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Automation engineer machines first plant-ready 3D concrete printer

Sources: USABotics, Linton, Utah; CP staff

USABotics, a specialist in robotics and manufacturing automation, has marked the commercial debut of 3D concrete printing equipment in the North American market through a new entity, MudBots, and charter namesake model. The MudBots 664 Concrete Printer consists of a rectangular, gantry-like CNC (computer numerical control) table whose software-driven devices operate on XYZ axes to extrude near-zero slump mixes in cord-like layers.

The 664 prints up to 6- x 6- x 4-ft. products or structures in layers up to 8 in. wide through round nozzles. Along with extrusion pump and adjustable extrusion head capable of placing mixes at up to 340 in. per minute, the MudBot includes batch and pump delivery components for production and transfer of mixes designed with ½-in. or finer aggregate and typically dosed with rheology modifying admixtures to maintain tight layer tolerances. It is based on a mortar printer USABotics delivered to a statue and monument customer in 2017, and serves as a template for MudBot models capable of printing concrete structures up to 100- x 100- x 25-ft.

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The MudBot 664 premiered at the World of Concrete 2019 in Las Vegas—the first showing of a production 3D concrete printer at a North American gathering.

In addition to production components, the MudBot 664 package includes USABotics’ Simplify3D slicing software, which controls all aspects of the print from basic parameters such as layer height and line speed to complex infill patterns and percentages. The equipment executes mortar or concrete products or structures generated on any 3D software and imported to Simplify3D.

“MudBots seeks to automate the manual-labor-concentrated construction sector. Our ground-breaking 3D printer will provide a test bed for advanced cement or mortar mixtures, and enable architects and engineers to challenge design paradigms and explore possibilities that were not previously available with cast-in-place or pre-cast concrete methods,” says USABotics CEO James Lyman. Just as it has revolutionized discrete part mechanical design and workflow over the past five years, he adds, “3D printing will redefine the manner in which architects and structural engineers think about job solutions and broaden their pallet of tools for Industry 4.0.”

MudBots is developing a dealer program under which 664 or other model customers have defined territories in states, regions or metropolitan areas. It is also seeking to partner with batch plant equipment manufacturers, packaged mortar or concrete mix producers, and admixture companies to evolve the 3D printing platform and user/producer supply chains. — USABotics; 800/733-2302; MudBots.com