Automated off-site fabrication

Research related to laser-cutting, metal additive manufacturing (3D printing) and topology optimisation to speed up construction, reduce costs, waste, and manual work in the whole life cycle of a building:

Steel joint fabrication using laser cutting

We have been developing a tubular joint fabrication method using Laser Cutting Technology (LCT). 

Laser cutting on the tubular profiles, video taken in LASTEICON project

We tested 36 two-way steel joints under monotonic gravity, opposite bending and shear loading conditions. The new joint configurations performed better than the conventional tubular joint options with up to 2.5 times more resistance and 10 times more stiffness. The superior structural performance translated in significant economic and environmental benefits (up to 35% saving in steel frame costs).

1
Load testing in the LCT joints from the LASTEICON project

More details can be read in these articles:

Funded research projects on the topic of Laser cutting technology

EU-RFCS LASTEICON project
EU-RFCS LASTTS project

Bio-inspired topology optimization and additive manufacturing

Nature’s structures are often tubular. Their joints (e.g. the knees of a human body, the nodes of trees and plants) are intrinsically optimized to maximize stiffness, resistance, and robustness. The 3D metal printing technology can enable a custom optimization of steel tubular joints, saving material waste and decreasing fabrication costs, since it is free from the constraints of traditional manufacturing.

Naturally stiffened tubular joints for Metal Additive Manufacturing

In cooperation with multiple players (architects, manufacturers, producers), we have been studying new tubular joint shapes using solid isotropic material with the penalization method (SIMP) to maximize the structural performance and minimize fabrication complexity to reduce costs, increase customization and cut waste as well as the carbon footprint of the sector.

More details can be read in these articles:

Funded research projects on the topic of Metal Additive Manufacturing: