Holcim 14Trees launches first construction 3D printer made in Africa

14Trees, a Holcim joint venture with British International Investment, the UK's development finance institution, has launched Iroko: the first commercial construction 3D printer made in Africa.
Quarry Products / July 18, 2023
By Guy Woodford
Holcim joint venture Iroko has unveiled the first commercial construction 3D printer made in Africa. Pic: Holcim

Drawing on 14Trees' experience as a pioneer in the construction 3D printing industry, the proprietary technology delivers greater reliability and mobility at lower cost, accelerating access to smart construction. Delivery to first customers in Africa is scheduled for Q4 2023, with plans to expand in Europe in Q1 2024.

Iroko will help scale up sustainable construction to build better with less: it helps reduce the carbon footprint of buildings by digitally optimising material use and is adapted to printing with low-carbon inks such as Holcim's TectorPrint, which lowers a building's carbon footprint by up to 70%. It has the capacity to print one- and two-story buildings for residential and commercial applications, from affordable housing to schools.

Holcim_Malawi 3D printed school
Holcim JV 14Trees built Africa's first 3D-printed school in Malawi. Pic: 14Trees-Holcim


Miljan Gutovic, Region Head for Europe at Holcim: "I am excited to see 14Trees shaping the future of construction. This innovation will help accelerate construction 3D printing around the world, fully aligned with Holcim's mission to decarbonise building at scale."

François Perrot, Managing Director of 14Trees: "The launch of this Africa-made printer builds on our legacy of 3D printing on the continent, from building the world's first 3D-printed school in Malawi to the world's largest 3D-printed affordable housing project in Kenya. I look forward to scaling up this transformational technology even further with Iroko to decarbonise building in Africa and beyond."

Co-designed with and manufactured by PMSA, a leader in construction equipment in Africa, Iroko is more affordable, reliable and mobile than competing solutions in the industry. Iroko costs 30% less than comparable construction 3D printers on the market, with a lower use cost. It can be mounted manually without a crane or telehandler and does not require purchasing extensions to build a second floor. For greater reliability, Iroko is equipped with laser systems to control print quality, ensuring perfect print quality 50 times per second.

The printer is equipped with a weather station to provide the operator with real-time conditions that enable contractors to modify parameters accordingly, such as speed and water quantities. Additionally, for easy transport and deployment, Iroko is designed to fit into a single container.

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