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Hybrid INDustrial CONstruction through a 3D printing “all-in-one” machine for large-scale advanced manufacturing and building processes

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HINDCON (Hybrid INDustrial CONstruction through a 3D printing “all-in-one” machine for large-scale advanced manufacturing and building processes)

Reporting period: 2018-03-15 to 2019-09-14

The main aim of the HINDCON project was to develop and demonstrate a hybrid machine for 3D printing with concrete materials focused on the industrialization of the Construction Industry, delivering to this sector an innovative technology that reduces environmental impact at the same time it reduces dramatically economic costs.

Advanced Manufacturing has been highlighted by the EU as one of the key enablers to support and promotion of business research and innovation in key enabling technologies. Therefore, a number of objectives, aligned with pursuing the large-scale targets, have been set for advanced manufacturing through four pillars: technology, economic, social and environment.

The HINDCON project has successfully developed a GROUNDBREAKING TECHNOLOGY, as detailed in 2nd Periodic report part B.

The collaborative structure of the project Consortium has helped achieving these goals through:
1. Integration of different technologies that converge in a hybrid solution. HINDCON “all-in-one” machine integrates Additive Manufacturing concrete extruder and Subtractive Manufacturing tool kit with the use of cementitious materials including mass materials with alternatives in concrete and additives and reinforced with composites.
2. Covering the different aspects concerned (technology, economic, social and environment) and demonstrating the hybrid machine from different perspectives. On the one hand, it includes testing basic capabilities of the integrated prototype in laboratory. On the other hand, it involves the demonstration of the manufacturing system in a relevant environment.
The HINDCON project started on September 15th, 2016 and the Kick-Off was launched in Brussels on October 20th, 2016. The HINDCON project has finished as planned on September 14th, 2019 and the main objectives presented on the initial proposal have been successfully achieved.

During the first months the project, the Consortium discussed all the specifications required from each technology and the several synergies and interaction to be considered between them were assessed, in order to define de 3D printing solution. The first reporting period ended with some delays, as detailed on the periodic report. As a result of these delays and deviations, a first amendment to the Grant Agreement was requested and finally approved on May 2018. This amendment also included the substitution of former partner n. 6 ESTIA-CCI BAYONNE by current partner n.14 ESTIA and the substitution of former partner n. 8 Stiftelsen SINTEF by current partner n.13 SINTEF. It also included the transfer of WP7’s leadership from VIAS to ESTIA and other smaller changes and budgetary adjustments (details available in amendment n. AMD-723611-23).

During the second reporting period, the technical work has continued mostly as planned. However, an important change needed to be made, as a result of a sudden strategical decision of VIAS, beyond the scope of the project. This decision consisted in closing and putting on sale their Fuenlabrada facilities, the initial location for the HINDCON prototype. Hence, it was necessary to make a change of location with all the associated deviations that it encompassed. To cope with this, a second amendment to the Grant Agreement was requested and finally approved on September 2019. The main subject of this amendment was the new location for the prototype in a new Machinery Workshop acquired by VIAS, located in Pancorbo (Burgos, Spain). These facilities complied with all the requirements for the prototype and the test. However, this led to an initial delay and several technical and economic deviations that were corrected and re-scheduled through a second amendment to the Grant Agreement.

Final technical delays and deviations held can be consulted in section 5.1 of the second periodic report part B. Economic deviations held are thoroughly explained in section 7 of the second periodic report part B. However, due to the effort of the HINDCON partners, all the delays were minimised and the project ended successfully on time on September 2019. The milestones of the project have been accomplished, with the exception of milestone MS8 (Joint Venture definition) which has been partially achieved. This is shown and explained one by one in section 3 of the second periodic report part A.

Regarding the achievement of the project objectives, the specific objectives of the project have also been achieved, as it is shown and explained one by one in section 1.1 of the second periodic report part B.

As a conclusion, despite the initial delays and the need of several re-adjustments, the HINDCON project has been a great success and the “all-in-one” hybrid machine for concrete 3D printing has been prototyped and tested, showing very good results. The technology has reached TRL6, demonstrating its excellent potential for the industrialization of the Construction Industry, while reducing time, necessary materials, and consequently costs and environmental impacts.
HINDCON project addressed a significative progress compared to existing additive manufacturing of concrete in construction. The main breakthrough functionalities achieved are the following:
• First 3D printer for large scale precast pieces with cable-driven parallel robot as positioning system has been demonstrated in relevant environment with highly successful results regarding time and resources consumption, as explained on the second periodic report, part B.
• First 3D printer with both AM & SM functionality. Current concrete 3D printers only have AM function by addition mass.
o Thanks to an adapted formulation of material the SM functionality has been implemented using low cost tools and standard machines. Indeed, the material can be machined between 4-5 hours after printing and up to 8 hours, and we developed HW and SW tools to realize milling, polishing and engraving (text, pictures), adding value to the already impressive printing results.
• First 3D printer with different materials been used and on-line control of materials’ properties and combining a fluid stage of the material (to allow it to be easily conveyed to the extruder) later on converted to a stiffened stage to allow it to be 3D printed.
• Exploratory results for 3D printer concrete with the addition of carbon fibres composite cured by UV for reinforcement porpoise. Fibres-reinforced concrete has been studied extensively in recent years. This is highly interesting in the development of lightweight building applications, among others. However, all the concrete reinforcement available on the market requires a manual insertion/deposition of the carbon/glass fibres reinforcement.
• Novel software code optimization for the printing path, ensuring that every movement of the all-in-one machine is optimal for Additive, Subtractive (or both) operations, which can save up to 30% of time. Here, decoupling has been a key issue: Velocity decoupling from optimization, utilizing machine/material data and path-material decoupling (using adjustable infill)
• Approach to Standardization of BIM model to 3D printing workflow based on ISO and IFC requirements is also an innovative improvement achieved.