Crossrail, Europe’s largest construction project takes advantage of 3D printing
Crossrail, a 100 km-plus rail line, also called the Elisabeth line, is the first underground line that is being constructed in 3 decades. It “will stop at 40 accessible stations, 10 newly built and 30 newly upgraded, and is expected to serve around 200 million people each year.”
Bechtel Ltd, the construction company in charge of the project will use the freeFAB method, which consists of using a specific wax to print highly-precise moulds for casting concrete. Thanks to this method, the different shapes of the construction will be lightweight and strong avoiding by this way the issues that might occur while using 3D printed concrete in such a construction.
Furthermore, It is possible to melt, pour back into the tank and re-extrude the freeform molds in a new form. With this technique of 3D printing finally, it is not expensive at all to produce complex molds with innovative shapes and ornate details.
With an investment of £15 billion (€ 16 billion), the Crossrail will be operational by the end of 2019 and will add about £42 billion (€ 46 billion) to the UK’s economy.