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3D Printing In Construction And Its Impact On The Labour Market

3D Printing In Construction And Its Impact On The Labour Market

Construction is among the main industries that contribute to countries’ economic development, with a 9% GDP (gross domestic product) share and about 7~8.5% of the total global employment. Yet, using additive manufacturing (AM) in construction is slower than manufacturing.

Total worldwide spending in construction was US$11.4 trillion in 2018 and is expected to increase to US$14 trillion by 2025. Being huge economic contributors, the industry is yet plagued by low productivity, technological advances, minimum automation and robotic usage.

There is a strong link between the level of digitisation and its productivity improvement. The U.S. construction industry invested only 1.5% of value added on technology — much lower than the manufacturing industry (3.3%) and the overall average in the economy of 3.6%.

Various analyses portrayed that productivity in construction remained almost the same over the last few decades, whereas that in manufacturing nearly doubled. Recent studies depict the construction industry is gradually embedding automated systems and robotic usages, mostly in the research and development with very limited practical applications.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, drones, robotic arms, lesser scanning/photogrammetry, 3D printing (3DP) are the several forms of automation being researched and used in construction. Nevertheless, most of these automated technologies are particularly used for some specific projects.

Considering the unique nature of construction, these technologies are not readily applicable or repeatable to multiple construction projects unlike manufacturing productions.


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