February 27, 2017

3D Direct to Fabrication Technology “a first for Africa”

In 2016 WOW group became the first African Façade Contractor to develop the 3D to fabrication technology, in conjunction with SHoP architects from New York, for use on the Botswana innovation Hub, in Gaborone, Botswana.

Given the complex articulation of world class building enclosures, mass customization has become a key digital tool for façade fabricators worldwide. The global leaders in the façade fabrication industry make us of 3D-direct-to-fabrication technology to save time and costs, given the complex geometry inherent in the unitised panels or similar. In addition the number of components can increase exponentially, so the need for digital tracking becomes paramount.

World of Windows therefore embarked on a challenging journey of becoming Africa’s first façade contractor to develop this technology in order to deliver on hundreds of thousands of components that were barcoded for unique locations at sub-assembly and assembly level. Given the increased accuracy of setting up the CNC machine centre, the tolerances on overall system improved dramatically. Ongoing improvements will be done as we slowly start to roll this out across all our ‘normal’ projects, but we are already using this on another project, which is a 25-storey building.

3D Scanning of large as-built structures

3D scans of as-built concrete structures have enabled us to identify issues prior to manufacture and have led to solutions being offered before installation has taken place, as well as dealing with high tolerance measurements to ensure accurate material take-offs, decreasing wastage and increasing productivity.

Partnering with LHI, a Professional Surveying company has allowed us to create very large files, up to 40Gigs, and then customise them to use as overlays on wireframes or 2D system drawings.

This provides a quick visual to check for clashes between concrete and the façade system and/or to pick up concrete that is out of tolerance in terms of casting, deflection, creep or similar.


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