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Switzerland Unveils First Digital Building | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Two CTR robots play Chinese ancient chime bells at the World Robot Exhibition during the World Robot Conference in Beijing, China, November 24, 2015. The conference, which kicked off in Beijing on Monday, is a three-day event including a forum, an exhibition and a robot contest for youths, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Cologne, Germany- The Swiss “Hoho Tower” has been listed in Guinness records as the first 84m, 24-story twin tower project built only from wood. Following this success in the field of eco-friendly construction, Swiss engineers will soon start a new adventure to build the first “digital” building in the world, as it will be schemed and constructed by robots and without any human intervention.

Eight professors from ETH Zurich specialized in architect and robotic systems, will run the construction of the DFAB House. The project will be implemented by two Swiss companies “Empa” and “Eawag.”

Sources from Zurich University said the DFAB House will be the first building in the world to be constructed by robots, and 3D printers.

The projects will offer the Swiss scientists participating in the “digital production program” the opportunity to try several robotic systems and techniques that were developed over the past few years. Scientists plan to build a three-story building, which will be an extension at the Dübendorf NEST campus.

Swiss scientists will use four digital construction systems in this projects, including the “Mesh Mould technology” that uses two-meter robot dubbed “Situ Fabricator”, which can build concrete walls without any human intervention.

It is known that the Mesh Mold robot designs the iron bars according to the demanded form, which saves much time and money for construction companies. It also merges the concreting and reinforcement processes in one operation. Then, only few beautifying adjustments on the exterior surface will be needed.

In its work, the technique relies on a customized software that helps in drawing the demanded iron grids, so Mesh Mold can execute them on ground. The robot makes the reinforcement iron bars in the form of a grid that prevents the concrete from pouring out. The robot is also able to make unlimited forms of iron grids.

This robot was tested for the first time in the construction of an invention and innovation center in the city of Dübendorf, Switzerland. The project saw the participation of Prof Fabio Gramazio and Prof Matthias Kohler, along with three of their students.

After “Situ Fabricator” finishes the first story of the house, another robot “Smart Slab” will build the ceiling using light but solid concrete. The production of the ceiling concrete boards will be left for another robot that uses the 3D printing technique.

Smart Dynamic Casting is another digital process that robotically shapes concrete and makes them of eco-friendly new materials.

Matthias Kohler, ETH professor founding director of the NCCR Digital Fabrication explains that unlike construction projects that use only a single digital building technology, such as 3D printed houses, the DFAB House depends on robots only.