Applauding XtreeE in Leading 3D Printing Revolution

By Akio
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clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Applauding @XtreeE in Leading a
#3dprinting Revolution in #AEC | @3DSAEC

Even as digital technology is transforming AEC processes, emerging digital platforms stand poised to transform construction products themselves.

Paris-based XtreeE is seeking to lead an industrial revolution in construction, civil and mechanical engineering by using 3D printing for large-scale architectural applications.

Through integrated consulting, manufacturing and technology, XtreeE provides education on how to use additive construction in the construction industry, while also developing end-user solutions and the technology needed to fabricate products.

Watch this 360-degree video to experience the process of designing and 3D printing a concrete structure:

(Tip: Use the directional controls to pan around the room as the video plays.)

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: [VIDEO] Watch
@XtreeE #3dprinting in action

XtreeE’s Exploration of Additive Printing

Led by Philippe Morel, architect and founder of EZCT Architecture & Design Research, the group brings together architects, civil engineers, material research engineers, scientists and roboticists.

The possibilities—including structural pillars, truss structures and walls—that XtreeE present are promising.

3D Printing as the Future for Construction

The concept of using additive construction to manufacture building components may be the next step in the evolution toward prefabrication.

By prefabricating building systems, AEC teams are able to more rapidly deliver quality products at reduced costs.

Additive construction takes those benefits a step further. It allows fabricators to produce highly complex one-off shapes at a controlled cost. It provides incredibly high precision for each component at levels of less than 0.5 mm.

By using parametric design to create an optimized component, less material is needed, leading to lighter products and less waste.

XtreeE suggests that integration of these processes can reduce time to market by approximately 40%.

The Tools Necessary for Next-Level Innovation

Dassault Systèmes, in honoring XtreeE commitment to innovation and entrepreneurial applications for 3D printing and connected objects, supports XtreeE by providing design and simulation tools through the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.

Simulating and optimizing the fabrication of a structure

Simulating and optimizing the fabrication of a structure


Sketching a structure to be 3D printed.

Sketching a structure to be 3D printed.

With our 3D simulation tools, the XtreeE team can optimizes the design and shape of their structures:

  • Simulation enables advanced structural analysis and topological optimization, taking the properties of the new materials into account.
  • Generative Design Exploration enables designers and architects to create biomimetic forms.
  • Continuous additive manufacturing allows the roof and the walls to be manufactured simultaneously, together with built-in seating.
  • Computer-programmed robotic fabrication enables a minimum use of concrete that balances optimal structural performance with sustainability.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: #3DPrinting concrete structures
promises exciting new breakthroughs in #AEC

Celebrating a Concrete Achievement

To celebrate the XtreeE team’s latest achievement of producing a concrete pavilion using 3D additive manufacturing—the first construction project of its kind in Europe—Dassault hosted a ceremony in Velizy-Villacoublay, France on September 20, 2016.

XtreeE and Dassault Systèmes at the pavilion inauguration in France

XtreeE and Dassault Systèmes at the pavilion inauguration in France.

At the event, Morel emphasized the importance of innovating with construction materials in order to advance the industry. He also pointed out how relatively rapidly concrete has evolved in just 200 years into a core element of our built environment.

Both the Dassault Systèmes and XtreeE teams are enthusiastic about continuing to develop AEC innovations in concrete using simulation tools and 3D printing.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Applauding @XtreeE in Leading a
#3dprinting Revolution in #AEC | @3DSAEC

Related Resources

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction

Learn more about XtreeE

Learn more about the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab

How Human Task Simulation Can Identify AEC Safety Risks

By Prashanth
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Human Task Simulation

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: How Human Task Simulation
Can Identify #AEC Safety Risks

Injury from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)—caused by lifting heavy items, performing tasks repetitively, working in awkward body postures, etc.—plagues many industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2013, 33 percent of all worker injury and illness cases were the result of MSDs.

But by factoring ergonomic solutions in at the design stage of a new building, many workplaces and facilities can dramatically minimize the potential for design-induced risks to health, personal or process safety or environmental performance.

Companies that make worker safety and wellness a core part of their practices gain more than safer, healthier workers. Research indicates that these companies also gain dramatic improvements to their bottom lines.

The reasons are plentiful. Companies that institute safety as part of their core make-up pay less in workplace compensation costs. They also find that they are better able to motivate workers when they create an environment that proves they care about workers, leading to increased productivity. This, in turn, leads to a strong reputation for the company among its workers and the industry at large, improving the potential for gaining top talent.

This focus on human safety should begin in the design of a new facility, and should be a priority at every stage in the building’s life cycle.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: “Safety begins with facility design &
continues through the building life cycle”

First, architects must review a building’s design to evaluate potential safety issues for future occupants. Then, contractors must account for jobsite safety throughout the construction processes. Finally, commissioning agents or facility managers should review the ease of repair and accessibility of maintenance tasks to see how the design might impact workers’ safety.

Companies that are truly committed to process improvements understand that ergonomically designed work flows can have a dramatic effect on workers’ health.

Creating an integrated ergonomics plan

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: 5 elements of an ergonomic-based
#design plan #AEC #safety

There are five points to consider in creating an ergonomic-based design plan:

  • The characteristics, capabilities, expectations, limitations, experiences and needs of the people who will operate, maintain, support and use the facilities.
  • The nature of the work involved in operating, maintaining and supporting the facility.
  • The work organization in terms of, for example, team structures, responsibilities, working hours and shift schedules.
  • The equipment and technology used, including the way equipment is laid out and the elements that people need to interact.
  • The work environment in which people are expected to work, including the operating conditions, lighting, reachability, walkability and exposure to other health hazards.

