Researchers from the Swiss Higher Technical School of Zurich have developed a construction robot capable of assembling reinforcing steel structures for pouring concrete, which simultaneously serve as a formwork. On November 26, 2016, this development took first place in the category “Inventors” at the Swiss Innovation Forum. In 2017, developers are planning to conduct large-scale tests of a new robot, during which he will have to build a house.
The construction of houses of reinforced concrete today is conducted in several stages. At the beginning, builders create a framework of steel reinforcement, around which a formwork is built, an auxiliary structure that shapes concrete structures. Finally, the builders are pouring concrete into the formwork. After the whole construction is seized, the formwork is removed. In the case of building a house on an individual project, formwork is created once, and after use is discarded.
Developed today, building robots that are able to print houses made of concrete, usually use for this purpose either special dense and quick-hardening concrete mixtures, or ordinary concrete and formwork. In this case, such robots can not yet build full-fledged structures of reinforced concrete – an internal metal structure should still be assembled by a man, and this virtually completely eliminates the advantage of using the robot construction site.
The new Swiss construction robot was named Mesh Mold. It is a regular industrial robot company ABB, the manipulator of which is equipped with a special device for laying steel rod and welding. Such a robot, according to a predetermined design, assembles a steel structure whose side walls have additionally welded steel bars. The entire robot can be assembled in an autonomous mode.
At the end of the assembly inside the resulting frame, you can lay a stone filler and pour concrete, and the casting will only slightly protrude on the sides of the reinforced structure, but it will not flow out. The flow can be prevented both by the shape of the steel structure itself and by the side bars. According to the developers, thanks to the robot Mesh Mold it is possible to create reinforcing structures of any shape and with a variable throughout the thickness. Other details about the new robot have not yet been revealed.
Today, several companies in the world are engaged in the development of building robots and 3D printers that can build houses from concrete. December 9-11 this year in the Moscow region Stupino held a presentation of a small residential house, printed from concrete. The seal of this house began in the Stupino plant of cellular concrete in mid-November. It is led by the Russian company Apis Cor using a 3D printer of its own design.