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DOMOTEX 3D PRINTED 48


FUTURE The advantages of 3D printing are evident everywhere. Here


we examine some of the more spectacular examples of how the technique has made an impact on the flooring industry


Words | World Show Media staff Photography | archello.com


Robots have now joined the fl ooring business. After years of plying their trade on assembly lines and in medical surgeries and research laboratories, they are now hard at work customising large public areas around the world. They are taking their giant arms and precision ‘thinking’ into the 3D printing industry more reminiscent itself of traditional disciplines that range from automotive to fashion. A modern, customised example can be found on the fi rst fl oor of Loft’s


fl agship store in Shibuya, Tokyo, which was installed by Aectual of Amsterdam, a company whose clients include international museums, hotels and department stores. The company then announced plans to install a new one closer to home, at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Aectual’s system employs huge robots to print three-dimensional designs across large surfaces using a recycled bio-plastic material. These six-degrees-of-freedom robot arms move from side to side on


QUO TE


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rails, executing a custom design that will serve as the basis for the fl ooring. The printed designs are just a few centimeters tall, leaving spaces that need to be fi lled later. That process takes place after the 3D-printed outline is moved to the construction site. The company fi lls the empty spaces with terrazzo – a material made of recycled chips of granite or marble mixed with a binding substance. The whole thing is then polished to ensure a smooth, seamless surface. Aectual insist you can feed any design to the robot, no matter how intricate.


CEO Hans Vermeulen said: “We make it possible to create your own design for spectacular fl oors in, for example, a hotel lobby, or for a striking retail brand. This gives designers complete design freedom.” The company also off ers


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