Principal investigator: Joshua Bard, Dana Cupkova, David Bourne, Newell Washburn

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partners: TAKTL

Our Carnegie Mellon team from the School of Architecture, the Robotics Institute, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering invented a novel additive manufacturing process for robotically printing architectural facade panels with complex surface geometries: Profile-3D-Printing. The hybrid additive/subtractive process combines deposition of concrete for rough layup with precision tooling for surface finishing. This effort was motivated by previously validated research proving that well-calibrated surface geometries can be used to improve both the aesthetic and thermodynamic performance of passive heating and cooling systems in buildings. Our hybrid approach to concrete 3D printing is unique because it combines high-volume material deposition and multi-resolution surface finishing without significant increases in production time. Our project will significantly advance system integration between energy-based performance design and advanced additive manufacturing, enabling precast concrete suppliers to design and manufacture innovative architectural products with added value.

Our research team has partnered with TAKTL to pilot simulation-driven design tools and robotic manufacturing solutions using Profile-3D-Printing. Based in Western PA, TAKTL is a leader in concrete facade design and manufacturing. With roughly 170 employees, TAKTL is the first company to fully integrate Ultra High-Performance Concrete (UHPC) formulation with advanced design and manufacturing delivery services. TAKTL embodies the rich industrial history of its region while pursuing emerging technologies and innovation to remain competitive. With our industry partner, we will further develop streamlined, forward design processes using a geometric approach from performance evaluation to direct manufacturing.