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


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.

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Søndergaard, A., Feringa, J., Stan, F. et al. Robotic abrasive wire cutting of polymerized styrene formwork systems for cost-effective realization of topology-optimized concrete structures. Constr Robot 2, 81–92 (2018).

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  • Topology optimization
  • Concrete
  • Robotic abrasive wire cutting
  • Expanded polystyrene
  • Formwork systems