This is the UAE’s plan to be a leader in 3D printing

April 24, 2017 11:00 am

The UAE has the reputation of being home to several world firsts. In the year just past, the country added another feather to its crown when it unveiled the world’s first functioning 3D-printed office building in Dubai.

The emirate announced the opening of the arc-shaped one-storey office, with floorspace of roughly 2,700 square feet, in May 2016. It houses the temporary headquarters of Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).

The prototype building was built in 17 days at a cost of roughly $140,000 using a 3D printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens provided the technology for surveillance, access control and fire protection for the office using the company’s building management platform, Desigo CC, which is said to reduce operating costs of up to 20 per cent.

The launch of the 3D-printed office not only set a benchmark for the UAE and the world alike but also became a launch pad for the country’s future expeditions in the technology.

Global hub

Dubai aims to become the global hub of 3D printing by 2030. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, envisages making a quarter of the emirate’s buildings 3D printing technology-based by 2030.

The emirate also has Dubai 3D Printing Strategy to streamline its efforts to become the torchbearer in adoption of the technology. The strategy is said to focus on three major sectors: construction, medical products and consumer products. The three sectors based on the technology together are expected to reach a value of AED7.5 billion in 2025.

In October, DFF signed an agreement with American software giant Autodesk to build a platform for a $100 million investment fund.

The fund will support entrepreneurs and businesses with innovative ideas in the fast growing technology. It also aimed at speed up the establishment of a regional 3D printing market.

3D printing adoption

In May last year, Dubai Holding, the investment vehicle owned by Sheikh Mohammed,  launched the International Centre for 3D Printing, which include research centres and laboratories for testing materials used in 3D printed products.

A month later, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi filed a patent for ultra lightweight metals and plastics that it designed and produced through 3D printing.

Mubadala Development Company, parent company of Masdar, joined hands with Siemens to expand and integrate 3D printing technologies into business frameworks.

The country has also achieved much progress in the future technology in healthcare and education sectors. Abu Dhabi Education Council has already introduced 3D printers to many schools in the capital city.

Recently, doctors in Dubai were able to perform a kidney operation using 3D-modelling technology.

All of this just goes to show that the UAE is leaving no stone unturned to make its Vision 2030 a reality.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.