A real-time height measurement and feedback system for 3D concrete printing

R.J.M. Wolfs, F.P. Bos, E.C.F. van Strien, T.A.M. Salet

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Recent years have seen a rapid growth of additive manufacturing methods for concrete construction. Generally, these methods are based on a linear sequence of design → print path definition → actual printer actions in a print environment. However, printing experiments show that a large number of parameters influence the printing process. Not all of these can be predicted accurate on forehand. Therefore, a method is introduced that allows real-time adjustment of the print process. As a proof-of-concept, a measurement system for the nozzle height has been developed and tested. Because this variable relates to machine properties, environmental conditions as well as material behaviour, it is a crucial parameter to control. In two case study prints, the effectiveness of the device was shown. In one study, the printer could follow a range of irregular curves in the print bed, whereas only a simple flat rectangular print path had been programmed. In the other, it was shown the print path could be adjusted to vertical deformation of the previous layers of printed filament in a tubular object of several dozen layers. Thus, premature failure through irregular loading of the object during printing was avoided. Further expansion of the use of real-time measurement devices may be anticipated in the future. Besides more advanced geometrical measuring, chemical and physical conditions such as concrete temperature (both before and after deposition), surface wetness, and environment humidity, can be recorded. Combined with the machine action log, this should result in a detailed set of as-built data of the printed object, allowing e.g. for a geometrical clash control with the design as well as other quality controls.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigh Tech Concrete: where technology and engineering meet
Subtitle of host publicationWhere Technology and Engineering Meet - Proceedings of the 2017 fib Symposium
EditorsMladena Lukovic, Dick A. Hordijk
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-59471-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-59470-5
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event2017 fib Symposium, June 12–14, 2017, Maastricht, The Netherlands - Maastricht, Netherlands
Duration: 12 Jun 201714 Jun 2017


Conference2017 fib Symposium, June 12–14, 2017, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Internet address


  • 3D printing
  • Concrete
  • Real-time feedback system
  • ToF sensor


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  • fib – Best Paper and Presentation Award

    Wolfs, Rob J.M. (Recipient), 2017

    Prize: OtherCareer, activity or publication related prizes (lifetime, best paper, poster etc.)Scientific

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