Robotic Screw-Press Gluing

Associated Project 13 (AP 13)

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In this project, potentials for timber construction are to be developed within the current building inspection regulations with a focus on the application of automated and at the same time flexible screw-press bonding methods. Due to the competence of the applicants both in computational design, digital manufacturing methods but also material-specific technical knowledge, moreover, further proposals for adaptations of the building regulations can be supported with well-founded tests and exact, detailed investigations. This allows the development of highly innovative processes with the latest materials and comprehensive possibilities for material-efficient, high-performance timber construction within the quality-assurance criteria for safe buildings. The aim of the project is further to verify the prerequisite for application-specific manufacturing processes of robotically bonded timber joints, to discuss further development possibilities and to identify possible obstacles at an early stage. The joining processes developed in the project have the potential to find broad application in versatile building systems of the future.
It is generally acknowledged in timber construction that additive production steps, such as joining and connecting wooden components to form large assemblies are only automated to a limited extent. In these spatially complex fabrication operations, industrial robots can play a key role, as they not only have the necessary flexibility, but also can spatially arrange components with high precision. Research at the ETH Zurich have been devoted to this topic for several years. At first, wooden beams were robotically joined and nailed, which contributes to a smooth fabrication process, but poses major challenges to the structural analysis. In parallel, bonded joints with epoxy adhesives were investigated, which, however, still required manual injection of the adhesive and sealing of the joint was required. A similar method is currently being developed by TS3 engineers in Switzerland. This achieves flexible bonding of CLT panels through pressure-free and jointfilling adhesive systems bonding of CLT panels on the construction site. However, due to the required joint thickness, this construction method requires particularly high quantities of adhesive and additionally depends on manual work. To achieve the required pressure for bonding with small joint dimensions, various different processes and pressure devices are known to achieve the required pressures for bonding with small joint dimensions. The screw press bonding offers the only possibility to work without form-restricting pressing machines, but its potential in digital fabrication is not yet explored and brought into alignment with building codes.
The project combines explorative-empirical as well as systematic-technical research methods within an interdisciplinary team. The system development within the research project follows the principles of integrative, feedback-driven and interdisciplinary research. Based on fully digital design, planning, and manufacturing processes, structures that were unattainable until a few years ago can be planned and manufactured.



Prof. Achim Menges
Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD), University of Stuttgart


Tim Stark (ICD)
Tobias Schwinn (ICD)
Hans Jakob Wagner {ICD)
Aaron Münzer (MPA)


Dr. Simon Aicher
MPA – Materials Testing Institute, Department for Timber Structures, University of Stuttgart Dr. Simon Aicher


BBSR - Bundesinstitut für Bau- Stadt- und Raumforschung im Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung
Innovationsprogramm Zukunft Bau
Projekt: „Robotische Schraubenpressklebungen: Entwicklung hochleistungs- und anpassungs-fähiger, digital gefertigter Klebeverbindungen im Holzbau“, SWD-






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