3D Printed Covering on £50 mn Structure in the Heart of London
Skanska is a Swedish multinational building and design company. This is also the biggest building company employing 3D printing to construct £50 million Bevis Marks structure in the center of London.
Last week eight 3D printed covering blocks on top of the steel wood-like beams have been installed, informs Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). “We’re very excited by the fact that our company was the first to try such technology”, said project manager and innovative leader of Skanska Jonathan Inman. “But we’re currently discussing other 3D printing opportunities with our clients.”
These eight different complex interfaces between the roof and beams have been initially designed as cast steel and welded assemblies or joint steel plates, but it cost eight times more and was more complex with no aesthetic and architectural Fletcher Priest standards.
3D printing seemed an ideal solution for such technical problem. Skanska has contacted 3D printing agency Quickparts that prints small and medium customized components for the space-air, military defense and healthcare industries.
The traditional construction methods involved eight different casts for these covering blocks, however, using the 3D printing, the company has just produced eight unique shapes in accordance with its CAD models.
Laser sintering has been used to lace 0,1 mm layers of powder Nylon PA 12 and build complex forms, informs CIOB. Blocks elements have been separately 3D printed and assembled. The whole printing process took about 3 weeks. Finally, nylon covers (600 mm in width and 800 mm in height) have been processed and painted to make them look like steel.
The covers have proved their environmental resistance and now the process of 16-storied 22 000 sq. m. commercial building construction is in its final stage. Just after the completion there will be a grand opening.
“3D printing does not aim to replace the traditional manufacturing completely, but this ceiling is a good example of its cost efficiency. The technology is a perfect solution for producing a small set of materials when the traditional methods become too expensive”, said regional sales manager of Quickparts Simon Hammond.