Fast moving development of materials right next to the house factory

Author: Lars Wikholm, Wiksfors Technology © 2020

We need new ways of thinking in the house building industry and we need new ways of developing designs based on material development and machine technology. This can only be done if the production, design, and machine builder work closely together. Or even better, within the same organization.

When a real Factory of the Future arrives, it will not look different because we have automated the processes we use today. It will look different because we will have invented entirely new processes and designs for building houses requiring entirely new manufacturing techniques.

Making new materials and mixing materials both existing and coming is one of the more interesting future developments in the building industry. One of the most interesting developments is the sheeting of ceiling, floor, and walls.

Think of the following: we could get sheets of the size of a wall, ceiling, or floor. This would not only give less handling, less fastening, less filling, less grinding, it would also provide a better mechanical structure and a stronger box both in terms of delivery, storms, and earthquakes. In addition (on the contrary to what many believe) logistics, transportation costs and quality could be much better than it is today, with standard sized sheets.

In order to make the next generation house manufacturer, it will require a change in choice of material. We need solid innovation and rethinking of the supply chain. We need entrepreneurs from the material supply side that have an understanding of this new way of thinking. We need to find smart methods on how to produce the new materials and not least sustainable material choices and transports. For example, small factories producing raw material, located just beside the main house factory. 

Starship on its own rises 50 meters (over 160 feet) tall. SpaceX chose stainless steel for the rocket’s exterior material because, among other reasons, Musk said it is lighter and can withstand higher temperatures than materials such as composites.

Steel, solid wood, light steel studs, CLT, GLT and other material in a new mix would probably be a part of the future solution. In addition we probably will find some new, not jet invented, materials around the corner. New inventions are exciting and of great interest but we should not neglect what we already have. Most materials and methods are already invented but “purification” of old material and methods are mostly what leads the industries forward. E.g. Starship and batteries made by Elon Musk.

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