After a long chase and thanks to some of the people behind Chattanooga’s vibrant manufacturing startup scene, we had a chance to catch up with David Fuehrer, Director of Sales & New Business Development at Branch Technology. We spoke about the projects behind one of the hottest construction 3D printing startups, Branch Technology, how C-FAB technology is turning them into reality.
What exactly do you do at Branch Technology?
“Branch Technology is an architectural fabricator specializing in large-scale 3D printing. We offer comprehensive solutions at all stages of a project, including engineering, manufacturing and installation.”
How did the company start?
“Branch Technology is today the first company in the world to successfully 3D print interior walls to scale. We use the world’s largest freeform 3D printer to print cellular matrixes out of various types of polymers. Founder Platt Boyd moved Branch to Chattanooga in 2015 to participate in GIGTANK, a boutique accelerator for startups that is the only startup accelerator wired to a metro-wide gigabit network, and ultimately decided to relocate his company permanently to take advantage of the city’s many resources.”
What your most significant ongoing projects?
“We hosted a design competition to build the world’s first Freeform 3D printed home and we are currently in the process of constructing a 3D printed house in Chattanooga. “Curve Appeal,” the winning design presented by Chicago-based firm WATG Urban Architecture Studio, is expected to break ground this year. Branch’s futuristic technology even goes beyond Earth. Last yeat the company won first place NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge last year, securing $250,000 in prize money.”
How does your technology work?
“We use a proprietary 3D printing process called Cellular Fabrication (C-FAB) to creates custom open-cell structures to be used either as standalone structures or scaffolds for conventional construction materials and architectural components. Using C-FAB, we are able to achieve impressive strength to weight ratios using fiber reinforced polymers – while matching the same volumetric speed as the fastest layered 3D printer in the world (but using 20 x less materials.)”
How does it differ from your competitors’ technology?
“Branch Technology’s selling point is that using 3D printed matrices as the starting point to assemble highly organic and gestural forms that bring custom construction costs within reach to a wider group of architects and their clients. We ask not how much they can print, but how little. Realizing sustainability with an inherently zero-waste process, Branch delivers products that offer improved materials strength, reduced energy use and job site efficiencies.”