Department of architecture at the Technical University of Munich utilizes Online Manufacturing for the prototype of a semi-elastic grid structure
FACTUREE produces joint component for the "Kinetic Umbrella" research project at TUM
Berlin, 24 June 2021 – How can spatially complex variable processes be implemented through the controlled elastic deformation of grid bars? In this context, the “Kinetic Umbrella” research project at the department of architecture at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) investigates the applicability of flexurally elastic mechanisms in the area of variable grid structures. Currently, a prototype for the first semi-elastic variable grid structure is being developed. As this requires customized components, the department decided to collaborate with Online Manufacturer FACTUREE (www.facturee.de/en) which supplies small-format joint component for the nodes.
As part of a doctoral thesis on “Elastic Mechanisms in Grid Structures”, fundamental concepts were developed and successfully implemented in static applications within the “Kinetic Umbrella” research project. The development includes methods of mechanical simulation, the morphology of elastic mechanisms, architectural and constructive approaches, as well as suitable materials.
In the next step, the potential of such mechanisms for variable constructions will be investigated. For this purpose, a prototype for the first semi-elastic variable grid structure will be developed, featuring a foldable umbrella design with a diameter of eight meters.
Online Manufacturer supplies special component for prototype
“We produce some of the components in our own workshops at TUM. However, when we reach the technical limits of our facilities, we involve third-party suppliers. This was the case in our current project in the production of aluminum extruded profiles. When producing prototypes, it is common practice to have some components made by third parties,” explains M.Sc. Jonas Schikore, civil engineer and research associate at the Technical University of Munich.
Against this background, TUM decided to collaborate with Online Manufacturer FACTUREE. FACTUREE is a trademark of cwmk GmbH and has an extensive production network of over 1000 manufacturing partners, mainly in the areas of CNC machining, sheet metal processing, 3D printing, and surface technology. In the “Kinetic Umbrella” project, the company supplies special components for the nodes of the variable grid structure.
“The components procured through FACTUREE are small-format joint components. The aluminum component can be attached eccentrically to GRP laminates and forms the socket for a pivot bolt. It has inner threads and is suitable for a direct friction-lock connection with the connecting component. It is optically particularly appealing due to the surface treatment,” explains M.Sc. Jonas Schikore.
On-time deliveries of high-quality customized components
With the Online Manufacturer, TUM utilizes a state-of-the-art form of procurement. The online network approach allows customized components to be manufactured with a high level of precision and to be delivered quickly by specialized suppliers. However, FACTUREE is the only contract partner involved, being responsible for selecting the most suitable manufacturer and handling the entire process. The key factors for TUM to have their parts provided by FACTUREE included the convenient contact, the preparation of a timely quotation, and the reasonable delivery times.
“At the chair for structural design, we build prototypes and new developments on a regular basis for our research projects. With FACTUREE, we can now react quickly and efficiently, because the Online Manufacturer offers a wide production range, good prices and quality, and fast provision times. We were very impressed with the quality of the components supplied. Delivery was on time, perceptibly easing our planning and construction process. We will turn to FACTUREE again for further needs in the future,” concludes M.Sc. Jonas Schikore.