Tuesday , August 16 2022

Dubai, Saudi Arabia Drive 3D Printing Revolution in the Arab World


Construction, medical sectors are seeing rapid adoption of new technology as companies respond to a pandemic through innovation

In an attempt to reduce their dependence on foreign imports, Dubai and Saudi Arabia are becoming leading centers for 3D printing technology in the Arab world.

Earlier this month, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, announced the launch of the 3D Printing Strategic Alliance.

The project aims to help develop, test and apply 3D printing technology. It includes a wide network of government agencies, companies and academic institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As part of the initiative, the emirate will also build area housing research centers and startups.

“We aim to accelerate the adoption and use of this emerging technology to support all government, economic, health and scientific sectors in Dubai and the world,” tweeted the prince, adding that Dubai, by the league, hoping to “achieve self sufficiency. ”

We aim to accelerate the adoption and use of this emerging technology to support all governmental, economic, health and scientific sectors in Dubai and the world.

In line with the sheikh’s vision, an increasing number of 3D printing companies are seeking to establish a foothold in the Middle East city, including the Danish company COBOD International, a leading 3D construction printing provider.

Henrik Lund-Nielsen, founder and general manager of COBOD International, told The Media Line that despite the pandemic, “many requests” were coming from Dubai for its technology.

“I think 3D printing will have a huge impact [in the region], ”Lund-Nielsen confirmed.

“What we are seeing now are the first occasional examples, like demonstrations and demos, but we are in the process of converting that from the initial interest into a first multi-unit commercial project,” he said : “We are already being asked for things like 10-20 buildings or even 100 buildings at one time. ”

According to Lund-Nielsen, a “distinguished customer” from Dubai who he recently refused to name, completed the construction of an impressive building using a COBOD printer. However, the client has decided not to publicize the project until the incidence of coronavirus is reduced.

Saudi Arabia has also been moving forward with requests for printers.

“We have a distributor in Saudi Arabia, and they bought the largest printer sold or made anywhere in the world,” said Lund-Nielsen, referring to the BOD2 printer.

The BOD2, by COBOD, is the world’s largest construction printer. (Courtesy)

The BOD2 is a modular machine that can print buildings measuring 88 feet long and 33 feet tall. The printer retails for anywhere between $ 500,000 and $ 1 million and works by printing layers of concrete to make walls. A Saudi company, Elite for Construction & Development Co., purchased a unit last year and hopes to build some 1.5 million homes with it in the next decade.

How long it takes to fully print a building depends on building specifications, Lund-Nielsen said.

“Anyway, I can guarantee you that it will be faster than if you were using conventional technology,” he asserted, noting that a BOD2 printer can print a 10,000-square-foot building.

Due to travel restrictions in place for COVID-19 and in order to meet the growing demand for its products, COBOD has decided to establish offices in Dubai in the near future.

“For people to really invest in this new technology, they need to come here [to Denmark], see the 3D printed buildings and live demonstrations, ”explained Lund-Nielsen. “Since Mohammad can’t come to the mountain, we have to bring the mountain to Mohammad.”

Dubai is already home to several successful local 3D printing outfits.

Founded in 2014, Generation 3D is a printing service provider specializing in large-scale architecture and design projects. The company works with hundreds of clients throughout the region, from private organizations to government bodies.

“We see 3D printing as part of a solution to make the region less import dependent,” Dominic Wright, co-founder and director of business development at Generation 3D, told The Media Line. “We are proud to be part of the UAE ecosystem, and see part of our role and responsibility is to create great products locally and attract and develop the best talent to remain within the UAE . “

We see 3D printing as part of a solution to make the region less dependent on imports

In response to the pandemic, Generation 3D recently launched a new line of products made from special nano-copper material that is 99.9% effective against viruses and bacteria. Among them is a telephone holder called “Clinicase.”

Generation 3D recently launched a new line of products, including this phone case. (Courtesy)

“Because we are naturally designers and problem solvers,” said Wright.

“We saw the data around smartphones, and the smartphone has 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, so we decided to take action,” he continued. “We now have a full range of products for iPhone and Samsung, and will be at most major retailers over the next two months.”

Another Dubai company making progress in the region is Xplorer 3D, which works in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, education, healthcare, defense and culture. Originally founded in Pakistan in 2012, the company expanded across the Middle East and now has offices not only in Dubai, but Saudi Arabia and Bahrain as well.

Tooba Alam, a spokesman for Xplorer 3D, told The Media Line that the company has worked with over 800 organizations and clients in the past five years. Among them are big names like Dubai American University and PepsiCo.

Xpl Proto Xplorer 3D desktop printer, retailing for around $ 625. (Courtesy)

Like Wright, Alam believes the technology could help the region become more self-sufficient in the long run.

“Dubai and the United Arab Emirates have emerged among the world’s leading countries in adopting 3D printing technology,” he said. “Whether it’s construction, education or manufacturing, the technology has helped in local manufacturing and innovation. Dubai not only has the tallest building in the world, but also the largest 3D printed building. ”

Nonetheless, the pandemic has presented Xplorer 3D with some unique challenges as some of its core employees are currently stuck in different parts of the world, Alam revealed. In response to the coronavirus, the company has decided to focus its technological approach on helping Pakistan’s health workers by printing personal protective equipment (PPE).

“The UAE, a developed country, was well placed to deal with the pandemic. Xplorer 3D collaborated with a number of organizations and companies to produce 3D printed masks, face shields, air guards and associated personal protective gear, ”he noted.

“We brought in… different, engineers, manufacturers and designers to tackle the growing pandemic situation,” he continued. “Now we have a surplus, which is exported worldwide.”

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