SCA Selective Cement Activation

In 2020, we created a pretty big factory, with a pretty big printer inside, that can create pretty big parts through a novel manufacturing technology. Selective Cement Activation, SCA for short, is a novel technology for the additive manufacturing of building components. It bridges the gap between additive (serial) production and construction in a radically new way and opens up the possibility scale 3D Printing in size and speed, while enabling the usage of sustainable material alternatives.

SCA Selective Cement Activation

THE BIG FUTURE FACTORY

The so-called Selective Cement Activation, SCA technology for short, combines additive (series) production with construction in a radically new way. With this (extraordinary) technology it is possible to combine aspects such as sustainability, industrialization and the advantages of freedom of geometry in construction.

THE BIG

FUTURE

FACTORY

An activator (water or salt-water) is sprayed from a print head onto a thin layer of powder that contains a cementious binder, causing the individual particles to bond. A new layer is then applied and the component is built up three-dimensionally, layer by layer. The starting material is econit, a cementitious material with excellent functional properties, comparable to concrete and in some cases even surpassing its characteristics. By adding a wide variety of aggregates such as sand, brick chippings, expanded clay, wood chips, rice grains or straw, a wide range of esthetic, functional or technical material properties can be specifically obtained, with effects on density, compressive strength, thermal or sound insulation of the building components.

THE BIG

FUTURE

FACTORY

An activator (water or salt-water) is sprayed from a print head onto a thin layer of powder that contains a cementious binder, causing the individual particles to bond. A new layer is then applied and the component is built up three-dimensionally, layer by layer. The starting material is econit, a cementitious material with excellent functional properties, comparable to concrete and in some cases even surpassing its characteristics. By adding a wide variety of aggregates such as sand, brick chippings, expanded clay, wood chips, rice grains or straw, a wide range of esthetic, functional or technical material properties can be specifically obtained, with effects on density, compressive strength, thermal or sound insulation of the building components.

worker walking in front of machine for 3d printing with SCA technology

CLOSING THE DIGITAL CHAIN

Planning and production rely on a single 3D model. This results in an end-to-end digitalized process. In the big future factory, we are able to transfer digital designs from virtuality to reality by the press of a button, exactly like planned.
The factory is designed to perform under high loads with different types of building materials.
Production capacity here is 2m² material per hour and we can fabricate up to 22 hours a day.
(thats 44m² printing each day if our math is correct…)

worker walking in front of machine for 3d printing with SCA technology

CLOSING THE DIGITAL CHAIN

Planning and production rely on a single 3D model. This results in an end-to-end digitalized process. In the big future factory, we are able to transfer digital designs from virtuality to reality by the press of a button, exactly like planned.
The factory is designed to perform under high loads with different types of building materials.
Production capacity here is 2m² material per hour and we can fabricate up to 22 hours a day.
(thats 44m² printing each day if our math is correct…)

With Selective Cement Activation, individual, freely shaped prefabricated elements up to a size of 4 m or 10 m3 can be produced without formwork. The components have a high level of detail accuracy (layer thickness 1-3 mm), are dimensionally stable, free of warpage, weatherproof, exceptionally hard, mineral and fire-retardant. Depending on the composition of the components, they are recyclable, CO2-neutral and sustainable, as wood and other renewable raw materials can be used as aggregates. If desired, the components can be colored through with lightfast, UV-resistant pigments or paints.

SCA is ideal for e.g.:

  • Prefabricated elements for the outside of the building, e.g. facades
  • Prefabricated elements for the interior of the building, e.g. stairs, columns, wall elements
  • Design objects and artworks

With Selective Cement Activation, individual, freely shaped prefabricated elements up to a size of 4 m or 10 m3 can be produced without formwork. The components have a high level of detail accuracy (layer thickness 1-3 mm), are dimensionally stable, free of warpage, weatherproof, exceptionally hard, mineral and fire-retardant. Depending on the composition of the components, they are recyclable, CO2-neutral and sustainable, as wood and other renewable raw materials can be used as aggregates. If desired, the components can be colored through with lightfast, UV-resistant pigments or paints.

