Arup engineers pushed the boundaries of 3D printing – by using the latest techniques – additive manufacturing – the team has created a design method for critical structural steel elements for use in more complex projects. The work gives 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 significantly reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector, which is essential in an era of environmental awareness.
Salomé Galjaard, Team Leader at Arup, states that by using additive manufacturing it is possible to create lots of complex individually designed pieces far more efficiently. This has tremendous implications for reducing costs and cutting waste. Most importantly, this approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs.
They created a redesign of a steel node for a light weight 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.
Arup funded the development work and collaborated with a number of partners to realize the designs, including WithinLab (an engineering design software and consulting company), CRDM/3D Systems (the Additive Manufacturing partner) and EOS, who worked on the early development of the technology.