3D concrete printing specialist Vertico has opened a new concrete printing facility in Eindhoven in the Netherlands to accelerate its architectural and commercial building applications.
The facility will see the application of industrial robots, a technology that Vertico has been pioneering for some time.
“We decided to set up shop in Eindhoven as it is the tech capital of the Netherlands and, with two other local printing facilities, perhaps the concrete printing capital of the world,” said Volker Ruitinga, founder of Vertico.
3D concrete printing
Eindhoven is home to two other 3D concrete printing facilities, namely the Technical University of Eindhoven, a research leader in this field, and the BAM/Weber Beamix factory which opened earlier this year.
What differentiates Vertico from these services, it says, is its focus on fine detailing and architectural applications, as opposed to more thicket printing applications for larger structures. Last year, the firm collaborated with the University of Ghent to 3D print an optimized and material efficient footbridge, minimizing the materials used in the construction process by 60 percent.
While advances in both 3D printing materials and system design have realized the prospect of fully-automated construction, scalability remains a major obstacle to widespread adoption of additive manufacturing in building and construction. Although, scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have made ground in resolving these scalability issues through adopting a print-while-moving approach via a robotic arm.
Other innovations in the 3D concrete printing field include the 3D printing of concrete wind turbine parts for offshore use by engineers from Purdue University, and the unveiling of Dutch architectural 3D printing startup Twente AM’s latest large-scale concrete 3D printer.
Most recently, Texas-based construction firm ICON partnered with the U.S. government-backed Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to demonstrate the military applications of 3D concrete printing at the Camp Pendleton Marine base.
Vertico’s new 3D concrete printing facility features three ABB robots, one of which is set on a seven-meter track to enable it to print an object as wide as 10 meters.
Besides its printing-on-demand capabilities, Vertico sells complete concrete printing solutions, having developed its own hardware combination and software for slicing. The specially designed concrete mixture layer is available to customers for large and small-scale construction projects.
The firm has collaborated with various suppliers in a consortium, named De Huizenprinters, to evolve its own concrete material mix. Vertico is currently printing a tiny house in partnership with the consortium, which is working on a ‘state-of-the-art’ two-component nozzle to make extruded material harden within seconds.
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Featured image shows Vertico’s specially designed robotic arm operating at the new Eindhoven facility. Image via Vertico.