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April 11, 2023
Combining innovative VDC (virtual design and construction) tools and workflows with in-house CNC machining capabilities, Turner Seattle’s VDC team transformed the typical process by which carpenters create concrete formwork - making the work simpler, safer, and more efficient.
By combining BIM trade coordination, 3D parametric modeling, tool path development, and CNC routing, the team produces precise, prefabricated formwork components. This innovative workflow yields several benefits over the traditional process. For one, the use of the coordinated model data eliminates the chance for human error during field layout. CNC machining is also well suited for precise, repeatable tasks and can perform them safely and more efficiently than human workers. In addition to being faster and more precise, the CNC router uses ‘nesting’ software which reduces waste by optimizing the amount of forms that are cut from each board.
The machined formwork arrives on site as an easy to assemble ‘kit-of-parts’ which not only requires smaller field crews to install but also simplifies the work of those crews – increasing labor productivity and reducing the chance for worker injury.
The team has since applied this innovative process to other formwork challenges – machining forms for pony walls, in-fills, sump pits, concrete planters, and other complex forms. The workflow has even been leveraged to prefabricate furniture for Turner project offices. Seizing on the prefabrication movement sweeping the industry, innovative workflows leveraging digital fabrication will continue to provide Turner with new opportunities to make building processes safer and more efficient.