Züblin constructs ‘world first’ load-bearing concrete walls with 3D printer

Züblin, a Germany-based construction engineering company and subsidiary of Putzmeister and Strabag, announced it constructed a building from a single 3D print with load-bearing concrete walls; a ‘world first’ according to the company.

A 3D printed warehouse for Strabag (Image: Putzmeister) Züblin uses a Putzmeister 3D printer to construct a warehouse for Strabag in Germany (Image: Putzmeister)

The building is Strabag Baumaschinentechnik International’s newest warehouse in Stuttgart, Germany, and its construction will both create a new facility for Strabag while testing Züblin’s 3D printing capabilities and processes.

Using Putzmeister’s KARLOS mobile concrete printer, the machine’s mast boom has a 26-metre reach. It’s extensive span, Züblin said, allows the application of “concrete in several layers precisely on the basis of a predefined and digital blueprint via a special print head.”

Until now, the challenges of 3D concrete printing have mainly been the lack of scalability of the technology for large-scale projects. “Printing has mainly been done with so-called portal printers, which are limited to the production of smaller buildings,” said Züblin.

The company added that KARLOS allows more flexibility and range, which provides the potential for scalability – even for large-scale projects.

Strabag's 3D-printed warehouse (Image: Putzmeister) The finished Strabag warehouse after KARLOS, a Putzmeister 3D printer, delivered the concrete paste. (Image: Putzmeister)

Delivering cementitious paste in a rectangular method, much like the form of a brick (as opposed to a rounded edge like most 3D concrete printers), the squared walls are able to support the weight of the building.

Combined with electrification, digital planning, and use of a BIM model on this project, Züblin said it’s hoping to develop novel construction methods for the future.

“The combination of the production steps from the digital planning of the BIM model (Building Information Modelling) to the implementation by 3D printer revolutionizes the processes in construction. Work processes are significantly streamlined and accelerated by automation,” said the company.

“In addition to the complete elimination of formwork work, the economic and ecological advantages of the method include the production of solid wall cross-sections in a single operation and the use of CO2-reduced concretes.

“By using only green electricity for the all-electric machine and using CO2-reduced concretes, Züblin and Putzmeister are making an important contribution to making building construction more sustainable in the future.”


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Andy Brown Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786224 E-mail: [email protected]
Neil Gerrard Senior Editor, Editorial, UK - Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 7355 092 771 E-mail: [email protected]
Catrin Jones Deputy Editor, Editorial, UK – Wadhurst Tel: +44 (0) 791 2298 133 E-mail: [email protected]
Eleanor Shefford Brand Manager Tel: +44 (0) 1892 786 236 E-mail: [email protected]