SCA is ideal for e.g.:

  • Prefabricated elements for the outside of the building, e.g. facades
  • Prefabricated elements for the interior of the building, e.g. stairs, columns, wall elements
  • Design objects and artworks

For our production line, we use mostly recycled aggregates.
Econit Air, for example, is made of expanded glass that can’t be used for the production of bottles anymore, allowing us to up-cycle waste material into high-tech building elements. Every material parameter needs to be controlled in order to achieve a material mixture that fulfills our standards. But by grinding our material to the right grain sizes, we ensure reliable manufacturing performance.

For our production line, we use mostly recycled aggregates.
Econit Air, for example, is made of expanded glass that can’t be used for the production of bottles anymore, allowing us to up-cycle waste material into high-tech building elements. Every material parameter needs to be controlled in order to achieve a material mixture that fulfills our standards. But by grinding our material to the right grain sizes, we ensure reliable manufacturing performance.

For our production line, we use mostly recycled aggregates.
Econit Air, for example, is made of expanded glass that can’t be used for the production of bottles anymore, allowing us to up-cycle waste material into high-tech building elements. Every material parameter needs to be controlled in order to achieve a material mixture that fulfills our standards. But by grinding our material to the right grain sizes, we ensure reliable manufacturing performance.

CAPABILITIES Consultancy&Development

CAPABILITIES
Design&Consultancy

Material Development

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Material Testing

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Cost Planning

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Process Development

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Cost Evaluation

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Decommissioning

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Installation Methodology

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Fabrication Consultancy

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Ingredients List & Carbon Audit

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CAPABILITIES
Digital Technologies

CAPABILITIES Digital Design Technologies

3D Scanning

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Digital Detailing

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Individual Process Chain

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Digital Modelling & Renders

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Parametric Design

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Advanced Robotics

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Fabrication-oriented Design

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Architectural Design

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Fabrication Simulation

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CAPABILITIES
Fabrication Technologies

CAPABILITIES Fabrication Technologies

Selective Cement Activation (SCA)

Selective Cement Activation, SCA for short, is a novel technology for the additive manufacturing of building components. It bridges the gap between additive (serial) production and construction in a radically new way and opens up the possibility scale 3D Printing in size and speed, while enabling the usage of sustainable material alternatives.

Robotic FDM

Robotic FDM works according to the principle of classic FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling), with the difference that the extruder is attached to a swiveling robot arm. Due to the robot arm’s action radius of 3 m, significantly larger objects become feasible. The 6- or 8-axis industrial robots enable precise and individual material placement at the highest level of complexity.

Robotic WAAM

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Electron Beam Melting (PBF-EB/M)

In electron beam melting (EBM or PBF-EB/M), titanium powder is melted layer by layer at defined coordinates, similar to laser melting (PBF-LB/M), but by means of an electron beam in a high vacuum and thus joined to form a component. A cathode heated to 2,500 °C emits electrons for this purpose, which are directed by electromagnetic fields and strike the metal powder at half the speed of light.

Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM)

Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) is a wire-based technology that welds metal in layers using arc technology to build up the component additively. The technology has high deposition rates resulting in high buildup rates (600 cm³/h) as well as short production times and is impressive due to its broad material selection and low material costs. Material buildup in the machine is carried out on 3 or 5 axes, which allows complex structures or cavities.

Supersonic 3D Deposition (SP3D)

In Supersonic 3D Deposition (SP3D), the layer buildup is based on the principle of cold spray, i.e. metal powder is accelerated through a rocket nozzle to three times the speed of sound, which makes the individual particles bond with each other by deformation due to the high kinetic energy, thus forming the component. The component is created as a near-net-shape blank, which is then finished by CNC milling either completely or only on the required functional surfaces.

Laser Melting (PBF-LB/M)

In laser melting (LM or PBF-LB/M), metal powder is deposited layer by layer onto a build platform, with each layer heated to the melting point at specified coordinates by laser beams. By fusing the powder within a layer and across multiple layers, the component is built up in three dimensions. Unlike electron beam melting (EBM or PBF-EB/M), the build space is not preheated, resulting in a high temperature difference between the processed and the already cooled layers.

Selective Laser Sintering (PBF-LB/P)

In selective laser sintering (SLS resp. PBF-LB/P), as in all laser powder bed fusion technologies, plastic powder is deposited over the entire surface of a build platform. A CO2 laser heats the plastic particles at predefined coordinates almost to their melting point, causing them to bond together. Once a layer has been produced, the build platform is lowered, a new layer of powder is applied and the component is thus produced in three dimensions.

