Dec 16, 2016 | By Benedict

CyBe Construction, a construction technology company from the Netherlands, has unveiled the CyBe RC 3Dp, a mobile concrete 3D printer that moves on caterpillar tracks. According to CyBe, the 3D printer’s tank-like transport system makes it easy to use for on-site additive manufacturing.

The new CyBe RC 3Dp concrete 3D printer is set upon caterpillar tracks

Concrete 3D printing in the construction industry is a growing area of additive manufacturing, with digital concrete deposition systems now enabling the construction of 3D printed buildings and other large structures. Excitingly, this new generation of additive construction machinery can be found all over the world, with China, the Middle East, and Europe just some of the regions in which 3D printed buildings are becoming a hot talking point.

Concrete 3D printing is, of course, still in its infancy, and this lack of development has shown up a few weaknesses in the present technology. For example, due to the viscosity of the materials involved, concrete 3D printers are generally less accurate than plastic or metal deposition systems. They are also, on the whole, a lot slower than other 3D printing systems, and can also be prohibitively expensive because of the technology and materials required.

Accuracy and efficiency is a sticking point, but there’s an even bigger problem with concrete 3D printers: mobility. Because of their size and the size of the objects they need to print, concrete 3D printers (and 3D printed concrete objects) are often hard to move. And while immobility is fine for your standard FDM 3D printer (since you can simply take a printed plastic part away with you), concrete 3D printing is rendered more-or-less obsolete if those printed concrete objects cannot be moved. After all, buildings and other large structures need to be erected in particular places, not in the 3D printing lab.

WinSun's 3D printed buildings are impressive, but their 3D printers are not mobile

One well-known 3D printing construction project, for all its worth and importance, showcases the limitations of concrete 3D printing. WinSun, a Chinese construction company, is known throughout the 3D printing world for having built several 3D printed buildings in China, including a massive 3D printed villa and several apartment blocks. But the construction of these buildings wasn’t quite as magical as you might think: because of mobility limitations, the 3D printed concrete walls of the buildings had to be printed off-site before being transported in trucks, adding large transport costs to the project.

The goal for many construction 3D printing companies is therefore to create a concrete 3D printer that is mobile (and weather-resistant) enough to be used for on-site 3D printing. Can it be done? Well, a construction technology company from the Netherlands called CyBe Construction claims it has just done so. CyBe, founded in 2013, unveiled the CyBe RC 3Dp, a concrete 3D printer set upon rugged caterpillar tracks that has been billed as the “world’s first mobile 3D concrete printer.” Promising fast 3D printing speeds and an extended printing range, the RC 3Dp, which is based on the non-mobile R 3DP, could be the mobile 3D printer that the construction industry has been waiting for.

The CyBe RC 3Dp mobile concrete 3D printer

A mobile concrete 3D printer on wheels sounds great, but what—in reality—can it make? According to CyBe, the answer is “lots of things,” and extensive testing has already been carried out to demonstrate so. The company claims that, amongst other things, the RC 3Dp can create high walls, on-site sewer pits, floors, abutments, and formworks, all at lower costs and in a shorter amount of time than would be possible with traditional construction methods. There are other purported advantages too: “3D concrete printing is capable of increasing the quality of the product and is more eco-friendly thanks to [a] reduction in CO2 emission and waste,” the company states.

Probably the most important part of the RC 3Dp is its tank-like caterpillar tracks, which can be used to move the 3D printer over rough terrain. By bringing the concrete 3D printer into the heart of the construction site, construction companies could theoretically save a lot of money on transport costs—instead of bringing raw materials to an off-site construction area before bringing the assembled slabs or structures to the building site, only one journey would need to be made: bringing the raw materials to the building site for 3D printing.

The CyBe RC 3Dp mobile concrete 3D printer

According to CyBe, the RC 3Dp is vertically mobile as well: an extendable undercarriage allows the concrete 3D printer to adjust its printing range on the Z axis. This useful feature, coupled with an average printing speed of 200mm per second (max speed: 600mm per second), makes the new 3D printer a force to be reckoned with. Throw in a generous hardware package (mobile manipulator, mix-pump system, control unit with interface), proprietary software (CyBe ARTISAN and CHISEL), and a specially formulated concrete (CyBe Mortar), and the RC 3Dp starts to look like a solid foundation for a 3D printing construction project.

In the first quarter of 2017, CyBe will transport the mobile concrete 3D printer to Dubai to print the R&Drone-laboratory for DEWA, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. CyBe will be responsible for designing, engineering, and on-site production of 3D concrete buildings.

CyBe RC 3Dp specifications

Printing Range

2,750 mm

Printing speed

200 mm/sec

Enhanced speed

Up to 600 mm/sec

Max height

4.5 meters

Connectivity

LAN

Conformity

CE-marking

Service

 

Full service and educational support

Remote assistance

Operators needed

2 persons

Power supply

Electricity

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer

 

 

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