Dubai awards tender for first 3D-printed laboratory building

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has awarded Convrgnt Value Engineering the tender announced last May to design and construct the first building in the UAE to be fully printed onsite and the first 3D-printed laboratory building in the world.

The laboratory will be built as part of the Research & Development (R&D) centre at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, and will conduct research on drones, and 3D-printing technology.

“Dewa’s vision is inspired by the wise words of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who said that, “The future will depend on 3D printing technologies in all aspects of our life, starting from houses we live in, the streets we use, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the food we eat,”” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dewa.

“The construction of the 3D-printed lab, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, reflects our on-going efforts to achieve the directives of our wise government. The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is a unique global initiative to use technology for the service of humanity, and promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub for 3D printing technology by 2030,” added Al Tayer.

“We are extremely pleased with the award and even more so since this will be the first 3D printed laboratory in the world and the first 3D building in the UAE that is fully-printed onsite. 3D printed building technology is not only new to the Gulf but also the world and we are fortunate to be at the forefront with this project,” said Vibin Paul from Convrgnt.

“The building will be printed using a system of robotic arms at the desert location. The risks of working in an unshielded open environment have to be addressed and the logistics accurately controlled during the printing operation,” added Paul.

The laboratory will conduct research on drones and 3D-printing technology to support Dewa’s ongoing projects. It will conduct research on the use of drones to develop the performance of photovoltaic panels to increase their efficiency, credibility, and lower their cost, as well as study and test different photovoltaic technologies. Dewa has been using drones for the last three years to monitor its electricity and water production, transmission, and distribution systems.

The drones and 3D-printing lab includes 4 sub-laboratories: the Electronics Lab, the Software Lab, the Mechanical Lab, and the Prototype Lab. The project will also include an outdoor-testing facility. The Electronics Lab will conduct electrical design and repair services for drones that can be used by R&D staff, and Dewa employees. Our staff will be able to design and build customised circuits for different drone applications. The Software Lab will develop and provide Dewa with innovative products, research, and educational solutions.

The lab will solve issues and develop solutions to meet national objectives and Dewa’s requirements, and will run tests on avionic systems, flight controls, and electric power units. The Software Lab will research the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of software systems. Particular areas of interest include operating systems, mobile computing, cloud computing, virtualisation, distribution systems, and software engineering. The Mechanical Lab will conduct theoretical and experimental research into phenomena related to the behaviour of certain materials. This lab will develop prototypes for different products that allow engineers to further develop their ideas. The outdoor flight-testing facility will feature a landing area equipped with sensors, and a power, water, and data line.