Working with business
3D concrete printing
- Revolutionising the construction industry
As modern architecture makes ever greater demands on construction specialists, meeting these developments creatively and cost effectively poses a range of testing challenges.
Funded by the EPSRC and IMCRC, researchers in the School of Civil and Building Engineering have been developing 3D printing technology for the construction industry for almost a decade.
The team have developed computer controlled 3D printers that precisely deposit successive layers of high-performance concrete to form complex structural components – such as curved cladding panels and architectural features – that cannot be manufactured by conventional processes.
The technique also facilitates the inclusion of increasingly complex building services infrastructure from the outset instead of time-consuming and costly on-site retrofitting.
In November 2014, the team embarked on an 18-month development programme with global project development and construction group – Skanska – to create the world’s first commercial concrete printing robot – and, ultimately, revolutionise the construction industry.
The 3D printing process facilitates the manufacture of complex structural components that cannot be produced by conventional processes.
18-MONTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
In November 2014, the University signed a collaboration agreement with Skanska to develop the use of 3D printing in construction.