HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Lightweight Construction

3D sand pressure needs only half as much concrete

The Smart Slab research group has installed a false ceiling at the Swiss DFAB House. Its intricate formwork has been completely digitally designed.

16 Aug. 2018
HMI-ID07-073ts_Smart-Slab
3D sand pressure needs only half as much concrete (Photo: YouTube/ETH Zürich)

Switzerland is testing how construction with robots, 3D printing, and completely digitized processes works at the DFAB House in Dübendorf, which celebrated its roofing ceremony in early July. ETH Zurich is significantly involved in this project and, among other things, contributed the 80 m² lightweight building ceiling. It is produced through 3D sand printing . Smart Slab is the name of the team of engineers headed by Benjamin Dillenburger , assistant professor for digital construction technologies. Bürgin Creations , Christenguss , Gom International , Fischer Rista , Frutiger , Georg Ackermann , Rudolf Glauser , Stahlton , and voxeljet are industrial partners at Smart Slab.

3D-printed formworks make millimeter-accurate components possible, which are optimized for stability, material consumption, and weight and on top of that allow unusual, even filigree designs, as the YouTube video shows. The entire false ceiling of eleven ultra-high-strength, fiber-reinforced concrete segments, only 20 mm thick at the thinnest points, still weighs 15 tons – but that is only half as heavy as a conventional concrete solution. However, such a design is not possible on paper, which is why the Smart Lab team has developed its own planning software, which has lighting and sprinklers integrated at the same time.