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World's First Fully Functional 3D Printed Excavator

World's First Fully Functional 3D Printed Excavator

21 April 2016 Email this article

CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 are teaming up to unveil the world’s first fully-functional 3D printed construction excavator and the first large-scale use of steel in 3D printing, known as additive manufacturing. The excavator, which will be on display at the joint trade shows in March 2017, will bring to life how technology is transforming the construction industry in line with the show’s 2017 theme, “Imagine What’s Next.” In addition to the pre-printed excavator, show attendees will see a second excavator printing live on the show floor.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 will take place March 7-11, 2017, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“We’re thrilled to bring such a significant technological and first-of-its-kind achievement like the 3D printed excavator to the show; it will be a platform to demonstrate how the latest innovations and applied technologies are changing the future of construction industry,” said John Rozum, director of the fluid power section of the fair.

The excavator is a joint collaboration between several US organisations: the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), Center for Compact & Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The group is working with research teams from Georgia Tech and the University of Minnesota to convert the current standard excavator design to one that is conducive to, and takes full advantage of, 3D manufacturing. Graduate engineering students at Georgia Tech will be creating a boom and bucket featuring integrated hydraulics with the goal of decreasing the weight, materials cost and maintenance, while students at the University of Minnesota are designing a hydraulic oil reservoir/heat exchanger and cooling system that reduces the size and weight and increases the efficiency of the machine.

“Technology and innovation will drive change for the future of the construction industry, and we’re excited that students are playing a vital role in bringing the newly designed machine to life,” said NFPA chief executive Eric Lanke.