Construction Robotics

, Volume 2, Issue 1–4, pp 81–92 | Cite as

Robotic abrasive wire cutting of polymerized styrene formwork systems for cost-effective realization of topology-optimized concrete structures

  • Asbjørn SøndergaardEmail author
  • Jelle Feringa
  • Florin Stan
  • Dana Maier
Original Paper


This paper presents a new method for industrial manufacturing of topology-optimized, ultrahigh performance concrete structures using robotic abrasive wire cutting of polymerized styrene formwork systems. Topology optimization is a well-established procedure within disciplines of aeronautic, automotive and naval engineering. However, while recent developments have highlighted a significant potential for structural innovation and reduction of material consumption in topology-optimizing concrete structures, an effective method for large-scale manufacturing of such structures remains to be found. We argue that the prohibitive factor for large-scale adoption is the non-availability of mechanical processes capable of performing high-speed, high-volume manufacturing of advanced non-standard formwork and, consequently that this inhibition can be overcome through integrating ruled surface rationalization and robotically controlled abrasive wire cutting of three-dimensional formwork systems in polymerized styrene foams. The viability of the proposed method is demonstrated through the production of a 21 m spatial concrete structure, using abrasive wire cutting of EPS formwork via a containerized robotic work cell with an ABB IRB 6700 industrial manipulator, extended with external rotary axis.


Topology optimization Concrete Robotic abrasive wire cutting Expanded polystyrene Formwork systems 


Supplementary material

41693_2018_16_MOESM1_ESM.doc (164 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 163 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aarhus School of ArchitectureAarhus CDenmark
  2. 2.Odico Formwork RoboticsOdense SØDenmark
  3. 3.Zünd ScandinaviaOdderDenmark

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