25 July 2017
HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), reviewed the construction work of the 3D-printed lab, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The lab is the first building in the UAE to be fully printed onsite, and the first such 3D-printed laboratory building in the world. The lab aims to study the science and technique of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and 3D-printing. The completion rate of the project has reached 87%.
Senior DEWA officials accompanying Al Tayer included Abdullah Obaidullah, Executive Vice President of Water & Civil; Jamal Shaheen Al Hammadi, Vice President of Special Projects; and Mohammed Al Shamsi, Vice President of Civil Projects Engineering & Water Maintenance.
DEWA is keen to support the Dubai 3D printing strategy, to create a well-equipped infrastructure for research, development, design and manufacturing activities within a global regulatory framework that sets out technology application and product specifications to deliver 3D-printed products, at a competitive cost and with high quality. DEWA also supports the national capabilities of researchers, designers, and innovators to bring the best minds from around the world, to make Dubai the world’s leading 3D-printing hub by 2030. In order to provide students with the opportunity to learn about the latest technologies and practical experiences, DEWA has invited a number of university students and specialised academicians to attend and participate in the lab’s building stages. This project will mark the beginning of radical transformations in the world of design and construction, as 3D-printing technology will reduce both cost and time; the two most important elements in construction projects.
DEWA is studying the possibility of using 3D-printing technology in the development of spare parts, to improve the performance of UAVs, based on Artificial Intelligence in the maintenance and operations in its work. DEWA is also studying the possibility of utilising this technology, to promote innovation and creativity, in cooperation with prestigious research centres and universities around the world. Through its R&D initiatives, DEWA is utilising 3D-printing and additive manufacturing, as innovative solutions for its internal printing operations for non-metal spare parts for equipment. This works to reduce procurement time and reduce costs, prolong the life of the equipment, and promote innovation at DEWA.
The 3D-printed lab includes 4 sub-laboratories, with a capacity of 132 square metres: the Electronics Lab, the Software Lab, the Mechanical Lab, and the Prototype Lab, as well as an outdoor-testing facility, with a capacity of 400 square metres.
The Electronics Lab will conduct electrical design and repair services for drones that can be used by R&D staff, and DEWA employees. The 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.