Robots 3D print park benches, flower beds and sculptures in world first
As 3D-printed construction becomes more common, it's being used for everything from housing to schools and bridges. Now yet another example of the cutting edge tech's usefulness comes from Advanced Intelligent Construction Technology (AICT), which has completed what it hails as the first 3D-printed park in Shenzhen, China.
The 3D-printed park – or technically a park landscaped using 3D printing technology – measures 5,523 sq m (59,449 sq ft), and was created for (and is located next to) the Shenzhen World Exhibition and Convention Center.
Alongside the usual mix of grass, shrubs and trees, the park is filled with a bunch of 3D-printed concrete structures, including benches for visitors to sit on, flower beds, retaining walls, pathways, curbs, and sculptures. In all, there are more than 2,000 concrete pieces.
To create all this, AICT employed a team of KUKA robots. The construction process itself was much like previous 3D-printed projects we've reported on and involved the robots following pre-programmed patterns as they extruded a proprietary cement-like mixture out of a nozzle, slowly building up the structures in layers.
AICT is keen to stress the cost-effectiveness of 3D printing compared to traditional methods, as well as its speed.
"A large percentage of construction costs is rising labor costs due to a shortage of skilled labor," posits the firm. "Robotics-based technology empowers the labor force to be more productive, resulting in more efficient job sites, less building time, and overall cost savings. Using 3D printing, AICT can produce a modestly sized house in weeks rather than months. Builders using this technology finished a park consisting of more than 2,000 concrete pieces in just two and a half months, at a fraction of the cost of conventional construction methods."
Moving forward, AICT recently opened a US office to pursue projects in the country, and is also working on affordable 3D-printed homes for impoverished African regions.