Concrete-Eating Robot Recycles Buildings

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Building demolition demands a lot of heavy machinery to crush concrete and separate valuable materials for reuse. Often, those materials are transferred to offsite locations, which wastes time and resources. The process also wastes a lot of water in order to prevent harmful dust clouds from blooming. However, a Swedish student’s concrete-eating robot aims to change all that.

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“The ERO Concrete Recycling Robot was designed to efficiently disassemble concrete structures without any waste, dust or separation and enable reclaimed building materials to be reused for new prefabricated concrete buildings,” explained Omer Haciomeroglu of the Umea Institute of Design of Design. ”It does so by using a water jet to crack the concrete surface, separate the waste and package the cleaned, dust-free material.”

The idea is to send in a fleet of the ERO robots that will scan buildings to determine the best route to execute demolition. Once the robot goes to work, using vacuum suction and electrical power, it erases the building.

“ERO deconstructs with high-pressure water and sucks and separates the mixture of aggregate, cement and water. It then sends aggregate and filtered cement slurry separately down to the packaging unit to be contained,” Haciomeroglu wrote. ”Clean aggregate is packed into big bags, which are labeled and sent to nearby concrete precast stations for reuse. Water is recycled back into the system.”

Turbulence dynamos strategically placed inside air suction chambers even provide a percentage of ERO’s energy needs. Once the last wall has been demolished, essentially nothing has gone to landfills or been sent away for additional processing.

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“Even the rebar is cleaned of concrete, dust and rust and is ready to be cut and reused immediately,” Haciomeroglu stated. “Every bit of the load-bearing structure is reusable for new building blocks.”

So far the design remains a concept, but influential organizations are starting to take note. Last year, Haciomeroglu’s concept won in the Student Designs category of the International Design Excellence Awards.

via Inhabitat

Credit: Omer Haciomeroglu