Qualities of the Unique: Accuracy and Process-Control Management in Project-based Robotic Timber Construction

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World Conference on Timber Engineering, Santiago, Chile, 9.-12. August, WCTE 2021, (2021)


Computational design and robotic fabrication open up novel possibilities for more resource efficient timber structures. These methods enable the production of tailor-made and differentiated building components that integrate design intention, robotic fabrication, structural performance, assembly logics and functional aspects but require advanced strategies to achieve and control production quality. We present methods to assure the quality control of the fast-paced production of the BUGA Wood Pavilion – a 500m² segmented wood shell structure - that was erected within 13 months from commission to opening. In this project, 376 bespoke hollow wood cassettes were robotically assembled, glued and milled to shapes. In order to achieve structurally performative tight-fit joints, minimal tolerances in the fabrication process needed to be achieved. Furthermore, the quality of the gluing interface, its tolerances, individual pressing forces, process- and environmental factors needed to be respected for the design and operation of robotic gluing processes to meet building regulations. New challenges arise for the design, management and control of production quality when co-dependent and integrated innovations are brought forward in respect to both building system as well as fabrication automation on a per- project level. Novel frameworks will need to be established that dwell on digital technologies for faster and more reliable process and quality control in timber construction. Acting as a catalyst, such mechanisms are of fundamental importance to enable rapid and continuous advancements in socio-culturally rooted project-based robotic timber construction.



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