Partnership signed to develop 3D concrete printing

12 December 2014

Builders Skanska and Loughborough University in the UK have signed a collaboration agreement to develop the use of 3D concrete printing in construction.

A team at the School of Civil and Building Engineering in Loughborough has worked on the development of 3D printing technology for the construction industry since 2007 and has developed 3D concrete printers fitted to a gantry and a robotic arm, which is now in its second-generation form.

The Concrete Printing team has a multidisciplinary background in architecture, construction technology, mechanical and manufacturing engineering, computer-aided design and materials science.

Additive manufacturing techniques are able to build physical objects directly from computer generated instructions, which means users can create complicated shapes that cannot be manufactured by conventional processes.

Concrete Printing is one such process and uses a type of concrete that is deposited very precisely under computer control. It works by laying down successive layers of concrete until the entire object is created.

Potential applications include doubly-curved cladding panels, complex structural components, architectural components, and the ability to work in hazardous environments.

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