Robotics

Cable-driven robot monitors buildings as it prints them

 Cogiro is a cable-driven robot that can not only 3D-print structures, but also monitor their status
 Cogiro is a cable-driven robot that can not only 3D-print structures, but also monitor their status
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Estruder head used by Cogiro
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Estruder head used by Cogiro
The  Cogiro robot consists of a frame supporting the cable-driven working head
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The  Cogiro robot consists of a frame supporting the cable-driven working head
Cogiro currently works with a clay-like material
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Cogiro currently works with a clay-like material
Cogiro can produce who;e curtain walls
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Cogiro can produce who;e curtain walls
 Cogiro is a cable-driven robot that can not only 3D-print structures, but also monitor their status
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 Cogiro is a cable-driven robot that can not only 3D-print structures, but also monitor their status

There have been a number of 3D-printing robots rolled out lately that can squirt out a house, but Tecnalia in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) has come up with one that pays attention to what it's doing. Called Cogiro, it is billed as the first cable-driven robot that can print large structural parts or even small buildings on site while monitoring if the work is drying properly.

At first glance, Cogiro looks less like a robot and more like a giant square frame measuring 15 x 11 x 6 m (50 x 36 x 20 ft) with the name of a Japanese movie monster. The frame houses a network of cables and pulleys that support a central working head that can move in three different planes and point in three different directions. Originally, this was used to study such tasks as how a cable-driven robot can move pallets about a warehouse, but now it has expanded into the building trade.

For the latest demonstrations, Cogiro has been fitted with an extruder head that allows it to squirt out a clay-like material under the direction of a CAD file to create complex shapes or even buildings in situ thanks to the ability of the robot to be erected directly over a construction site. According to Tecnalia, this allows the robot to print items with a high degree of precision and rigidity over large areas.

The  Cogiro robot consists of a frame supporting the cable-driven working head
The  Cogiro robot consists of a frame supporting the cable-driven working head

But the clever thing about Cogiro isn't just that it prints, but it also watches what it's doing. Using thermal sensors, it monitors how well the material is drying and setting, so it can not only see how well the work is coming along, but also avoid laying down material on foundations that haven't dried yet.

Tecnalia says that the next step for Cogiro will be to adapt it to handle a cement-based material instead of clay. When mature, the company sees the technology as a straightforward, low maintenance, inexpensive means of bringing robotic 3D printing to building and maintaining curtain walls and other construction work, as well as in aerospace industries, shipbuilding, nuclear power plants, and alternative energy installations.

A prototype of Cogiro will be exhibited at the BBConstrumat fair next month.

The video below shows Cogiro in action.

Source: Tecnalia

Impresión 3D IN-SITU mediante robots accionados por cables

4 comments
windykites
It looks to be slow process compared with brick construction, and accuracy looks poor.
ezeflyer
Nuclear power plants are obsolete. After Chernobyl and Fukushima, nobody wants them in their back yard. Still the industry still pushes centralized nukes that pass their enormous health, nuclear waste and decommissioning costs to the public. Better uses for these robots abound.
Jason Catterall
Hmm... I like the idea, but this does seem to be one of the poorer implementations I have seen. The Chinese cement based system is a lot faster, has a much larger nozzle, continuous feed (are those tiny cartridges they are changing in this vid?), plus this system seems to suffer from extreme slumping, which means it's essentially useless for building anything.
Albalma
This definitely needs a lot of improvement, it's not precise and hanging it with cables seems to create accuracy issues. The pattern seems to need improvement as well and there are already machines that can do this much faster and efficiently. Having a tiny cartridge is a necessity created by the suspension method, which would make it even less accurate if a hose were connected. I would suggest a top hung feeding hose, but the added weight would still make things move slightly to the center. Completely impractical unless these issues are solved.
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