Integration of these five elements leads to a more efficient workflow. But creating a solution that accounts for each of these challenges can be tricky. More firms are turning to human task simulation as an early part of their early design work.

Benefits to simulating human tasks

When AEC companies simulate human tasks, they can design better work systems, workplaces and products that improve safety across the building’s entire life cycle.

Human task simulation can ultimately:

  • Reduce risks to health, personal and process safety and the environment.
  • Reduce the likelihood of human error in production processes.
  • Improve human efficiency and productivity, thereby enhancing operational performance.
  • Improve user acceptance of new facilities.

But the benefits of human task simulation can also lead to benefits for AEC partners. These benefits include:

  • Costs reduction through more efficient design that prevents the need for expensive changes and/or rework late in the design phase.
  • Reduced need for rework or changes during or after construction.
  • Reductions in life cycle costs for operating and maintaining facilities.
  • Improvements in health, safety and environment (HSE) performance, and reduced operational HSE risk.
  • Enhanced user commitment, often resulting in faster approval cycles.

How human task simulation works

Solutions such as the DELMIA Work Safety Engineer on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform allows users to create, simulate and validate operational tasks in a virtual environment. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform makes available a wide range of manipulation and ergonomics analysis tools that let designers explore early on how their choices can impact the end-users’ ergonomic performance.

Human task simulation allows users to define and simulate the way a worker performs tasks in the workplace and on the worksite. The DELMIA Work Safety Engineer, for example, has a lifelike figure perform predefined actions such as picking up and placing objects, walking, using a tool, or operating a device. Through these tools, designers can better prevent workplace injuries with early identification of potential ergonomics-related problems.

Through simulation, designers can better identify the best of several potential safety solutions and make an early impact on long-term worker safety.

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Can Identify #AEC Safety Risks

Related Resources

Video: Optimized Construction

Video: Optimized Planning

Learn more about the Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience for AEC

Moving to Modular Buildings? Better Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations

By Patrick
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clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Moving to #Modular Buildings? Better
Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations @3DSAEC #prefab

Building owners, designers and contractors are increasingly realizing the benefits of modular prefabrication. This trend, transforming the way construction components are delivered, is helping speed projects to market and leading to higher quality buildings.

The switch from stick-built construction to the assembly of manufactured components also makes the fabricator’s role more important than ever. Yet every manufacturer faces limitations that can impact their capabilities in delivering the optimum system to the jobsite.

When designers factor in manufacturer limitations, they can better select partners that can deliver the best possible end product.

Three challenges in particular must be addressed:

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: 3 Universal Challenges
of Building Product #Manufacturing

Factory machinery, with inherent limitations, is used for manufacturing building products.

Factory machines, with inherent limitations, are used for manufacturing building products.

1. Factory machinery’s capability limitations.

Compared to assembly in the field, manufacturing large system components in the factory presents a number of benefits in quality, safety, scheduling, and other areas. The benefits are limited only by the manufacturer’s capabilities, including the following:

  • Machinery size. The size of the available assembly table, kiln or other equipment will dictate the size of the finished component. A manufacturer’s capabilities can best be assessed by breaking down a design based on the capabilities of their machinery.
  • Local codes. Does the manufacturer’s machinery solution meet the local codes? For example, in the U.S. and UK, a welding machine is an acceptable solution for forming the rebar for a prefabricated concrete slab. In many Nordic countries, code prevents use of this type of machine.
  • Machinery layout. Lines must be organized so that a bottleneck does not delay the entire product’s delivery. By adopting a Design for Manufacturing and Assembly approach—with the use of universal connectors—manufacturers can outsource a single component or system that can easily be assembled in the factory or onsite.


Limited space presents challenges for prefabrication delivery processes

Limited space presents challenges for prefabrication delivery processes.

2. Limited space for storage and staging areas.

Manufacturers must address upfront two challenges in the logistics of getting product onsite:

Highway size limitations. Federal governments set minimum height and width requirements that will limit the size of pre-assembled systems. In addition, oversized products typically must be transported in daylight hours with an escort.

The space available for storing product. Factories cannot be stopped at the first sign of a site delay. If a problem arises on the site, a manufacturer may suddenly be faced with the need to store, for example, 1,000 housing modules. And what happens for manufacturers producing for multiple sites, where suddenly two sites experience delays? Having a buffer zone, such as a lot or warehouse space situated outside the factory or just off the jobsite, can be essential.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Limitations of machinery, space & competitive
bidding wreak havoc on #AEC building projects @3DSAEC

Bidding processes don’t account for delivery and other realities of modular products.

3. Poor outcomes due to competitive bidding practices.

Today the reigning belief is that the best price comes from competitive bidding. Yet the bidding process actually is more likely to lead to the worst possible price. The bid component truly leads to about 15 percent of the 30 to 35 percent overrun most projects face as a result of redundancy.

There are two reasons for this:

Delivery is not addressed upfront. By creating a generic design that multiple parties are able to bid, there is no possibility of optimizing against the delivery process. By creating a time and material contract that uses the delivery process as the starting point, projects will come out with a better price.

Unknown factors lead GCs to bid high. Every project faces unknown variables, be it weather or an unforeseen site challenge. These factors cause contractors to pad their bid. But by working directly with the trades who will address these unknowns, it’s possible to get early insight into potential challenges.

Room for Improvement

The off-site or near-site manufacture of building systems leads to a more repetitive, reliable process. These processes can be simulated and studied for further optimization. By working with manufacturers as partners in the design process, projects can gain an edge in schedule, budget and quality.

clicktotweetClick to Tweet: Moving to #Modular Buildings? Better
Know Your Fabricators’ Limitations @3DSAEC #prefab

Related Resources

WHITEPAPER: Prefabrication and Industrialized Construction

Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

Collaborative and Industrialized AEC Industry Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

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