A London-based steel fabricator is working alongside a university to develop 3D-printed steel connections.
Steelo started a project with Cranfield University in April this year to determine the possibility of printing structural steel beams.
“At first, we wanted to 3D print the whole steel beam. However, we quickly discovered that our focus should be on 3D printing steel beam connections, using pre-cut beams,” explained Steelo project leader Lina Alexaki.
The company has successfully printed sample connections and is now working on making the process more cost and time efficient.
It is also planning to extend the research, starting a new project focusing on optimising the surface and geometry of the connection.
The company’s founder, Michael Krajewski, said that the new technology could help address a shortage of welders in the industry.
“With fewer and fewer people willing to undertake hard, physical work such as welding, it is increasingly difficult to find skilled and trained professionals,” he said. “We want to enable the industry to evolve from hand welding and believe that welders can evolve into 3D printer supervisors.”