HINDCON project is organized into nine Work Packages related to each other as shown in the following diagram
The technological core, as said, will be developed in WP2, WP3, WP4 and WP5. These Work Packages will develop the different technologies in parallel but they will also have strong synergies between them.
The complexity of the project and the consortium’s size requires a specific work package to coordinate the efforts. The management of the project will also demand a Project Board to centralise the subsequent processes of decision making that will surely arrive during the development of the project. This Work Package will also define the dissemination strategy of the project and coordinate the dissemination activities within this strategy.
One of the main technologic challenges that HINDCON is actually facing is related to the materials that must be developed to meet the needs for additive manufacturing in the construction sector. It is essential to define materials that can be used in the additive manufacturing process, in terms of quality standards, robustness and process velocity.
In this sense, the activity in this work package will be oriented to define possible alternatives in concrete or additive materials that could be used in the all-in-one machine developed within the project. After the achievement of this first step, the defined alternatives will be tested in a laboratory and finally a prototype will be developed and tested in a real environment. So the main objective of WP2 is certainly to define and develop an outdoor tested material prototype that will be used to feed the all-in-one machine prototype.
This work package aims to design and build the robotic devices that are required to facilitate the automatic additive and subtractive manufacturing processes of the HINDCON project.
Therefore, two different robotic end-effector tools are developed to be used to add and subtract material to the workpiece through a toolkit that includes an extruder system and a subtractive tool to remove material and perform finishing operations.
The main goal of this work package is to develop a software layer that will be placed on the top of the integrated HINDCON solution. The solution developed within this work package will contain several modules.
In this sense, the layer will certainly control the integrated hardware solution, including both, the cable robot system and the additive and subtractive toolkit. Furthermore the layer will include a CAD module that will then communicate with a CAM module. The objective of this communication is to transform CAD files into STL files, so they can be produced by additive manufacturing means through a 3D printer.
The software solution will additionally include two more modules: 1) Data management; 2) Path optimization and simulation.
Based on the results of the previous work package (WP4), the main objective of WP5 will be to embrace true process-based design strategies for architecture and civil engineering. As it can be easily observed throughout the existing state of the art literature associated with additive manufacturing techniques, very few design strategies really address the issue of processes and constructability. The main approach within the design process, whether it is oriented towards architecture or civil engineering (usually at a larger scale) still remains classical. Architects and engineers design the most optimal structures and components, and only afterwards check their buildability
WP5, will demonstrate that the seamless process associated with AM (which is the ultimate goal of any AM process) should search for new methods, for which the full list of parameters associated with the AM industrial processes at the large scale needs to be integrated from the very beginning – as lists of constraints – into the design.
Therefore the design of complex, lightweight and optimal structural elements will fully pay attention to the specificities of the AM.
The main objective of WP6 will be to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the HINDCON solution, covering all relevant stages of its life cycle, from extraction of natural resources to the disposal of waste.
The environmental impacts of the proposed HINDCON solution will be assessed from ‘cradle to grave’, whereby environmental impacts will be taken into account, regardless of where or when they take place, in order to get a holistic view of the consequences of applying this technologies in the construction sector.
LCA will be applied in compliance with the ISO standards 14040 and 14044, including its four mandatory steps of goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact assessment, and interpretation. Environmental impact indicators assessed will include, among others, primary energy use, greenhouse-gas emissions (also known as carbon footprint), land use, aquatic ecotoxicity, aquatic eutrophication, and use of freshwater resources (also known as water footprint).
The main goal of this work package is to define a business model for the solution developed within the project. The first aspect that will be covered by the Work Package will be the exploitation scheme adopted by the project partners. This exploitation structure must be carefully defined and developed, including the related legal aspects.
The Work Package will include a quantified business plan development, quantified and with cost-benefit forecasts, defining the market objective that the solution will address.
This WP will be focused on the demonstration phase of the prototype developed within the project. The objective of the WP, therefore, will be to install the prototype and evaluate its performance in accordance to specific scenarios that will simulate operational environments.
In first place, different scenarios will be defined, including the boundary conditions for each of them. The scenarios will be useful to develop the different use cases. The prototype will then be installed in a real and operational environment and tested. Finally results obtained in operational conditions by the prototype will be evaluated and compared to the previously defined objectives, measuring the performances and obtaining the feedback from the end-user.
An important success criterion of HINDCON is the project’s ability to enable replicability and technology transfer. Replicability is mainly related to wider use within the construction sector. Legislation and culture varies between countries introducing barriers to wider use. Technology transfer addresses use in different type of construction projects (public buildings, apartments, offices and industrial buildings), and in other industries.
Activities in this work package will be focused on identifying relevant experiences from earlier attempts at introducing technological innovations in the construction industry (as well as success stories in other industries) in order to learn from these. Additionally, focus will be on mapping and addressing formal challenges and barriers related to use of the HINDCON technology, as well as describing the way to attain wider use.