HS2 harnesses the power of graphene reinforced concrete 3D printing
In a UK first, on-site 3D printing of reinforced concrete is expected to deliver environmental, economic and community benefits for the new UK high-speed rail network. The state-of-the-art technology, called “Print infrastructure”, will be deployed by HS2 Ltd’s London tunnel contractor, SCS JV (Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture), in a move that represents a major breakthrough in construction technology.
HS2 is a new high-speed railway connecting London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland serving more than 25 stations, including eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities and connecting around 30 million people. The construction of the new railway is divided into three phases: the first phase connecting London and the West Midlands; Phase 2a connecting the West Midlands and the North via Crewe; and phase 2b completing the railway to Manchester and Leeds.
And where the construction of the HS2 takes place in addition to a live railway, it offers the possibility of delivering work without disturbing the traveling public. This is because a robot will print the reinforced concrete, allowing construction to continue and trains to run at the same time. Previously, the work would have taken place at night after the trains had stopped, potentially disrupting the local community, or would have required the suspension of services to ensure safe work.
SCS JV estimates that the process it is developing with the Midlands firm could reduce the concrete used and help reduce carbon by up to 50%. By removing steel and simplifying the construction process, which will require no more cranes and far fewer delivery trucks, the carbon reduction could be even greater.
HS2 Chief Innovation Officer Rob Cairns said: “The SCS JV Project and ChangeMaker 3D Collaborate is a fantastic demonstration of the kind of far-reaching innovations that HS2 enables. With a build program spanning the decade and across the country, the project creates an ideal environment to develop technologies with the potential to transform the way large infrastructure is built.
SCS JV temporary works manager Andrew Duck said “The automation enabled by Printfrastructure’s reinforced concrete 3D printing creates a factory-like environment that delivers a high-quality product that both increases the efficient use of materials and reduces our carbon footprint. It is important that we give technologies such as Printfrastructure the opportunity to flourish. because of the opportunities it offers the industry to radically change the way projects are delivered. “
Natalie Wadley, Director of ChangeMaker 3D, said: “ChangeMaker 3D stands for sustainability in the built environment. Through our Print infrastructure innovation project with SCS JV – a UK first for this technology – and with brilliant project partners, we are proud to support the rail industry to unlock low carbon construction. “
Source: High Speed Two Ltd
Top image: Skanska