How Autodesk plans to bring 3D printing robots to construction sites

Autodesk has come up with an additive manufacturing "toolbox" for the construction industry, with robots and 3D printing systems coming together in a portable shipping container.

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Autodesk is showcasing its vision to bring robots to work sites for on-demand, 3D printing of building parts. The design software company said the goal is to address the skilled labor shortage facing the construction industry, but also to help the industry keep pace with rising housing demands using newer manufacturing principles and practices.

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According to Autodesk, a rising global population will lead to increased demand for buildings. This demand, combined with the short supply of qualified workers, has pushed the construction industry to consider new building techniques, including the way parts of buildings are made.

Autodesk's solution to this supposed supply and demand housing crisis is a sort of additive manufacturing "toolbox" for the construction industry, with robots and 3D printing systems coming together in a portable shipping container.

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The idea is that various robots and printing systems -- capable of printing large, usable metal components -- can be packaged up in a shipping container and sent from job site to job site. This method, the company says, enables buildings to be built quickly, parts to be produced more accurately, and helps to fill the construction labor shortage.

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Autodesk said the robot stuffed shipping container will make its way around Europe this winter.

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