LARGE-SCALE CONSTRUCTION ROBOTICS LABORATORY
An effective research infrastructure is of crucial importance for the success of the cluster. A central structural goal is, therefore, the creation of an internationally unique and interdisciplinary Large-Scale Construction Robotics Laboratory (LCRL). Within the upcoming three years, this laboratory will be set up on the campus in Vaihingen. Meanwhile an interim laboratory and construction site has started its operation in the near vicinity of the University. The LCRL is to become a central research platform that addresses the three key objectives of the cluster: research into integrative and computational design and construction methods, the development of novel processes for cyber-physical prefabrication and on-site robotic construction, and the associated emergence of intelligent and sustainable building systems. In line with this objective, joint cyber-physical prefabrication platforms are set-up that synthesize the requirements and developments of our research.
Instrumentation Platform for Off- & On-Site Fabrication
The concept of the instrumentation platform for off- & on-site fabrication is defined to answer the versatile project-based requests of the AEC industry, which were determined in continuous feedback with the building system developments. Thus, this High Level of Automation fabrication setup is designed for a maximum of mobility, flexibility, and adaptability. Founded on currently four ISO-certified containers, the industrial robots on linear axis’ can be shipped and installed with low effort and standard equipment. Existing and new hardware can be changed in between the platforms quickly to adapt the machines skills sets for specific fabrication requirements. An open software architecture enables automatic adaptation to the respective system configuration. Additional machinery like the autonomous mobile robot connects this island-based concept for fluid fabrication.
The robotic platform and its components were developed in the course of the research projects "Cyber-Physical Wood Fabrication Platform" and "Cyber-Physical Prefabrication Platform for Fibre Composites". For the current research two units are dedicated to "Cyber-Physical Fabrication Platform: Fluid Fabrication" and two units to "Extention of the Cyber-Physical Prefabrication Platform".
The semi-autonomous cyber-physical fabrication system is essential for the prefabrication of flexible wide spanning and multi-storey wood building systems. Two heavy payload industrial robots and customized end effectors equip the system for the manifold additive and subtractive manufacturing steps of soft- and hardwood components in the prefabrication facilities and onsite. Augmented reality technology integrates humans, robots, and other fabrication actors such as the autonomous mobile robot in collaborative workflows. That way, this setup breaks free from the usually stringent constrains of High Level of Automation fabrication concepts.
The additive cyber-physical prefabrication platform for fibre composite building elements is the cornerstone of IntCDC’s fabrication infrastructure for fibrous architecture. It allows for the manufacturing of large-scale fibre parts and can accommodate a wide variety of building system typologies due to its flexible and modular design. Two six axis industrial robot arms are equipped with bespoke fiber manipulator heads carrying orientation-agnostic impregnation systems to allow for maximum dexterity and reachability. Sensor feedback and online path correction make the coreless filament winding process more robust and reliable.
- Multi-Storey Wood Building System (RP 3-1)
- Cyber-Physical Wood Fabrication Platform (RP 4-1)
- Cyber-Physical Fabrication Platform: Fluid Fabrication (RP 4-2)
- Long-span Fibre Composite Structures (RP 11-1)
- Cyber-Physical Prefabrication Platform for Fibre Composites (RP 14-1)
- Extention of the Cyber-Physical Prefabrication Platform (RP 14-2)
Instrumentation Platform for On-Site Large Scale Robotic Construction
The main objective of this platform is twofold. On the one hand, the intention is to address the integration challenge of the Cluster's Research Network 1 (Multi-storey Building Systems) through the development of methods and processes for on-site cyber-physical construction and element assembly of multi-story buildings. The base platform for this investigation is a tower crane, which as a large workspace serving handling system realizes automated pick up and place processes for prefabricated elements using novel handling and gripping concepts. To suppress sway motions and enable an autonomous transport and positioning of elements, the conducted research focuses on anti-sway control and trajectory generation methods in static and dynamic environments. For the derivation of an environmental model and to monitor the construction site including dynamic obstacles, the tower crane is equipped with an image-based sensor network. The environmental model and a robotic total station network enable accurate positioning of elements in georeferenced coordinates.
On the other hand, the second objective is to address the performance challenge of the second research network through the development of a robotic system for on-site construction with advanced haptic perception. A spyder crane is used to to automatically place elements in the assembly process of timber and long-span buildings with high positioning accuracy and utmost care, in order to guarantee for the intactness of fragile elements. The high-positional accuracy is achieved by feedback control algorithms using absolute position feedback of a robotic total station network. The focus of research ranges from smart teleoperation to fully autonomous control, including haptic feedback, automation of time-consuming tasks, force control, trajectory generation in contact situations, and machine-machine collaboration.
For the automation of indoor construction tasks specifically for the extension of the existing building stock in the third research network, mobile manipulators offer great flexibility and provide digital support for time-consuming tasks such as the positioning or assembly of building elements. The research project focuses on collaborative path and trajectory generation, indoor positioning and environmental sensing algorithms, e.g. simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). SLAM algorithms are developed for positioning of the mobile manipulators and the acquisition of 3D information of the respective indoor environment.
- Cyber-Physical Construction Platform (RP 8-2)
- Cyber-Physical On-Site Construction Processes Using a Spider Crane Robotic Platform (RP 16-2)
- AI-supported Collaborative Control and Trajectory Generation of Mobile Manipulators for Indoor Construction Tasks (RP 26-2)
- Functionally Graded Concrete Building System – Design, Optimisation, Digital Production and Reuse (RP 1-2)
- Prestressed Graded Concrete Components with Basalt Reinforcement (RP 22-1)
Instrumentation Platform for Distributed Robotics
This platform provides the infrastructure for the investigation of the automation of construction with the smallest set of robots within IntCDC. The platform enables research on distributed robotic systems in which robots are general small enough to fit in a suitcase and must collaborate in teams to assemble and potentially further rearrange structures. Specifically, the platform contains tools for prototyping the robotic systems themselves as well as the necessary hardware for localization of the robots when deployed in construction scenarios.
- Robotic Kinematic System for Parallel Construction (RP 19-1)
- Co-Design Methods for Developing Distributed Cooperative Multi-Robot Systems for Construction (RP 19-2)