May 2, 2018 | By David

A major science and technology award has been given to the founder of a promising concrete 3D printing startup. The Isabelle Musy Award was created back in 2014 in order to recognize the achievements of women in the field of science and technology, and this year’s prize was given to Agnès Petit, the founder of concrete 3D printing company Mobbot. The total prize money for the Isabelle Musy Award is 50,000 CHF ($50,000), and it will be handed over at a ceremony at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL).

(source: EPFL) 

Mobbot (short for mobile robot) is a startup that develops and markets dedicated systems for concrete 3D printing. Building concrete structures without formworks is a huge benefit for construction works, and this type of construction method is becoming increasingly common across the industry, as more and more projects take advantage of the fast production times and design freedom presented by digital fabrication. We’ve seen 3D printed concrete buildings spring up all over the world, and the system is being touted as an efficient way to solve various global housing crises.

Petit graduated from ETH Zurich with a PhD in cosmochemistry, and then began working for concrete producer Holcim. After this, she went on to join Creabeton, a manufacturer of concrete structures. It was here that she got the germ of the idea that became her Mobbot technology and the start-up that she eventually formed.

(source: EPFL) 

According to Petit, "Typically an architect drafts blueprints on paper and gives them to a construction company, which in turn makes 2D diagrams of the wooden forms needed to pour the concrete. That eats up a lot of time and resources, and generally the forms have to be adjusted on site anyway. My idea was to eliminate all these steps and deposit the concrete directly, without having to create diagrams or forms... The wooden forms typically used for pouring concrete are too stiff and can’t be used to make customized shapes quickly and cheaply. And forms made using 3D printing require a lot of raw materials and generate significant amounts of waste."

Mobbot’s breakthrough was to use robotics technology to extrude the concrete according to the exact dimensions at a construction site, with a robotic arm that is programmed to take into account any special configurations or obstacles. This isn’t dissimilar to many other concrete 3D printing systems, but the Mobbot technology presents an advanced new deposition system as well as a specific concrete composition. The details of the method are currently being kept under wraps, until the patent that was filed is successfully approved.

(source: Mobbot) 

The Isabelle Musy Award was started as a way to recognize outstanding female entrepreneurs in the fields of science and technology. It is named after its founder Isabelle Musy, a retired teacher who wanted to encourage women to start their own businesses. She asked EPFL to set up a selection panel to choose the most innovative business idea from a female entrepreneur located in the French-speaking region of Switzerland.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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