Vinci sets up company for 3D printing of high-performance concrete

Global construction company Vinci Construction, through its subsidiary Freyssinet, has established a new subsidiary specialising in 3D printing of high-performance concrete. Named Concreative, the new company provides a fully integrated service, from design to on-site installation.

In the first stage of its expansion, Concreative recently opened its first design-build factory in Dubai to meet the future demand in the regional UAE market.

Dubai reportedly introduced a strategic 3D printing strategy in 2016, with the goal of basing a quarter of its new buildings on 3D printing technology by 2030 and becoming a leading global 3D printing hub by the end of the next decade.

Concreative uses a technology patented by XtreeE, a start-up in which Vinci Construction is a partner and shareholder. The technology consists in extruding concrete layer by layer, with each layer printed via a digitally controlled nozzle.

The 3D concrete printing technology is known to have many benefits, as it frees architects from the restrictions of standardised formwork. It offers a way to design and build complex concrete architectural and structural elements, deliver personalised, customised solutions and control cost and time to market. Its advantages also include cement savings of up to 70%, construction close to where it is needed and in areas that are difficult to access, and less arduous, less dangerous worksites.

“Concreative is the result of a combination of two favourable circumstances: the arrival at maturity of the technology a year ago, and the decision by the United Arab Emirates to become a major construction market using and promoting 3D printing,” said Khalil Doghri, Freyssinet’s director for Middle East and India.

“We applied the global approach that we are used to taking in our specialist civil engineering business activity. Beyond the technology provided by XtreeE, we developed the upstream and downstream services needed to put the architects’ ideas and the engineers’ requirements together and to put the goals of the Emirates into practice.”