CAMBER - Concrete Additive Manufacturing for the Built Environment using Robotics

Lead Participant: Skanska Technology Limited

Abstract

Concrete is widely used in construction due to its ability to provide structural capacity andfunction cost effectively and at scale. However, its role in construction does not lend itself tocreativity in design. High-end clients typically demand state-of-the-art designs, presenting achallenge in a sector where every building is essentially different to the last. The CAMBER project will seek to develop an innovative 3D concrete printing (3DCP) platformthat meets these demands. 3DCP has the potential to deliver more creative designs whilst stillmaintaining building function cost effectively. However, there are challenges that need to beovercome in terms of materials supply to the printing nozzle, providing support material for theconcrete prior to setting to produce complex geometries and overhangs, finishing afterplacement to provide a suitable surface and materials formulation. Work is also needed to linkthe 3DCP to building information modeling capabilities. Additionally a 3DCP capability needsto be mobile such that it can be readily set up and used on a construction site (or in temporary,near-site factory) in order to optimize productivity in line with recent construction processinnovation.Building on recent R&D work and IP developed within the consortium CAMBER will addressthese barriers and opportunities. Led by Skanska to ensure that user needs remain a focus andto provide a route to market, it brings together a strong, supply chain-orientated consortiumfrom construction (Skanska, Tarmac, Fosters + Partners, BRE), manufacturing automation(ABB, MTC, Loughborough University) and an SME digital solutions provider (HAL). It builds onprevious R&D work (and IP) by project partners (including innovation in the application of BIMto product design, as well as materials, process and finishing). It will develop a mobile additivemanufacturing platform (and associated supply and processing capabilities) for the costeffective,mainstream 3D printing of a wide range of large concrete components (includingcomplex geometries), such as façade units, wall panels, partitions, street furniture etc. inprecast concrete factories or via the mobile platform in a near/onsite flying factory. The initialfocus will be on meeting the requirements for 'high-end' markets. However, successfulimplementation and subsequent economies of scale will mean that the approach will be costeffective in more mainstream construction markets. The platform will integrate recent digitalconstruction sector innovations -- especially Building Information Modelling (BIM).

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