A critical review of the use of 3-D printing in the construction industry
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3-D printing, which is an automated production process with layer-by-layer control, has been gaining rapid development in recent years. The technology has been adopted in the manufacturing industry for decades and has recently been introduced in the construction industry to print houses and villas. The technology can bring significant benefits to the construction industry in terms of increased customization, reduced construction time, reduced manpower, and construction cost. A few isolated products and projects have been preliminarily tested using the 3-D printing technology. However, it should be noted that such tests and developments on the use of 3-D printing in the construction industry are very fragmented at the time of the study. It is therefore necessary for the building and construction industry to understand the technology, its historical applications and challenges for better utilization in the future. A systematic review shows that 3-D printing technology, after years of evolution, can be used to print large-scale architectural models and buildings. However, the potential of the technology is limited by the lack of large-scale implementation, the development of building information modeling, the requirements of mass customization, and the life cycle cost of the printed projects. It is therefore expected that future studies should be conducted on these areas to consolidate the stability and expand the applicability of 3-D printing in the construction industry.
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