Jun 16, 2016 | By Alec

2016 could be a big year for Dutch concrete 3D printing pioneers CyBe Construction. Over 2015, the Dutch startup saw one success after another while working on their custom concrete filament, and they have been working hard to certify their on-site 3D concrete printing method to bring the technology to construction sites across the EU. In collaboration with prominent Dutch construction company Heijmans, the company has now reached another milestone: the completion of tests with two 3D printed concrete formworks made using their 3Dconcrete printer, the CyBe R 3Dp, a 3 meter tall 3Dprinter which is compatible with different type of nozzles. The 3D printed concrete formworks could be embedded in the core of structures and could be used to build 3D printed viaducts and roads in the future.

CyBe Construction is the brainchild of Dutch developer Berry Hendriks, who has been pioneering a remarkable 3D printing filament. As Berry revealed in early 2015, his special mortar ‘filament’ can form bearable structures within several minutes – thus promising to considerably speed up construction. What’s more, the concrete’s hydration process is completed in less than 24 hours, while CyBe’s special type of mortar produces far less CO2 than regular concrete.

This obviously makes the concrete a very valuable product, and the two 3D printed formworks are a major milestone in its development. Both are a type of lost formworks, which remain as part of a structure. The digital models of the formworks were designed using CyBe CHYSEL splicing software. In order to optimize the 3Dformwork and make sure it could withstand the pressure of the inner poured concrete, the company used its CyBe CONSTRUCT tool. Once the models were printed on the CyBe R 3Dp, the successful tests took place to explore the technology’s potential for civil engineering (road and hydraulic construction). One of the completed structures has just been placed in front of the Heijmans HQ in Rosmalen.

Heijmans itself is no stranger to 3D printing, as they are also one of the partners involved in the 3D printed metal bridge project by Dutch startup MX3D. But concrete 3D printing is also on their radar. "Although the technology still requires further testing and refinement, 3D concrete printing mainly provides the necessary opportunities," Heijmans' Jurre van der Ven explains. "Our aim is to print a double curved concrete formwork, which we will fill with reinforced concrete, and then use it to construct a bridge or a viaduct, because if an element is strong enough for such heavy constructions, it can be further developed and used for residential buildings. The tests we have recently carried out were successful."

What’s more, the tests were not just successful, but also educational. “The tests on the 3D printed element indicated that the characteristic values of the concrete we used (CyBe MORTAR) were even bigger than we actually expected. We are very satisfied with these results,” Berry Hendriks said. "By carrying out practical research like such prints and tests we see that our technology of 3Dconcrete printing is developing fast and could be applied to produce various products in the Construction industry. Moreover, we learn that the potential of 3Dconcrete technology is enormous. In the end this helps us to facilitate companies in the construction sector with our technology, so they can build faster, cheaper and with a higher quality."

During the test itself, Heijmans and CyBe first 3D printed a hollow formwork of 1.25m wide, 35cm deep and 3.1m high. 3D printed in about 30 minutes, it was filled with water to determine the maximal pressure the structure could withstand. The second structure, in contrast, features straight and double curved sides, and is 2.5m tall. The bottom half of the curved surface was treated and finished during printing, to find out how smooth and accurate the concrete can be after treatment. It also led to insights on moss and algae growth. This second structure, which was completed in just 25 minutes, can now be found outside the Heijmans HQ.

As the makers explain, these types of structures play into the demands of architects and clients. Desiring more and more complex designs and shapes (even for practical viaducts), they are pushing the limits of construction techniques. While conventional building techniques can still realize these complex shapes, it’s is a very time-consuming and costly process. Concrete 3D printing, in contrast, can realize these freeform, organic shapes in the same quality, but at much lower costs. In fact, CyBe and Heijmans expect to be able to reduce costs by up to 50 percent. Hopefully, the first 3D printed formwork can be practically used in mid-2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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