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Japan contractor uses 3D printing to build curved-wall structures

Obayashi says new tech will lead to design freedom and reduced costs

A structure shown to the media that Obayashi built with 3D printing technology. (Photo by Shugo Tamura)

TOKYO -- Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation recently unveiled a structure featuring curved walls and other parts built using 3D printing, showing off the potential for the technology as rising costs and labor shortages put pressure on the industry.

The walls of the structure were made with mortar sprayed by a robot arm from Yaskawa Electric, a major Japanese robot and automation specialist, at the Obayashi facility. Filling the walls with fiber-reinforced concrete gives them enough earthquake resistance to comply with the Building Standard Law, without using steel frames or reinforcing bars.

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