Concrete Products

APR 2019

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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20 • April 2019 NEWS SCOPE TECHNOLOGY A robotics-savvy, 3D concrete printing equipment developer eyeing affordable housing solutions will deploy its first commercial unit in partnership with a fellow Austin, Texas, business and like-minded real estate developer. Against the backdrop of last month's 2019 South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW), Icon and Cielo Property Group announced commissioning of a printer for rapid delivery of modest (< 1,000 sq. ft.) but robust residences in the Texas capital city—one of the country's hottest housing markets. A gantry device engineered to traverse conventional slabs on grade, Icon's 33- x 11.5-ft. Vulcan II printer will net walls up to 28 feet wide, 8.5 feet high and of unlimited depth for homes typically under 2,000 square feet. The three-sided machine supports a printer trolley whose nozzle places Lavacrete, a proprietary portland cement mix, in 1-in. high, 2-in. wide beads at 5 to 7 inches per second. Presumably dosed with rheology and viscosity modifying admixtures, the 6,000-psi mix is produced in the equivalent of a portable batch plant; dubbed Magma, it is transported along with the Vulcan II in a custom trailer. An integrated, tablet-based system controls all printer and batch plant aspects and is programmed, Icon officials note, to "capture real-time data down to the millisecond, enabling machine learning and predictive analytics so machines get smarter over time." "Vulcan II is ready to move out of Icon's lab and into the world to begin its very good work of delivering affordable, resilient, dignified housing around the world," says Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of Icon. "Vulcan II is the first printer of its kind in that it has the capa- bility of printing homes in which people actually want to live. It can 3D concrete printer nears commercialization via Texas housing plan Compared to its predecessor, the Vulcan II printer is 2.5 times faster and features tablet-based controls, advanced UI, automated material mixing, and a four-times larger print area. It's transported in a custom trailer along with the equivalent of a portable batch plant.

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