Scientists from a University in Singapore have developed tech that manages to print a concrete part from 3D print technology with two robots working simultaneously. This new smart technology is known as swarm printing where two or more robots work in unison to produce an item or in this case a concrete structure. This smart technology paves the way for further developments in the future whereby multiple robots can develop more concrete articles by working together.
This smart technology was published in a renowned magazine for civil engineering called Automation in Construction and involves the same scientist who was behind two robots that assembled an Ikea chair in about 9 mins.
Printing Concrete using this smart Technology:
The smart technology behind printing concrete structures, uses a special mix of cement that is suitable for 3D printing. With printing concrete structures, people will be able to produce more complex structures than ever before plus the structures will be made in a fraction of the time that it takes at present.
Challenges of 3D printing Large Concrete Structures:
The major problem when it came to 3D printing concrete structures was that it required huge 3D printers that had to be bigger than what was being printed and space constraints made it difficult for that to happen.
Here is where smart technology comes in. Smart technology uses multiple robots that work in tandem to produce a concrete structure.
With smart technology, concrete structures can be made anywhere provided that there is just enough space for the robots to move around printing concrete structures.
What’s more is that these robots printed a concrete structure in just 8 minutes which took full two days to harden and one whole week to strengthen once it was ready for installation.
Problems in using Smart Technology to Print Concrete Structures:
One of the major challenges while printing concrete structures in tandem was that both robots had to work together at the same time in order to do so. This meant that both robots had to move around without banging into one another.
Another problem was that both robots had to work at the same time, it is not possible for one robot to produce a part and then join it with the other when the other is done. The joints in the concrete structure would not bind properly if they were made separately and then joint later on, this would result in a weakened structure.
The Solution is Smart Technology:
The solution to the above was found out by scientists first mapping out the design they wanted printed and then devising a special algorithm that ensures that the robotic arms do not collide while working on printing the concrete structure. This is all achieved using smart technology.
The two robots also have precise locations which they move into in order to print the structure without bumping into one and another. At the end, the special concrete mix is added which has been evenly blended out to make the structure.