Additive Construction Is the ‘Next Frontier,’ Says Wohlers Associates, as ASTM International Works With NIST

Wohlers Associates' specialty report focuses on nearly 200 additive manufacturing firms changing the construction industry.

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Additive construction promises to change the building industry, according to Wohlers Associates.
Additive construction applies 3D printing and could advance building processes, according to Wohlers Associates. Its parent ASTM International is developing a roadmap with NIST.

Wohlers Associates this month published Wohlers Specialty Report on Construction: Building an Additive Construction Future. The report detailed developments in additive construction, or AC, an industry that is rapidly growing in response to opportunities created by additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

Standards organization ASTM International acquired Fort Collins, Colo.-based Wohlers Associates in 2021. The advisory group now includes technical and market experts to support the growing additive manufacturing (AM) industry.

“ASTM International sees AC as the next frontier in construction,” noted Terry Wohlers, head of advisory services and market intelligence at Wohlers Associates. “To gain a view of what is ahead, it is important to understand the technology’s current state.”

“This specialty report features advancements in AC, a rundown of nearly 200 players in this sector, updates on efforts underway in various geographic regions, and a comprehensive overview of specific applications and materials,” he added.

Additive construction a new tool for an old industry, finds Wohlers

Wohlers Associates said its report “offers an unparalleled window into additive manufacturing and 3D printing by providing technical, market, and strategic advice on the new developments and trends in rapid product development and AM.”

Construction is among the oldest and largest industries in the world,” noted Stephan Mansour, a consultant at Wohlers Associates and principal author of the report. “However, issues of growing demand, a declining workforce, and rising material costs require new ways of thinking.”

“AC presents alternative methods and tools that have the potential to be more efficient and sustainable and help address increasing demands on the sector,” he said.

Wohlers Associates presented use cases from key market players as examples of additive construction. The firm also examined how AC can improve traditional construction methods and outlined specific challenges and ways they could be addressed.

The report included a range of tables, charts, and images and looked at the industry’s current research and development initiatives. It also discussed the development of standards around AC. Such standards will help the industry develop, claimed Wohlers Associates.

“Global population is expected to rise, so construction will increase, even as the workforce declines and costs rise,” noted Mansour. “AC offers new solutions that are promising but are being met with the caution of many. We know AC is a quickly expanding sector, but more information on what works and what does not, along with good decision-making, are needed.”

He added that the Wohlers Specialty Report on Construction aims to increase understanding and offer a comprehensive look at the technology with a level of detail that is not available elsewhere, said Mansour. The report is geared towards design and building professionals looking to use additive manufacturing, he added.

Wohlers Specialty Report on Construction

Source: Wohlers Associates and ASTM International

ASTM International gets funding for AM roadmap

ASTM International said the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded it funding in August to develop a roadmap for the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies in the construction sector. NIST is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

West Conshohocken, Pa.-based ASTM plans to use the funding, which totals nearly $300,000, to develop guidance for bringing together the construction and manufacturing sectors and various aspects of advanced manufacturing. They include additive manufacturing, robotics and automation, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence.

“ASTM International is grateful for this award and the opportunity to develop this effort, as we know the significant impact it will have within the construction sector,” said Mohsen Seifi, Ph.D. and vice president of global advanced manufacturing programs at ASTM. “ASTM is uniquely positioned to lead this project based on a proven track record in Industry 4.0 related topics through the ASTM Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE) and Wohlers Associates, powered by ASTM International.”

Seifi noted that the roadmap will identify and prioritize development goals that will enable acceleration and growth of potential additive construction technologies.

“Additive construction is the next wave of additive manufacturing in the world, and it will be huge!” stated Aaron Prather, director of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Program at ASTM International. Prather was also keynote speaker at Robotics 24/7's first Robotics Applications Conference.

NIST promotes advanced manufacturing

This award was in the second round of 2022 awards through NIST's Advanced Manufacturing Roadmap Program (MfgTech). NIST said the program aims to provide funding for the development of manufacturing technology roadmaps in domains with potential and critical interest.

In addition to ASTM, the agency awarded funding to six other organizations including Edison Welding Institute Inc., the University of Houston, and Case Western Reserve University. These projects aim to reduce technological adoption barriers through a joint consortium between various stakeholders.

NIST also recently awarded funding to Auburn University’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence and ASTM International’s AM CoE. They plan to use nearly $1 million to establish a framework that will allow for the identification of critical defects and prediction of fatigue performance within non-destructive evaluation (NDE) data.

ASTM International is also developing standards for mobile manipulation and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). It is currently looking to collaborate with parties interested in contributing to the development of the construction technology roadmap.

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Additive construction promises to change the building industry, according to Wohlers Associates.

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