- Research into the material has shown that the existing regulations take little account of the problems of the appearance of the concrete. As to the colour, hygrometry of concrete has a considerable impact on this parameter. The studies deal with and progress standardization of the quality of facings and the colour of concrete.
- Work on the fabrication unit has revealed the use of new materials for the forms (glass fibre plus polyester resin) together with new non-destructive fixing methods. These considerably reduce the cost of formwork and therefore the finished product so that it remains competitive in spite of the much smaller production runs. These new materials will alter working methods. Their use must be accompanied by a training programme for operators.
The study of the fabrication unit has led to the definition of the concept of an innovative, adaptable, ergonomic and autonomous work station which is also economically viable.
- The work on the finishing unit has illustrated the feasibility of adapting a conventional industrial robot to a hostile environment (presence of sand, acid), and to very small production runs (10 units).
This first introduction of robotics to the building industry has shown the complexity of adapting a robot to the requirements of a building site. A study of a fixed site has offered a preliminary experience in possible use on a full construction site.
- The concept of the "know-how bank" developed in our project has been extremely fruitful. It has led to a radically new approach to the design of IT systems by encouraging in the company a certain critical introspection of its trade, its practices and even its relations with other economic actors. This introspection could be used both to protect past experience, and to approach the future more confidently. It integrates into a quality approach.
The concept can be readily applied to other fields.
Computer-assisted production has shown the advantages which may result from a coherent and reactive IT system with, inter alia, detailed management per job and per item, together with reflection and assistance into balancing out the work load.
(i) Design of a flexible prefabrication work station and a flexible mould.
Design of one several flexible moulds, geometrically changeable, and their environment, for manufacturing complex shapes and diverse relief. Research on the materials of the moulds (metal, composite, resin, wood, plastic, polymer, etc) to substitute the changeable parts of the moulds, currently reusable, by readjustable, mouldable, recyclable materials.
(ii) Design of a finishing work station around a multifunctional and flexible finishing robot.
Adaptation of available robots to a "hostile" environment (outside, dust, water, acid, etc.) equipped with a claw capable of holding finishing tools. Design of an intermediate system between 100 % manual apparatus and 100 % automated. Multifunctional for 3 finishing treatments (washing, brushing, standing) realized with 4 finishing tools (sand hose, high pressure hose, rotary metal brush system, simple brush with acid jet).
(iii) Production and test on a pilot site of two prototypes : flexible mould and finishing robot