Editor in chief
I don’t have to tell you that technology is advancing fast and impacting almost every aspect of our lives. Those of you working in the field of electricity delivery often experience the advantages and challenges created by technological advancements in your professional lives. We at POWERGRID International magazine are doing our best to keep you abreast of the latest technologies being implemented in the industry with the goal of making your job easier. I’m using my column this month to tell you about a technology breakthrough that hasn’t yet made a big, direct impact on the electricity industry, but will in the near future. That technology is 3-D printing in the building industry.
In late May, the world’s first 3-D printed office building opened in Dubai. The 250-square-meter building, erected on the Emirates Towers premises is called the “Office of the Future.” A 3-D printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide was used to print the building, which contains all the amenities-electricity, water, telecommunications and air conditioning-of a traditional constructed structure. In addition, the building is equipped with a central building management platform that, thanks to Siemens, includes access control and surveillance systems.
A press release issued by the government of Dubai said seven installers and 10 electricians and specialists assembled the fully-functional office in just 17 days. The release said labor cost to build the office was cut by more than 50 percent compared to conventional buildings of similar size. Global architecture firm Gensler designed the building, and Thornton Tomasetti and Syska Hennessy completed the structural and mechanical, electrical and plumbing work.
“We see this project as a case study that will benefit regulators as well as research and development centers at the regional and international levels on real application of 3-D printing technology. We are documenting this experience and building on it to take advantage of the most important lessons, which will serve as reference points to take this technology to new levels,” Crown Prince of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in the press release.
This small office building is surely just the beginning of some fantastic and unimaginable things to come in the world of 3-D printing-things that will advance and challenge the electricity delivery industry, as well as many other aspects of our lives.