Editorial Feature

Reinventing Construction with Robotics

Shutterstock/Dmitry Kalinovsky

The construction industry is continuously evolving. With the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, construction and engineering are becoming faster and more efficient. Many companies now specialize in building robots and drones to be used on site. Notably, Construction Robotics developed the SAM100 bricklaying robot.

SAM100 was created to accelerate the rate of construction on site. The robot is able to quickly take over the physical job of laying bricks. This reduces the risk of injury by reducing the heavy lifting while also increasing the efficiency of the project.

Another company making waves in the construction industry is Robotic Roads. This PLC subsidiary is developing a robot that can automate the process of maintaining roadways, as well as structuring new ones. Robotic Roads claim that the robot can perform tasks such as leveling, bituminization, graveling and polishing roads to high standards. Like Construction Robotics, the company aims to make the construction process quicker and more efficient, while also more effectively using resources. (Proffitt, 2017)

While some people are concerned that robots will replace laborers on-site completely in the future, it is much more probable that construction workers will use these robots to make their work safer and more efficient. In addition to this, robots are perfect for handling repetitive, time-consuming tasks.

One such robot is the TyBot, developed by Advanced Construction Robotics, Inc. The TyBot is a robot that ties the reinforcement (rebar) for the use in concrete slabs, beams, and columns. Usually, this job takes a while, with many laborers working on it. By using the TyBot, only one worker is needed to oversee the robot. This increases the productivity of the project because it frees up other laborers to move on to other jobs.

The Robot can be set up using existing infrastructure or temporary supports and, once the rebar is in place, the TyBot moves along each section of rebar and ties it. It can do this continuously over 145 feet.

Robots can also be used in conjunction with artificial intelligence. The company Doxel has married the two in order to monitor the project progress in real-time. Doxel uses autonomous rovers and drones which are armed with LiDAR and HD cameras and are used to scan the site every day with very high accuracy.

These scans are then used to autonomously create BIM drawings, 3D computer models as well as preparing and altering the schedule of the project.

Doxel hopes that the technology will be used to detect deviations between plans and construction on-site in order to avoid errors during the building process. It can also measure how much work has been done each day, which can improve productivity.

This was proven to be true during a recent project for Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, which lead to the construction project remaining 11% under budget and improved the productivity of the project by 38%. (Jones, 2018)

Overall, robots have proven to be an effective tool in the construction industry and as projects get more ambitious and labor shortage increases, the demand for innovative technology for use on-site will also increase.

References

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