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3D printed steel construction elements at Material Xperience 2017

3D printing has created many possibilities in various fields, such as medicine and construction. The company Arup has made use of this technique to produce a design method for critical structural steel elements for use in complex projects. At Material Xperience 2017, which takes place from 6 to 10 February in Jaarbeurs Utrecht (NL), you can see these steel construction elements for yourself!

By using additive manufacturing you can create many complex individually designed pieces far more efficiently. The work signals a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing in the field of construction and engineering. The research also shows that additive manufacturing has the potential to reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector (3D printing steel can reduce material use by 75% and carbon emissions by 40%, which are encouraging numbers). Most importantly, this approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs.

The company created a redesign of a steel node, or connector, for a lightweight structure using additive manufacturing. Arup has a lot of experience with these kinds of structures, for example the tensegrity structure of the Kurilpa Bridge in Australia. The complex geometry of these kinds of nodes is an ideal showcase of the possibilities of this new technique. While this kind of producing nodes is still more expensive than traditionally cast nodes, these costs are expected to drop in the near future.

Arup says that it would potentially use 3D printing to manufacture parts that could be used in the ‘built environment’, an engineering term that encompasses anything in the ‘human-made’ setting. Arup is partnering with different firms in order to exploit the full potential of steel 3D printing, including WithinLab, CRDM/3D Systems and EOS.

Seize the opportunity to see these construction elements for yourself at Material Xperience 2017! For more information and a free entry ticket, click here.