This project begins with a vision of more environmentally friendly buildings that employ internal reinforcement solutions that are lighter, cheaper, more resource saving and just as strong. To do this, the designer realised that two things have to be reinterpreted –the reinforcement structure itself and the manufacturing method required to produce the new structure. Spinetec is an automated manufacturing machine that was eventually created to meet both goals.
Taking inspiration from the big femur bone in the human skeletal structure, the resulting new reinforcement structure is a rebar cage-column that has four curved sides, hollow in the middle, and a curved beam. This redistributes the existing forces more efficiently and reduces the usage of concrete and iron by up to 30%. The biomimicry of the femur’s hollow shaft produces a design that provides maximum strength and minimum weight, as well as a building reinforcement system that is stronger, lighter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Today’s metal reinforcement cages for concrete buildings are either built on-site or prefabricated in a factory. The former does not require bulky cages to be transported and allows the shapes and sizes of the cages to be customised; the latter method is cheaper, more precise, less laborious and minimises wastage. The idea is to combine the benefits of both methods and create an automated manufacturing method that custom-builds reinforcement cages on site.
As such, Spinetec, an automated rebar-cage-manufacturing machine is born. The main unit of the Spintec is a printer head that produces the new and improved curved cage forms. 10mm rebars (opted over longer and heavier rebars to reduce intensive manual labour) are then stored on a spool and fed to the printer head. Here, the rebars are bent, cut and welded into place by this machine. Once the customised rebars are produced, they are assembled in five production steps to produce the rebar reinforcement cage-column. With less manual handling and heavy lifting of rebars involved, the overall manufacturing time and effort greatly decreases. By eliminating to transportation of pre-fabricated rebars, the carbon footprint is also reduced.