Institute of Architectural Algorithms & Applications 建筑运算与应用研究所 School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing

mero – Robotic Timber Construction

The ‘mero’ pine sphere in ZDICP Nanjing is the first constructed instance among the mero class. Each member of the mero class is parameterized, furthermore, all components of any mero installation are geometrically unique. Thus, the mero pavilion is similar to natural organism within which the form is differentiated anywhere. Contrast to industrial uniform products, the individualized mero pavilion cannot be reasonably fabricated without new-generation robotic technology (Industry 4.0).

南京紫东国际创意园展出的mero木构是数字化mero家族中的第一个建成作品。mero家族中每个圆亭的形状都不同,并且组成圆亭的每根木梁的长度也各不相同。 因此mero木构不是统一化的工业产品,它更像是自然界的生物:每个个体都是唯一的,而且个体的每一部分也不完全相同。这种个性化的构筑物适合由高度定制化的机器人技术(工业4.0)来完成制造。

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Timber
Timber is the only 100% renewable building material. Thanks to the cellular micro structure, wood is strong and light. Chinese traditional wood architecture features Sun-Mao, a rich family of sophisticated mortise-tenon connections. The Mao (mortise) is a cavity cut into the wood to receive a Sun (tenon), as a practical application of the ancient Yin and Yang philosophy. The mero pavilion develops a new Sun-Mao strategy: the planar steel piece as tenon and the narrow cuts in the timber as mortise. One steel piece joins three timber beams together. The pavilion mainly bears compression, thus each beam bears axial force with low buckling risks.

原木
木材是目前唯一的100%可再生的建筑材料,轻质但具有较高的强度。我国传统木建筑的核心是设计精巧的榫卯,突出的部位为榫,凹入的部位为卯,所谓“以盈入虚谓之笋,以虚入盈谓之卯”。mero木构以俄罗斯樟子松为原料,运用榫卯原理创造了一种简洁的节点:以平面不锈钢片为榫,木梁端头开缺口为卯,实现每个节点连接三根木梁。木梁主要承受径向压力,弯矩很小,充分发挥了木材的受压性能。

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Robotic Fabrication
Next-generation manufacturing features customization and component-driven processing. The pine sphere consists of 114 wood beams fabricated by robots and 76 steel panels out of laser cutter. The shape of each component is unique, which renders the technology of mass production obsolete. So a bespoke fabrication process is programmed.

The mero project chose KUKA KR210, a high payload 6-aixs robot, to work with a HSD spindle. The robot and the spindle’s automatic tool change (ATC) enable the robotic system to cut, mill, and drill the wood in various ways. Based on the general purpose language Java, the project employed the javakuka open-source library to program the robot’s toolpath. Thus, the entire workflow from product design to toolpath palling involves no CAD/CAM software.

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机器人建造
未来的数字化制造具有个性化、定制化的特点。Mero圆亭中114根木梁和76个不锈钢连接件的形状都是唯一的、不规则的,只有智能化的数控加工技术才能实现高效而精确的制造。其中不锈钢连接件由激光切割机加工而成,木梁均由机器人加工而成。

mero项目选用了KUKA重型6轴机器人,配备了可自动换刀的电主轴,可以灵活地对固定的木料进行切割、铣、钻孔等加工工艺,整个加工过程无需人的参与。基于Java编程语言,项目组利用javakuka开源代码库对机器人的运动路径进行编程,在Java环境中定制完整的机器人加工流程。从设计到制造无需任何商业化软件。

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Computational Design
The mero project re-constructed the traditional sequence of “design – tests – production” with computational methods. Based on computational geometry and CNC programming techniques, we developed a mathematical model to represent both the form-finding and the fabrication of the timber sphere. Our Java program does not only articulate the pavilion’s shape but also create the fabrication data for machines (laser cutter and KUKA robot). With this shortcut digital flow from design to manufacturing, the high-level parameters of the pavilion (e.g., the amount of beams) are mapped to the data in the machine instructions.

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运算化设计
个性化、定制化的产品需要对复杂的“设计、验证、制造、交付”流程进行数字化的重构。基于计算几何学(computational geometry)与数控设备的控制原理,mero项目组把圆亭的形态与数控编程统一在一个数学模型中。自主编写的Java程序既实现了mero木构的形态生成,也能够直接输出所有相关数控设备的机器代码(激光切割机的矢量文件、机器人的源文件)。圆亭的设计参数(例如木梁的疏密程度)能直接反映到加工设备的机器代码中,实现了从设计到制造的“无缝数字链”。

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link: http://javakuka.com

合作企业:
南京耀阳科技有限公司
南京清晓信息科技有限公司
上海欣志机器人系统有限公司

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