Poland has been in the spotlight recently due to its proximity to conflict areas. By total coincidence, in close time proximity to when stray missiles hit Polish land I was scheduled to speak with the CEO of Rebuild 3DCP, Witold on the Automate Construction podcast. Rebuild is the company responsible for printing the first house in Poland on site.
You can listen to the podcast in its entirety for yourself at the link below. I’ll try to summarize what we discussed in this article. Currently Rebuild as a company is focused on the testing and measuring of its material parameters/ structural integrity. In order to implement this technology and construction at a large scale you have to possess a very clear understanding of the numbers that engineers can use to sign off on a building, ensuring that according to their calculations, it will stand. Having these calculations can be critical to permitting.
The first step for them was just getting the printer working and demonstrating the technology. There’s a huge difference between start ups before and after that point, before you actually get to the printing part, people have a gilded view, lacking full understanding of what’s required for the process, and the current state of the technology, which is not yet quite fully automated. In fact, there’s a long way to go towards full automation.
Rebuild has reached the point where the machine runs but the material needs to be dialed in. To my knowledge they are the only group implementing this technology in Poland, so they are now the leading experts of 3-D printed concrete in Poland. This means all of the trailblazing is up to them. It’s a big responsibility that will be the first step towards increased construction automation in their country, something I believe will be appreciated by many for years to come.
Witold came across this technology at his university where he was reviewing some research on 3d printed concrete technology. By my measure, there are 101 different concrete printer manufactures (the full list is available for automation nation members) obviously, they didn’t all come up with the idea originally. Many of them claim to and I believe it’s possible multiple could be telling the truth 3d printing has been around for a long time so it’s feasible that multiple people, even many people might independently come up with the idea to 3d print houses on their own. I would even venture to argue that it’s a natural consideration which comes to mind when you see a printer in action.
Witold specifically mentions it wasn’t his idea, but when they saw the research paper him and his team immediately saw that there were improvements they could implement for this technology. Knowing they could iterate beyond the current state of the market, they jumped in and have been contributing to improving this technology ever since spearheading the efforts in their country.
Concrete isn’t the only thing Rebuild seeks to automate, they also want to automate the reinforcement methods of the concrete. Taking another step towards the ultimate goal of automation. Most 3d printed construction jobs require a minimum of two people, often three or four people.
In Poland start ups like rebuild have access to grant funding to get started. They got their first round of grant funding at $200,000 then an additional round of $1 million converted to US according to Witold.
We talked quite a bit about materials. The rebuild team is specialized in mechanical engineering so that’s one of the reasons materials is tricky, also there is such a limited demand for 3d Print Concrete in Poland. The material is not readily available and quite expensive as well. The material they’re currently using has a three month warranty from the manufacture, and should last around six months, after about a year, it may not be good for use anymore.
It was great learning more about Witlolds experience founding his startup Rebuild in Poland. I can’t wait to see what they will bring to the table in coming years in the industry of construction automation.