De Realtà Mapei n.° 35 - 8/11/2022

Mortar, Ink Or Both?

MAPEI Innovation and 3D Technology
Overview: MAPEI innovation meets 3D printing technology to build homes.
MAPEI Corporation and Black Buffalo 3D Corporation

In April, MAPEI Corporation and Black Buffalo 3D Corporation announced a strategic partnership at the future site of the first 3D-printed homes in Virginia. These homes will be printed by 3D contracting group Alquist 3D using Planitop 3D construction ink/mortar. The event also marked Planitop 3D’s official launch.

The first collaboration between MAPEI Corporation and Black Buffalo 3D, Planitop 3D is designed to work with Black Buffalo 3D’s NEXCON printers to provide enhanced performance at a fraction of the cost of existing building materials.

According to the Website for Black Buffalo 3D, the company is a leading provider of large-scale 3D construction printers. Through innovation in sustainable construction and infrastructure creation, Black Buffalo 3D has reduced build time, labor costs, site waste and material costs. The company has joined MAPEI Corporation in a strategic, research, development and manufacturing partnership for the 3D construction-printing industry.

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.

The official launch of Planitop 3D occurred at the site of a housing project in Virginia, in which Alquist 3D will use NEXCON printers and the innovative new mortar to begin 3D-printing 200 new homes throughout Virginia. Alquist 3D is an innovative builder that is committed to helping rural communities through the use of leading-edge technologies.

Alquist 3D aims to use 3D-printed technology to create single-family, multifamily, mixed-use and senior-living homes. The company builds houses that are lower in cost to help economically distressed and underserved communities – especially in rural areas that often do not have access to the same amenities that are commonplace in cities and suburbs. The 3D-printed homes will feature the latest sustainable advances, including rating “net zero” for harmful carbon emissions because the homes are constructed using environmentally friendly materials. The homes will each feature solar panels and a rechargeable battery.

“MAPEI has always been known for innovation and for helping communities around the nation,” said Luigi Di Geso, MAPEI Corporation’s President and CEO. “These 3D-printed homes and other structures printed with Planitop 3D and Black Buffalo 3D’s NEXCON printers represent technology at its most compassionate and at its highest level of innovation.”

Michael Woods, COO/CEO of Big Sun Holdings, Black Buffalo 3D’s parent corporation, remarked, “The Black Buffalo 3D team recognized the need for standardization in materials to drive the next phase of growth in the 3D construction industry. MAPEI was able to enhance the formula that our team developed and take it to the next level, outclassing every product on the market – at a cost that makes 3D-printing homes, buildings and infrastructure feasible on nearly every level.”

Planitop 3D is available across North America through MAPEI. The cement-based construction ink/mortar was developed through years of research, testing and evaluation by independent and in-house material scientists at MAPEI, Black Buffalo 3D and various third-party labs, including Intertek, which is based in York, PA.

Kevin Smith, MAPEI Corporation’s National Sales Director – Concrete Restoration Systems, stated, “We were very confident that we could partner with Black Buffalo and their full range of 3D printers to provide an exceptional solution, as this technology is well within our wheelhouse. Black Buffalo 3D met with our R&D team, and we quickly developed the correct solution for this project – it’s called Planitop 3D.”

Planitop 3D is currently in the verification process for meeting the ICC-ES AC509 standard for 3D-printed walls. Black Buffalo 3D is the first company in the world to submit material for proving its ability to meet this globally recognized criteria. Milestones that have already been achieved include several 13-hour+ printing sessions on NEXCON printers by the Black Buffalo 3D team in Elizabeth, NJ, and a multitude of successful tests for strength, usability, resilience and longevity. The verification process follows the stringent testing requirements of the ICC-ES AC509 guideline for 3D-printed walls. More than 50 countries recognize this guideline for 3D-printed walls. The official results and reporting are expected to be released in the near future.

“MAPEI is proud to be involved in this evolution in construction and the housing market,” Di Geso stated.

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