Sunday, July 14, 2024

ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 Sets the Standard for Excellence in 3D Printing for Construction

The recent publication of the ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 standard marks a significant milestone in the realm of 3D printing for construction. This meticulous standard, titled “Additive manufacturing for construction — Qualification principles — Structural and infrastructure elements,” stands as a testament to the concerted efforts of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ASTM International. These organizations, renowned for their commitment to establishing global standards, have collaborated through the ISO’s Additive Manufacturing Technical Committee (ISO/TC 261) and ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Technologies Committee (F42).

Unveiled in December 2023, ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 serves as a comprehensive guide, delineating the prerequisites essential for the production and delivery of top-tier additively manufactured structures within the construction sector. This encompasses residential and infrastructure projects, and the document specifically emphasizes the imperative aspects of quality assurance. It underscores the necessity for risk mitigation, approval processes, and certification protocols in the context of additive construction, underscoring that achieving these goals is unattainable without adherence to the specified ISO/ASTM standards.

Applicable across diverse additive manufacturing technologies employed in construction, the standard meticulously defines criteria for 3D printing construction processes, quality-related characteristics, and various factors integral to additive manufacturing operations. Noteworthy is its universality, as ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 applies to both residential and commercial applications, encompassing structural and infrastructural building elements.

However, it is essential to note the standard’s deliberate exclusions. It does not address environmental, health, and safety considerations associated with 3D printing facility setup, material handling, operating robotics, or the packaging and shipping of equipment. Furthermore, the standard intentionally steers clear of delving into design approvals, material properties, characterization, and testing processes.

The unveiling of ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 comes at a pivotal juncture for the construction industry, grappling with challenges ranging from labor shortages and project delays to extended lead times, material wastage, and heightened carbon dioxide emissions. The ISO posits that additive manufacturing presents a viable solution to these challenges, offering a paradigm shift towards durability, sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency in construction methodologies.

Recent endeavors in the construction realm underscore the growing importance of additive manufacturing. For instance, the collaboration between CyBe Construction and the South African Housing & Infrastructure Fund (SAHIF) to address the housing shortage in South Africa stands out. Leveraging concrete 3D printing technology, these entities aim to deliver sustainable and affordable homes in a nation grappling with a backlog of 2.3 million affordable homes.

Similarly, the impressive $52 million funding secured by Construction 3D printing company Mighty Buildings signals a significant leap forward. This financial injection, led by Wa’ed Ventures and BOLD Capital Partners, is poised to accelerate the production of 3D printed houses, addressing the escalating demand within the United States. Notably, these funds are earmarked not only for meeting domestic demands but also for establishing additive manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — two of the world’s largest and fastest-growing construction markets.

In essence, ISO/ASTM 52939:2023 emerges as a cornerstone, providing a standardized framework to propel the construction industry into a new era marked by innovation, efficiency, and sustainability through the transformative power of additive manufacturing.


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