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How 3D Printing Reduces Building Costs, Weight And Waste

Arup 3D printed construction connectors are lighter, stronger and create less waste

The three structural elements shown are all designed to carry the same structural loads and forces. The far smaller item is designed using the very latest optimisation and manufacturing methods. Credit: Davidfotografie/Arup. Open gallery.

Arup Engineering, headquartered in Amsterdam, has released information about how 3D printing can reduce construction cost, weight and waste. Look at the picture above. It shows three metal connectors designed to carry the same structural loads and forces. The one on the left is a traditional piece. The one on the right is 75% smaller and 40% lighter. It is designed using the very latest optimization and manufacturing methods developed by Arup.

"This is not only an exciting development for the construction sector, but many other industries as well. In the case of this particular piece, the height is approximately half that of one designed for traditional production methods, while the direct weight reduction per node is 75%. On a construction project that means we could be looking at an overall weight reduction of the total structure of more than 40%. But the really exciting part is that this technique can potentially be applied to any industry that uses complex, high quality, metal products."
— Salomé Galjaard, Team Leader at Arup

The additive manufacturing approach means that manufacturers can create highly complex, individually designed pieces and print them directly in metal. This in itself has tremendous implications for reducing costs and cutting waste. But the latest advances in the design techniques explored by Galjaard's team mean that far smaller, lighter elements can deliver the same function and strength as those created by traditional methods.

Arup has offices in 38 cities around the world. Its designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offer a broad range of professional services with the overall objective of making a positive difference in the world. While lowering costs is important to every client, finding ways to reduce the amount of waste from the construction process is becoming a major focus of the building trades, whether for residential or large commercial projects.

Arup is leading the way forward with creative strategies like 3D printed structural connectors that are lighter, stronger and create less waste.

Source and photo credit: Arup Engineering

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