Robots are increasingly used in the construction process, from sketching an idea to moulding it. ABB robots have been instrumental in the completion of many projects.
Let’s take a closer look at the contribution of ABB technology to 3D printing of buildings, the processing of wood details and the production of non-standard concrete moulds.
Bringing 3D printing to construction
Digital design tools have been at the centre of building design for decades, but construction itself has stubbornly remained a manual process. In 2018, Arup and CLS Architetti proved that a combination of 3D printing robotics could change all that. See the VIDEO.
ABB robots were used to ensure that the architects’ work was accurately reproduced in concrete. The flexibility of the software of robots allowed architects, engineers and other professionals to collaborate and solve problems in real-time.
The big challenge was developing a concrete mix that could keep up with the superhuman speed of the 3D printer and dry in record time. The project’s material experts were able to handle this. Although concrete is a naturally sustainable building material, the real advantage was how little waste was generated during 3D construction. The accuracy of the printing process ensured that every centimetre of material was used. Given that 32% of today’s waste is generated in construction, this alone is a major improvement.
This project showed how new technologies and creative thinking can solve long-term challenges.
ABB is the world’s first house in a new digital construction process
In February this year, the so-called “DFAB HOUSE”, the first building in the world to be built using a combination of new digital building techniques, was opened in Dübendorf, Switzerland. ABB technology played a key role in the construction of the building.
The building modules made of wood were prepared by ABB robots in the Zurich ETH laboratory. Similar to the 3D printing process, the robots precisely cut out complex pieces of wood at the required length and angle. See the VIDEO.
„DFAB HOUSE” also uses other ABB solutions. The ABB building automation system controls lighting and roller blinds, provides energy consumption evaluation and optimization, and interacts with other automation systems. In addition, ABB inverters conduct electricity from the solar panels on the roof to the electricity network of the house. ABB also offers a variety of other components such as electricity distributors, switches, sockets and USB charging ports.
Rethinking the construction industry
Bladerunner is a multi-stakeholder collaboration project in Denmark that wants to revolutionize the construction industry by facilitating the production of organic moulds at comparable price levels to those of standard moulds. The new technology offers a serious alternative to the existing ones as it allows to create something different from monotonous concrete structures.
Bladerunner uses expanded polystyrene (EPS) for rapid production of non-standard concrete moulds. In Denmark and elsewhere, the number of architectural designs with advanced geometry is growing rapidly in the construction industry, so there is a demand for technologies that can improve the design of architects without increasing the construction budget. See the VIDEO.
Bladerunner also aims to promote the flexibility of concrete production, as each element can be easily adapted to different shapes, sizes and materials with the help of a modular software system and robots. Flexibility also facilitates on-site production, including cutting jigs directly on site.