Historically, the construction industry was one of the least automated and least technologically advanced industries across the globe. Construction technology companies around the world, however, are working relentlessly to transform this. There are numerous examples of firms introducing innovative technology in the construction industry such as driverless technology for road paving and rollers, innovative communication tools such as LaborChart, Fieldwire, Skysite, etc.
In recent years, several construction technology companies have also introduced robotics solutions such as Material Unit Life Enhancer (MULE)—which has the ability to handle and place various materials on construction sites automatically. Incepted in 2017, COBOD is one such company that strives towards full automation in the construction industry by designing robotic 3D construction printers and automated processes for the building site. In 2017 itself, the company picked up steam by printing Europe’s first 3D printed building—BOD (Building on Demand).
Addressing the Technology Needs
COBOD primarily focuses on construction companies, prefab manufacturers, real estate developers, and other entrepreneurs that want to automate their construction process or go greener. All these sectors are also faced with worker shortages and high development costs—that in addition are addressed by COBOD’s technology.
The company also serves concrete and cement plants, and universities that want to use its printers for R&D purposes. Universities get the freedom of experimenting with new technology, as well as developing new materials since COBOD’s technology is open to several different solutions.
The BOD2 Model
BOD2 is COBOD’s current flagship model. It is a modular 3D construction printer that is easy to use, maintain, and transport, and it is the fastest printer on the market—so the user can create more square meters of walls and buildings in a shorter period of time. The modular nature of the printer makes it easy to adapt it to many different projects such as—printing homes, industrial buildings, concrete windmill towers, etc.
The way COBOD’s technology is designed makes it easy for the customer to work with their own local materials. There is no need to buy the printing material from the company. It rather works with the customers to find the optimal material solution for their needs. “The industry is conservative and changes did not happen for a long time. Our BOD2 printer is a big step forward towards more automated and sustainable construction, circumventing a shortage of skilled labor that many markets are facing,” says Henrik Lund-Nielsen (Founder and General manager of COBOD).
A Multi-faceted Leader
As the General Manager and founder of COBOD, Henrik oversees all processes of the company and ensures they run as smoothly as possible. Product and process development are close to his heart and he particularly ensures that the customers are served well, efficient, and fast. Under his auspices, COBODs technology and printers have accomplished numerous achievements such as printing the first 3D building in Europe in 2017, the first two-story 3D building in Europe in 2019 made by KampC, to the first three-story building made in March 2020 by its German partner PERI. Alongside these achievements, the company takes pride in printing a 10-meter windmill tower for GE Renewable and the first 3D buildings printed in Africa by LafargeHorcim/14 Trees.
Changing the Minds
As a construction technology company, the biggest hurdle for COBOD was communicating the possibilities of new technologies. As the construction industry is conservative, changing minds is one of COBOD’s main goals. The company does that by informing the public as much as it can, by making instructional videos, reacting to all questions sent by them, as well as sharing its success stories with the customers.
Steady and Continuous Growth
The unforeseen outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the most disastrous pandemics recently. The pandemic had severe impacts on how businesses operated globally. Talking about the impacts of the pandemic on COBOD, Henrik says, “We cannot speak for other 3DCP manufacturers, but in our case, the impact cannot be said to be drastic as we have managed to grow our business despite the pandemic situation.”
The pandemic did influence the way COBOD is selling to potential customers since they cannot visit the company in Denmark. However, the company adapted with video meetings, streaming of printing tests, and took advantage of the digital services. Its growth in 2020 was steady since it doubled the order intake compared to the year before.
Expanding the Automation
COBOD’s technology can cater to the needs of several different customers, be they in North America or Africa. The software and tools provided by the company are adaptive so the user can use the printer on a phone or laptop. Henrik adds that digitization has helped the company reach its customers across the globe, troubleshooting, and being of assistance even during a pandemic year.
For the near future, COBOD is preparing more models of its BOD printers that will expand the automation of the construction process. Its goal is to be able to print higher, faster, and bigger as well as to do more with the printer, for instant insolation, still being flexible with the material needs of its customers.
“For 2021, we will continue to grow our company, as we already now have double the amount of orders that we received in 2020,” adds Henrik. To cope with the increased demand, COBOD is adding more people and production capabilities. It envisions its printers to reach many corners of the globe and push the boundaries of what is possible. Henrik expects many of COBOD’s customers to go public with the exciting projects that are underway with the company’s printers.
Read Full Magazine:- The 10 Compelling 3D Printing Companies, 2021