Swarm 3D Printing Concrete Structures
Written by: Brian Albright
Publish Date: November 12, 2018
Potentially, the technology could be expanded to create teams of mobile robots that print larger concrete forms and structures. According to the researchers, the approach allows companies to print structures on demand, and to do so much faster.
The research, from Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong and the NTU Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, was published in Automation in Construction earlier this year.
The robots printed a concrete structure that measured 1.86 x 0.46 x 0.13m in just eight minutes. The structure achieved full strength after one week of hardening. A computer maps out the design and assigns parts of the structure to each robot. The system also sets out a path for each robot to ensure the printing arms won’t collide during production. The computer also uses precision location positioning to ensure proper alignment and printing joints are overlapped.
“We envisioned a team of robots which can be transported to a work site, print large pieces of concrete structures and then move on to the next project once the parts have been printed,” Pham said. “This research builds on the knowledge we have acquired from developing a robot to autonomously assemble an Ikea chair. But this latest project is more complex in terms of planning, execution, and on a much larger scale.”The researchers plan to expand the system to include more robots, which will allow them to print larger structures.
Professor Pham was in the news earlier in 2018 when two of his robots assembled an Ikea chair in less than 9 minutes.
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This article is written by Brian Albright
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