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"The fact that these technologies are not yet broadly applied is not so much a matter of possibilities," Willmann explained. "The problem is that we can only produce digitally if the data are available in a corresponding form. In this area, our industry is simply underdeveloped. If we were to start by handling the data correctly during the planning process, implementation would be far easier. We actually have all the tools at our disposal already, but when applied across the entire construction industry, these changes will take several decades," he added.

Willmann said that he foresees a day when robots on construction sites could also be equipped with 3-D printing equipment, taking the automation of construction on step further. But for that to happen, 3-D printing technology has to advance to larger scales.

"With 3-D printing there is a narrative that such machines can just print whatever you want. But the question is scale and resolution, since this greatly influences not only the construction itself, but also the costs, which is something often not considered," Willmann pointed out. "Architecture is big, and at the same time extremely inexpensive in relation to its size."

The team at ETH Zurich is currently experimenting with the combination of robotics and 3-D printing in a project called "Mesh Mould," which weaves 3-D printed reinforcement and formwork into free spaces that could later be filled with concrete. The process allows for a high degree of accuracy and variation in the structural system.

Willmann believes that the technology will forever change—"tectonically" is the word he used—architecture and aesthetics. And though some may have concerns about replacing men with machines, to Willmann, the goal is enhancing, not replacing, human capability. "This all is encouraging to see."


Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc. (Sanborn Head) of Concord, NH is proud to announce the addition of two key staff to the firm. Stephen E. Wright, P.E. and Stephen G. Zemba, Ph.D., P.E. were both recently hired as Project Directors of the firm.


Stephen E. Wright, P.E. has joined Sanborn Head’s Westford, MA office as a senior leader in the company’s Solid Waste Practice. Already working on a large landfill expansion project in Southbridge, MA, Steve is also busy on several landfill closure/post-closure development projects, as well as a transfer station siting evaluation. Many of these projects are in the municipal sector, where Steve has extensive experience, although a number are also with long-standing private clients.

Steve’s 27 years of experience is on a wide-range of solid waste design, permitting and construction projects, including landfill designs, environmental assessments, closures, transfer station and materials recovery facility design, and solid waste management planning for municipal, private, and higher education clients. Steve is a solutions-focused engineer with a successful track record in planning and managing multi-disciplinary projects, from concept through construction.


Stephen G. Zemba, Ph.D., P.E. is in Sanborn Head’s Randolph, VT office, helping the firm grow their Industrial Services Practice mainly through his more than two decades of experience assessing risks of environmental chemicals. His expertise includes fate‐and‐transport modeling, exposure assessment, and both human health and ecological risk assessments. He consults for both private and public sector clients, and provides expert testimony at hearings and in litigation support.

Dr. Zemba also teaches university‐level courses on air quality management and air pollution control.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Steve and Steve.

Photo credit: Mike Sears Photography

SFC is Relocating!

Exciting things are happening at SFC Engineering Partnership, Inc.: we are moving! Our continued growth has made a move to a new facility necessary. As of January 2016, SFC Engineering Partnership, Inc. will be located at 1 Industrial Drive, Windham, NH 03087. With nearly double the space of our old location, SFC hopes to continue expanding. This is just one of many exciting developments happening at SFC. We also plan to unveil a new and improved website during the month of January, and have crafted an exciting new logo! Please note that our phone number, email addresses and extensions will remain the same.

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Engineering News in NH