December 17 2018 – Last month, the StrucSoft team were at Autodesk University in Las Vegas. During the show we demonstrated the entire workflow from design to final output by building a medical clinic with our industry partners Howick and KHS&S Contractors live during show hours. This structure was then given to the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research Team (VT-CDR) to be replicated across areas within sub-Saharan Africa.
How did we pull it off?
After reaching out to various Autodesk employees, the plan was accepted and we were put in touch with the VT-CDR team. They gave us the design for the clinic, we produced the framed model and then we created a CNC export file which fed the instructions to the Howick FRAMA machine controller.
By slowing down the entire building process to account for the peak hours during the show (machine was running at 40% speed), attendees were able to see how, through cloud-based computing and automated production of complex components, builders can be trained to assemble structures, operate equipment and more.
KHS&S put together the building within 1 1/2 days but in reality:
- The machine takes 90 minutes to create the studs (with cuts, punches etc.) for one wing
- One wing only takes 20 minutes to assemble by 3 people.
- Both wings of the clinic were disassembled within 45 minutes by 6 people.
Using MWF Panel Stacker the clinic was then disassembled and shipped off to the VT-CDR team. The folks over there are currently using the prototype as reference as they build 1,000 more identical clinics which will be donated across areas in sub-Saharan Africa, where they are needed. The first site for the clinic is in Entebbe, Uganda and is nearly completed.
This project was able to address the massive global need for infrastructure that leverages software and fabrication technology in a way that can also contribute to the training and development of an economy where there may not be a skilled labor base. We were able to demonstrate how to build a pre-panelized structure using only hand tools and with minimal waste (waste was less than 2%).
The whole thing was a huge success! The installation attracted a lot of buzz from attendees, press and even the hall staff. So much so that the team was constantly flooded with tour groups, interviews and videographers. One video cut and edited by Autodesk actually attracted over 230K views and 1,200 shares.
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