July 10, 2019

Digital Fabrication for Concrete Formwork

Project Funded by:  Turner Construction
CERC Applied Research Fellowship
Faculty Advisor:  Carrie Sturts Dossick
Ph.D. Canddiate:  Sadra Fardhosseini
Turner Partners:  Renzo DiFuria, Sean Beatty

“Digital fabrication is an emerging approach to transforming design to physical products. While a number of studies have been carried out to highlight the use of digital technologies in construction, there is still a dearth of studies focused on design-to-fabrication workflows for concrete formwork in construction projects. In response, the overarching goal of this study is to develop a design-to-fabrication workflow using digital models and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines with a focus on formwork fabrication. The specific objectives are to (1) develop a detailed workflow from the design phase of formwork to the fabrication phase, and (2) develop automated procedures to support the workflow without extensive manual intervention. This workflow integrates Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), trade coordination, parametric modeling, software customization, tool path development, and CNC routing in order to produce precise prefabricated formwork components. To test and validate the workflow, the research team will use a case study for the prefabrication of cast-in-place concrete structural and architectural elements. The case study shows that the use of the workflow for CNC machines supports craftsmanship to improve labor productivity, safety, and fabrication quality. The results demonstrate the advantages of using this workflow over the traditional approach to support project teams’ productivity and enable them to make informed decisions for their implementation of digital fabrication.”