As part of DFAB HOUSE, Smart Dynamic Casting was used for the automated prefabrication of material-optimised load-bearing concrete mullions. Smart Dynamic Casting is suitable for the fabrication of standard and non-standard architectural columns.

Smart Dynamic Casting (SDC) is a continuous robotic slip-forming process that enables the prefabrication of material-optimised load-bearing concrete structures using a formwork significantly smaller than the structure produced. In this automated process, a dynamic formwork is continuously moved at a velocity which allows concrete to be shaped during its delicate phase, as it changes from a soft to a hard material.

The SDC process is an efficient fabrication technique for non-standard structures, as one single formwork can be used to produce columns with varied cross sections. SDC has been suitably modified for DFAB HOUSE to fabricate 15 bespoke load-bearing concrete mullions. The research focused on developing a fully automated robotic slip-forming process for producing 3 metre-tall reinforced façade elements with a minimal cross section of 70 x 100 mm. This included developing a flexible formwork system that allows concrete to be shaped to very small dimensions and an automated material processing system in which material hydration can be controlled. The ongoing production enables production of a mullion of 3-metres in 4 hours.

Research on SDC is conducted in an interdisciplinary setting in which architects, mechanical and structural engineers, and materials scientists all work together with the goal of producing non-standard concrete structures using a single flexible formwork.

Project credits:
Leading investigators
Prof. Dr. Robert Flatt, Chair of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials, ETH Zurich
Prof. Fabio Gramazio, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Prof. Matthias Kohler, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Prof. Dr. Walter Kaufmann, Chair of Structural Engineering – Concrete Structures and Bridge Design, ETH Zurich

Contributing researchers
Dr. Ena Lloret-Fritschi (Project lead), Fabio Scotto, Lex Reiter, Dr. Timothy Wangler, Lukas Fuhrimann, Dr. Jaime Mata Falcón, Marc Schultheiss, Samuel Rebelo Garcia, Nicola Vasic

Supporting technicians
Hans Flückiger, Michael Lyrenmann, Andreas Reusser, Heinz Richner

Industry partners
Pemat AG
Zühlke Engineering AG

Image credits:
Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich or Keystone / Christian Beutler.
If you intend to use one of the images, please contact us for the exact image credits.