In the end of 2018 Umeå University and numerous regional companies and other parties in the north of Sweden, will create a World Expo, presenting what they have achieved in what’s called the +Project. This project is all about finding new ways to collaborate around the sustainable building, digital manufacturing and 3D technology areas.
One of the priorities will be to produce materials based on cellulose for full-scale 3D printing for the building section, spanning all the way from doors, walls and weather-stripping to complete houses.
Linnéa Therese Dimitriou, Creative Director at Sliperiet, which is a part of Umeå University, talks about their upcoming plans: “There is already technology in place to print parts of houses in concrete, for instance. Now, with this project, the region is one step closer to the front edge in the area of digital manufacturing and so-called mass-customization. This opens up for incredibly exciting future opportunities for the regional forest and construction industry, as well as for regional raw material.”
The project has received funds equivalent to USD 4.3 million, whereof half of the fundings come from the EU Structural Fonds, and the other half from several other collaboration partners. Participating in the project is Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå School of Business and Economics, the Department of Informatics and the Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, together with research institutes like the Interactive Institute (Swedish ICT) and SP Processum. Companies such as White Architects and Revenues take part in the project, as well as the Network for sustainable building and administering in cold climates.
The +Project targets industries that are small to medium-sized, working in the construction and wood sector, but also aims to reach creative markets represented by IT, design and architecture. The large collaboration between companies, entrepreneurs and creators together with the research institutes and the university will focus on developing new prototypes for a wide array of products and services, all based on the raw materials and infrastructure that can be found regionally.
The directive is to create prototypes suitable for commercialization by companies and entrepreneurs in the region. While working on the constructive parts, including the 3D printed cellulose based house parts, the collaboration also intends to find and explore new circular models for business and production, as well as creating a competence centre for sustainable building and administration.
Looks like it’s all set to launch even bigger collaborations, cellulose printing modern homes and business buildings both regionally and internationally, in other words, creating a whole new niche of job opportunities and expertise areas.