Stereolithography (SLA)

In stereolithography (SLA), the first and longest-used 3D printing process, a duroplastic synthetic or epoxy resin (photopolymer) is cured by an ultraviolet laser beam guided along the component contours via movable mirrors. Once the layer is completely cured, the build space is lowered, a new layer is applied and the entire component is thus built up in three dimensions. Support structures are required to fix the components in the liquid build space, and these are removed manually afterwards.

Digital Light Processing (DLP)

Digital Light Processing (DLP) uses a liquid photopolymer that is cured by UV light projection. Unlike stereolithography (SLA), the light does not penetrate the material from above but from below through the transparent bottom of the build plate (top-bottom process). The component is thus exposed to light layer by layer and pressed upwards out of the build space.

Selective Paste Intrusion

The new SAF technology uses a bed of polyamide powder, as in selective laser sintering (PBF-LB/P). However, the layer-by-layer bonding of the powder particles is not effected by a laser, but by an infrared-sensitive energy absorption fluid, a so-called High Absorbing Fluid. This binder is applied selectively via piezoelectric industrial print heads, and curing is performed with IR light.

Binder Jetting

In binder jetting, also known as Drop on Powder (DOP) technology, a liquid binder is sprayed from a print head, similar to an inkjet printer, along the component contours onto a thin layer of plastic powder and causes the individual plastic particles to stick together. The build area is then lowered, a new layer of powder is applied and the entire component is built up three-dimensionally in several layers.

PolyJet

In the PolyJet process, also known as Fine Layer Technique (FLT), a liquid photopolymer is sprayed from an inkjet print head along the component contours onto the build platform and immediately cured using UV light. The build platform is then lowered and the next layer of the component is applied. Depending on the geometry of the component, PolyJet requires support structures to attach the component to the build platform and support overhangs.

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FDM may not be the first but the best-known 3D printing technology. It was developed in the late 1980s and has evolved to be a very mature and stable technology. The technology is similar to that of a hot glue gun. A wire-shaped, thermoplastic filament is heated to the melting point in an extruder and deposited in liquid form onto a build platform along the contours of the component.

Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP)

In Gel Dispensing Printing (GDP), a highly viscous gel (white photopolymer acrylate) is applied layer by layer from an extruder under computer control and immediately cured using UV light. The build area is then lowered and the next layer of the component is applied. With GDP, almost all geometries can be built as hollow bodies and without support structures, which has a positive effect on manufacturing costs and times.

Ceramic Printing

In ceramic printing, which is based on the principle of binder jetting, a liquid binder is sprayed from a print head, similar to an inkjet printer, in layers along the component contours onto a ceramic powder, causing the individual particles to stick together. The material used is Amcelain, a special ceramic powder developed for this technology. After manufacturing, the green compacts are fired for the first time.

Vacuum Casting

The basis for vacuum casting is the production of a master pattern, which is manufactured in 3D printing using stereolithography (SLA). The master pattern is fixed in a frame after the mold separation, sprue and risers have been determined. The frame is then poured with a 2K silicone. After the silicone has cured, the silicone mold is cut open with a scalpel along the defined mold parting line and the master pattern is removed.

CNC Milling

CNC milling is a metal-cutting manufacturing process for the production of components with a geometrically precisely defined shape, with CNC standing for “Computerized Numerical Control”. Based on a CAD model, a tool that resembles a twist drill but has a different cutting geometry is guided against the workpiece by computer to remove chips from the component. In contrast to additive technologies, in which material is applied, milling is a subtractive technology.

Welding & Assembly

Depending on the project definition, single components (either manufactured by additive tectonics, purchased, or provided by the customer) are mounted to accomplish the entire assembly. This can be done by a catalog of options available in additive tectonics‘s model building department, e.g. by screwing, gluing, or welding of metal or plastic parts.

Painting

In order to achieve the desired result by painting, various preparatory steps are necessary, e.g. to eliminate a corrugated structure or other surface defects. Before paint or clear-coat is applied, the component is initially cleaned of loose material residues by blasting, followed by priming and/or filling as well as sanding. This process can be repeated, if necessary, until the required surface quality is achieved. After completion of the preparatory steps, the component can be painted. Textured, matte, gloss, or high-gloss paint can be mixed in almost all RAL and Pantone colors, to be applied in one or more color layers.

Model Making

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