NTU Singapore develops technology that can 3D-print a bathroom unit within a day
According to Assoc Prof Tan Ming Jen,” 3D-printing a bathroom unit could help manufacturers halve their production time while lowering transport costs, carbon emissions, and materials wastage. Less space is required to create and store the same number of PBUs in land-scarce Singapore since conventional PBUs take about two weeks before they can be ready.
By being able to print-on-demand, companies can save on their inventory costs as well as manpower costs, as they don’t have to hold as much stock and their workers can be redeployed to do higher-level tasks. This approach improves the safety of the workplace since robots are doing the construction of the bathroom unit.
According to team lead from Sembcorp Design and Construction, and Sembcorp Architects & Engineers Er Lie Liong Tjen, “3D printing technology allows concrete to be printed and customized. The complicated shape of a PBU and its walls can be developed and printed at a faster pace to satisfy the needs of individual customers as no formwork or molds are required, whereas conventional construction of PBUs with concrete or lightweight wall panels always limit the possibilities of design. In addition, 3D printing can build curvilinear profiles rather than rectilinear forms”.
According to NRF CEO, Professor Low Tech Seng, “Corporate laboratories are an integral part of our strategy to anchor joint R&D partnerships between our universities and companies in areas that have direct relevance to the growth of industries in Singapore, The HP-NTU Digital Manufacturing Corporate Laboratory is significant to our long-term competitiveness in the advanced manufacturing sector and ensures that we stay relevant in the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is evolving and growing rapidly worldwide. It will also strengthen our capabilities to support multinational companies for expansion from Singapore into the region.”
According to Asst Prof Pham from NTU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, “We envisioned a team of robots which can be transported to a work site, print large pieces of concrete structures and then move on to the next project once the parts have been printed.
This research builds on the knowledge we have acquired from developing a robot to autonomously assemble. But this latest project is more complex in terms of planning, execution, and on a much larger scale.”
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February 6-7, 2018