Project – Unique Concrete Structures (UnikaBeton)

Thomas Juul Andersen

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Project – Unique Concrete Structures (UnikaBeton)

Unique Concrete Structures using ICT.

Project start 01.01.2007. Expected completion 31.12.2009.

The project is completed.

The objective of the project is to enable fascinating concrete architecture at a realistic cost level. Today, unique concrete architecture is almost exclusively confined to extraordinary constructions, such as the DR City or Ordrupgaardsamlingen. In this project, we will develop an industrialised production process where moulds are manufactured automatically based on the architect’s original design. The project activities include research into architecture for the future, new form materials, ICT, self-compacting concrete and robotics. The project has shown that with regard to form there is a great potential in pouring concrete in polystyrene moulds coated with various materials to give the concrete different surface textures.

    Fræsning af støbeform i ekspanderet polystyren med robot

Project Objectives
The overall objective of the project is to be able to create unique concrete constructions in an automated industrial process. This involves the following intermediate aims:

  • Architecture: an account of the architecture of the future.
  • Development of new principles for formwork of concrete.
  • Testing of alternative form materials.
  • New manufacturing methods using robotics.
  • Development of new automation software for manufacturing unique moulds using robots.
  • Simulation of form filling with self-compacting concrete.

Participants

  • Mærsk McKinney Møller Instituttet at University of Southern Denmark
  • Arkitektskolen Aarhus
  • Spæncom A/S
  • Unicon A/S
  • MT Højgaard A/S
  • Paschal Danmark A/S
  • Gibotech A/S
  • Danish Technological Institute (Project manager)

Activities
There has been a lot of research into various manufacturing techniques, as well as new automation software and alternative form materials to replace the traditional, inflexible form materials, such as wood and steel. One of the most promising results has been achieved by milling the moulds in expanded polystyrene, which is then coated with silicone or polyurethane.

The research has so far resulted in two newly developed form systems, of which one has been through full scale tests. A concrete construction of a complex shape was produced by pouring concrete into a mould made by a robot and fastened by a traditional form system.