by Meghna MehtaJul 06, 2020
One of the world’s leading suppliers of formwork and scaffolding systems, PERI GmbH has created the first 3D printed apartment building in Wallenhausen in Bavaria, Germany. With this building, the company hopes to establish 3D printing as an accessible solution not just for niche projects and experimental ideas, but also buildings that can be inhabited and made commercially available. This building is the largest 3D printed apartment building in Europe, consisting of a full length basement and five apartments across three floors, with an approximate 380 sqm of living area constructed entirely with a 3D printer. The project is set to take six weeks to reach its completion, after which it will be available for rent.
Having announced the implementation of this technology earlier with Germany’s first printed residential house in Beckum in North Rhine-Westphalia in September 2020, the group this time decided to take this technology into a large scale dwelling structure.
As the new project takes a significant step in 3D construction printing, Thomas Imbacher, the Managing Director of Marketing & Innovation at the PERI Group, says, “By printing the first apartment building in Germany, we are demonstrating that this new construction technology can also be used to print large-scale dwelling units. In terms of 3D construction printing, we are opening up additional areas of application on an entirely new level”.
The client for this project is Michael Rupp Bauunternehmung GmbH, a construction company based in Pfaffenhofen an der Roth, Germany. The client’s company also plans to specialise in the 3D sector from the next year, dedicating a recently founded subsidiary, ‘Rupp Gebäudedruck’ to it.
This residential building is being made using the gantry printer BOD2. It consists of a print head that moves three axes on a firmly installed metallic frame. The advantage of using this 3D printer is that the printers can move along its frame to any position within the construction and need to be calibrated only once for the process. The print head requires only two operators to operate the printer and the results are constantly monitored by a camera. Currently, the printer is the fastest 3D construction printer commercially available, with a speed of 1 m/s and take only five minutes to complete one sqm of a double-skin wall. Given the speed and efficiency of the printer, the time and cost of the project gets reduced considerably.
During the process of printing, the system also factors in the pipes and connections for water, electricity, etc. which will be laid into the building later on. The BOD2 has been certified in a manner that it allows to carry on work within the printing area while the printing is still in progress. The process of manually installing empty pipes and connections can be incorporated in the process, on site. This also accounts for the ease and speed of the printing process of this building.
PERI Group has collaborated with other architects and engineering offices to make this project a successful venture. The planning architect for this residential project in particular was the architectural firm Mühlich, Fink & Partner BDA and the special materials for the production of printable concrete was sourced from Heidelberg Cement. The mixing technology for the materials is from m-tec mathis technik gmbh. For the legal work of warrants, the engineering office of Schießl Gehlen Sodeikat was taken on for assistance and the testing and approval of the concept was carried out by the Technical University of Munich.
(Text by Shreeparna Chatterjee, editorial trainee at stirworld.com)