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3D: Use cases for formwork

25.11.2019 | Austria
3D technology has been used in the field of formwork for a long time. Initially, it was confined to the virtual world of computing, where it was used for three-dimensional formwork design. Nowadays, though, it is being used more and more on the construction site itself, sometimes in the form of formwork parts produced by 3D printers, sometimes even entire building elements manufactured additively. Doka and its parent company, the Umdasch Group, have embraced these new technologies.
Unique formwork elements with 3D design
The construction industry has complex planning and process workflows, which make the sector particularly ripe for the productivity improvements available through the digital transformation and Construction 4.0. In particular, structures and building elements can be designed using 3D techniques, using animations and photo-quality images to make complex structures comprehensible and create transparent project workflows. Furthermore, the 3D model is not merely used for visualisation, but also as a basis for energy calculations. In the future, it will also be used to determine building costs – the model therefore forms an important basis for adding further dimensions such as time (4) and costs (5).

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and 3D combined in one app
Doka solutions can be experienced through Augmented and Virtual reality using the Doka AR-VR app. Use cases for the app range from projecting Doka formworks onto the printed plans right through to dropping 3D models into their environment or immersing yourself in the Doka designs through virtual reality. The app also has functions for displaying 3D views of the model and a QR code reader. You can use individual 3D models to hide or show components or view an animated construction sequence.

Prototypes from the 3D printer
3D printing technology can be used in industrial applications to complement established manufacturing and production technology. The added value of this technology is reflected in highly diverse use cases. Doka uses industrial printers for metal and plastics to create rapid, low-cost prototypes and serial parts for testing during product development. Just as importantly, though, the technology can be used to design and manufacture innovative products without the constraints of existing manufacturing conventions.

3D form lining – partnership with voxeljet
3D formwork printing means new opportunities for less labour-intensive installation and higher quality when developing special formworks for unusual geometries. A pilot project between Doka and voxeljet illustrates the possibilities: Doka and voxeljet AG carried out a joint pilot project for a 3D-printed form lining for an exposed concrete staircase with unusual geometry. You can find out more about the project here.

Mobile 3D construction printing on an industrial scale
A sister company to Doka, Umdasch Group Ventures, has been working since 2017 on 3D printing innovations for construction. The Umdasch Group has investments in Contour Crafting Corporation (USA), a spin-off founded in 2014 by the University of Southern California (USC) – a research leader since 1996 in automated building construction, using a combination of 3D printing and printing-assisted installation of standardised components. Its interest in Contour Crafting Corporation gives the Umdasch Group access to a range of revolutionary 3D printing technologies, with highly diverse use cases and a wide variety of printing materials.

Contour Crafting intends its robotic tools to be used anywhere where living space and infrastructure need to be developed quickly and cost-effectively. This doesn’t just mean social housing; the tools, which reduce construction time from months to a mere few days for an almost ready-to-use building, will also be highly relevant for disaster relief – for example, after an earthquake.

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