innovation to bring manufacturing back to the United States—and make the construction jobsite more efficient in the future. Stay tuned. There is certainly more to come for 3D printing in the construction industry.
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