Cutting-edge building: Mapei and Black Buffalo 3D printing technology receives a National Association Home Builders (NAHB) Award

Planitop 3D is the only construction ink/mortar to be internationally coded for concrete walls

February 22, 2023

Planitop 3D mortar/ink, the only one of its kind certified at international level for constructing buildings using 3D printing technology, contributed in Black Buffalo 3D Corporation’s Global Innovation Award from the National Association Home Builders (NAHB), an award that recognizes the most advanced and cutting-edge original products, services, homes, communities and champions of the building industry from around the world.

Manufactured by Mapei Corporation, the United States subsidiary of Mapei, through a strategic partnership with Black Buffalo 3D Corporation, leading provider of large-scale 3D construction printers, Planitop 3D is a fibre-reinforced cementitious mortar made from hydraulic binders, fibres and well-graded aggregates designed to be machine-applied through a three-dimensional printing process for concrete.

Held to the strictest quality standards, each layer of Planitop 3D is designed to quickly set up and support every layer that is printed above it – saving time, reducing materials and increasing jobsite efficiency.

In fact, together with 3D printing technology, Planitop 3D will make an important contribution in improving the way the world tackles the challenge of providing affordable housing, emergency structures and resilient infrastructures.

Granted AC509 certification by the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES), which lays down guidelines for the evaluation of materials and the durability of 3D concrete and the structural properties and fire resistance of concrete walls, Planitop 3D meets the requirements for “bearing, non-bearing and shear walls up to 40 feet in height".

For Planitop 3D, achieving AC509 certification and then recognition by the NAHB represents the final step of a lengthy approval process. The important steps of this journey included several printing sessions lasting more than 16 hours using NEXCON™ printers carried out by the Black Buffalo 3D team, which were then verified by members of the Intertek laboratory, certified by ICC-ES. The verification process involved rigorous testing according to ICC-ES AC509 criteria for 3D printed walls, as well as further testing and verifications on the actual materials, printing machine and printed wall.

“We congratulate Black Buffalo 3D on the NAHB Global Innovation Award,”  - said Luigi Di Geso, President and CEO of MAPEI Corporation. - “This industry recognition underscores a fact that we’ve known all along —that this 3D printing system developed by Mapei and Black Buffalo 3D is industry-changing. The only 3D mortar/ink to be ICC-ES AC509 certified, walls that are printed with Mapei’s Planitop 3D and Black Buffalo 3D NEXCON printers can be considered equivalent to concrete masonry units (CMU) block. This is a huge shift in construction trends and will allow us to help address the scarcity of low-income housing in an innovative, efficient, and affordable manner.“

The next application of Planitop 3D mortar/ink will be for the construction of 2 new houses in Newport News, Virginia using NEXCON™ printers by Black Buffalo 3D Corporation.

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