Sep 22, 2016 | By Tess

It has been an exciting week for 3D printing construction in Europe, as just days ago Swiss construction company LafargeHolcim and French large-scale 3D printing specialists XtreeE unveiled the continent’s first 3D printed concrete load bearing structural element. In line with the 3D printed structural element, Europe’s first 3D printed concrete pavilion was also unveiled on the Dassault Systèmes Campus in Vélizy, France. The Pavilion, which was created on behalf of the Ile-de-France regional authority, was realized in collaboration with XtreeE, Dassault Systèmes, ABB, and LarfargeHolcim.

The 3D printed Pavilion, by all rights a collaborative effort, was built using robotics company ABB’s industrial IRB8700 robot, and was made out of one of LafargeHolcim’s new experimental 3D printing concrete materials, Ultra-High Performance Concrete Ductal. The 3D Pavilion’s design, which was inspired by organic shapes, was conceived of by XtreeE and was worked on and optimized using Dassault Systèmes’ innovative 3D simulation technology, which allowed for advanced structural analysis, and topographical optimization (for instance it took in account resistance against earthquakes).

As mentioned, the 3D Pavilion’s design was inspired by natural elements, including coffee beans and trees, which can be discerned upon inspecting the building. This was achieved using Generative Design Exploration, which let the designers and architects explore and create biomimetic forms. The structure’s shape, if you can see, does bear a rounded-pointed shape similar to the coffee bean, while the interior of the small structure is notable for its tree root inspired texture.

More than just showcasing the capabilities of 3D printing construction, the recently unveiled Pavilion effectively demonstrates the potentials and future of sustainable architecture and construction. That is, by using digital design technologies, the companies involved were able to create an optimized building design, meaning that the walls are not solid but are printed with a complex support structure inside them to both maximize strength and reduce material consumption. Additionally, because the structure was additively manufactured, no additional material was wasted in the Pavilion’s production.

Not only was the Pavilion itself 3D printed, but each of its small scale prototypes was also additively manufactured using equipment from Dassault’s FabLab. As you can visualize in the 360 degree video posted about the 3D Pavilion, these small 3D printed models were a crucial part of each stage of development as they allowed each team-member to see the most up-to-date iteration of the structure.

For the actual construction of the Pavilion, ABB supplied its IRB8700 robot, the company’s largest industrial robot to date, which built up the structure layer by layer out of LafargeHolcim’s Ultra-High Performance Concrete Ductal material. Ductal, for its part, boasts being 6 to 8 times stronger than regular concrete and contains metal fibers which not only make it strong but also ductile. During the 3D printing, the walls and roof of the Pavilion were produced simultaneously, along with a built in seating structure inside the pavilion. The whole printing process took only 20 hours to complete.

Once completed, the three-meter tall 3D Pavilion was transported to the Dassault Systèmes Campus where it was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. A  number of notable people were present at the ribbon cutting, including Valérie Pécresse, the president of the Ile-de-France regional authority, Serge Dassault, the founder of the Dassault Group, Bernard Chalès, the director general of Dassault Systèmes, Philippe Morel, founder of XTreeE, and Pascal Thévenot, the deputy-mayor of Vélizy.

photos from Dassault Systemes

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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