14Trees Launches Africa-made 3D Construction Printer

The Iroko printer can make one and two-storey buildings.

By Liz Bains on
20th July 2023

14Trees has announced the launch of a commercial construction 3D printer made in Africa. 

Known as Iroko, the printer will be delivered to initial customers in Africa from the fourth quarter. Sales in Europe will commence from 2024.

Iroko has the capacity to print one and two-storey residential and commercial buildings. 

14Trees is a joint venture between Swiss cement maker Holcim and British International Investment, the UK's development finance institution. 

Holcim says Iroko will help to scale up sustainable construction, building better with less. The 3D printer reduces the carbon footprint of buildings by digitally optimising material use and is adapted to printing with low-carbon inks such as Holcim’s TectorPrint, which can lower a building’s carbon footprint by up to 70%. 

14Trees has built prototype schools and affordable houses in Malawi and Kenya using 3D printing.

Miljan Gutovic, regional head for Europe at Holcim said in a statement: “I am excited to see 14Trees shaping the future of construction. This innovation will help accelerate construction 3D printing around the world, fully aligned with Holcim’s mission to decarbonise building at scale.”

François Perrot, managing director of 14Trees added: “The launch of this Africa-made printer builds on our legacy of 3D printing on the continent, from building the world’s first 3D-printed school in Malawi to the world’s largest 3D-printed affordable housing project in Kenya. I look forward to scaling up this transformational technology even further with Iroko, to decarbonise building in Africa and beyond.”

Iroko was co-designed and manufactured by PMSA, a leader in construction equipment in Africa. Designed to fit into a single container for easy transportation, it can be mounted manually without a crane or telehandler and does not require purchasing extensions to build a second floor. 

The printer is equipped with a weather station to provide the operator with real-time conditions that enable contractors to modify parameters accordingly, such as speed and water quantities. Laser systems control the print quality 50 times per second.

Top photo: 3D printed school in Malawi (Source: 14Trees website)

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