Flam3D member Kamp C supports research on 3D concrete printing in construction
The technological innovations of three years of 3D concrete printing
Since 2019, several construction companies (Etib/Concrete House, Beneens and Van Roey) and Thomas More students have been researching and experimenting with a 3D concrete printer at Kamp C. In 2020, they printed a demo house as part of the C3PO project. Now, three years later, 3D printing has become a regular part of the Bachelor of Construction course.
3D concrete printing in construction
The 3D printing process and software underwent many innovative transformations. Through the KIEM project, researchers are looking at which barriers still need to be overcome for companies to include Additive Manufacturing in their business process in order to achieve market introduction. Axel Boons, 3D manager at Etib/Concrete House and Scientific Researcher at Thomas More and Wouter Bourgeois , BIM manager at Beneens bouw en interieur explain the evolutions in the printing process.
Background to the 3D printing process
Wouter: “The partners in the C3PO and KIEM projects are organisations active in the construction sector: contractors, architects, construction advice centre, mortar suppliers, Bachelor of Construction students, …
This focus on construction ensured a hands-on approach resulting in fast and fantastic results. The iconic example of this is the 3D printed building. This was mainly the case for the C3PO project. In the follow-up project, KIEM, there was more time for possible avenues we could not explore in C3PO. Just think of printing more complex objects from the 3D printing awards, interior applications and furniture, variant surface finishes, new materials, …”
Axel: “As you might suspect, these exceptional objects often involve problems, for which there is obviously no off-the-shelf solution yet. 3D concrete printing is still really pioneering. Moreover, we are working with a prototype 3D concrete printer. To eliminate these barriers, we noticed that we were limiting ourselves with our construction focus. Therefore, from the beginning of the KIEM project, we also focused on the improvement and possibilities that the software side of the 3D concrete printer can offer. Meanwhile, at Thomas More, students from the IT direction are also involved and there are even plans to bring in students from the electro-mechanics direction to optimise, maintain and even develop upgrades for the printer.
Now before you think you need a multidisciplinary team that knows every aspect of the printer inside and out, I have to make a small comment. Our prototype printer is now partly outdated and new versions can be ordered with the necessary upgrades and maintenance services. Software improvements have already been made and more are on the way. As a research team, we want to go beyond what is available at the moment and aim to have a certain degree of independence from one fixed printer supplier.”
Project C3PO’s demo house
Would you like to learn more about software and work preparation within BIM (Building Information Modelling)? Then be sure to click through to Kamp C’s webpage and find out how 3D concrete printing is making its way into the construction world.