Cemex and portfolio company Cobod develop scalable material solution for concrete 3D printing

September 23, 2022 | Case Study

The collaboration between Cemex and Cobod International demonstrates how incumbent materials companies can leverage their expertise in partnership with innovative technology startups. Cemex had scouted construction 3D printing startups since the mid-2010s and in 2021 began to collaborate closely with Denmark-based Cobod on the development of a concrete admixture. In 2022, the Cemex corporate venture capital arm invested an undisclosed amount in Cobod.

The need to customize the material mix at each site has been a major obstacle for construction 3D printing. Cemex’s new admixture D.fab enables builders to use conventional concrete, largely solving the standardization challenge. The admixture has two components: A superplasticizer improves the pumpability of the concrete mix, and a second additive, injected at the printer nozzle, makes the deposited concrete stiffer. The resulting D.fab concrete has comparable strength to that of conventional concrete and better durability (in lab testing) and a lower carbon footprint than those of mortar typically used in 3D printing. However, the concrete is still a significant CO2 emitter and only looks sustainable in comparison.

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