The US Air Force and Japan are collaborating to construct 3D printing technology for the building of cutting-edge military infrastructure.


Branch Technology, a venture specializing in 3D printed structures, recently celebrated an expansion of its investor base with Global Brain, the investment arm of Japan’s Tokyu Construction, joining its Series B round of funding. This collaboration signifies more than just a financial boost; it represents Branch’s commitment to expanding its reach beyond the United States. Located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Branch has developed innovative processes that set it apart from its competitors. At the core of these processes is the proprietary Cellular Fabrication (C-Fab) technology. By combining large-scale robotic 3D printing, custom geometric algorithms, high-performance composite materials, and intelligent building science, Branch offers cutting-edge solutions for various industries. One of the standout features of their technology is the ability to 3D print lattice structures that comply with US building codes. While Branch has been a pioneer in these advancements, other industry leaders also recognize the value of 3D printing. Tokyu Construction, for example, sees the potential for achieving architectural designs that were previously considered too complex. In addition to the aesthetic appeal, 3D printing factory structures could significantly reduce construction-related carbon emissions and increase automation, leading to reduced labor costs. This investment aligns with Tokyu’s long-term goals of decarbonization and zero waste. By partnering with Branch through Global Brain, Tokyu aims to leverage 3D printing expertise to transform productivity on construction sites. Branch has been experiencing tremendous success, with sales soaring from less than $2 million to over $12 million in just one year. Their innovative approach has even caught the attention of NASA. Branch secured first place in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, which envisions the construction of shelters in space by autonomous machines. Their unique 3D printing techniques allow for the creation of curved surfaces that are difficult to achieve with traditional methods, all while maintaining durability. This approach ensures that the structures are lightweight, giving them an advantage over conventional materials like concrete and steel. With the investment from Global Brain, Branch can expand its horizons and dream bigger. The company plans to tap into the Japanese enterprise client base and develop new products. One notable achievement in their commitment to sustainability is securing a $1.13 million contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to pioneer a 3D printed retrofit system. This venture aims to enhance insulation for exterior walls, addressing challenges such as installation maintenance, carbon footprint reduction, and building resilience. Buildings contribute 40% of global carbon emissions, making solutions like retrofitting crucial for the environment, and Branch is actively working to address this issue. In addition, Branch recently collaborated with the city of Chattanooga to design 3D printed shelters for homeless individuals—an impactful demonstration of their social responsibility. These shelters can be rapidly assembled, providing an immediate solution for those in need. In 2022, Branch also partnered with NASA, Stanford University, and architectural firm Foster + Partners to introduce the Lunar Habitat Demonstration Structure—a prototype envisioning the construction of habitats in space using 3D printing technology. While there are other players in the 3D printing construction market, such as ICON, Italian construction giant WASP, Apis Cor, and Contour Crafting, each firm brings its unique approach and specialization, highlighting the vast potential and diversity within the industry. Branch, however, asserts that it is reshaping the construction and manufacturing landscape with its expertise in 3D printing. To stay up-to-date with the latest news from the 3D printing industry, be sure to follow Branch Technology and receive information and offers from third-party vendors.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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