Despite Being a Manual Industry, Construction Can Benefit Greatly from Robotics

The construction industry has a complicated relationship with technology in the sense that it does not entirely recognise and understand the importance of implementing versatile machinery for business impact. Taking into account the insufficiency in the labour force and the other challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, firms should seek innovation to make processes better, faster, easier, and more affordable. Technology can help the industry bring to life large-scale projects while diminishing their impact on the environment. Reducing the number of manual tasks and automating repetitive processes is of the essence. Freeing up time is one of the most significant benefits.

It is noticeable that there are many robotics initiatives, even if they are moving at a slow pace. The use of robots is not meant to replace human workers but to help enhance project efficiency and safety. Construction firms can implement robotic process automation for tasks such as bricklaying, welding, installation, painting, and so on, which are automated with varying degrees of success. Managers can start a pilot program for the implementation of automated equipment for the following quarter. Examples of construction robotics include but are not limited to robots used in prefabrication, rovers, and material-placing robots.

Tech’s Advancements Create Various Innovations in Robotics in Construction

Robotic engineering technology enables the creation and use of physical machines, in many cases, to perform tasks that humans can do. The integration of robots in the aspects of life that matter the most translates into the fact that everyone can rely on a robot to support their physical tasks. An industrial robot may be deployed in working environments deemed unpleasant or hazardous, carrying out tasks that are too precise. Let us take welding procedures as an example. A robotic welding arm, which runs on a Servo motor, can be used to create structural frameworks; not only is the welding perfect but also incredibly strong.

The aim of robotics is to uncover new ways for robots and humans to work together, augmenting and complementing each other’s skills. In recent times, we have witnessed innovation and digital transformation in all corners of the world. The field of robotics has evolved a great deal, improving and advancing lives and entire industries. Unfortunately, the idea of robots coming onto the job site still remains a touchy subject. It is regretful that the construction industry is still reluctant to adopt robots because the benefits of doing so are immediately apparent. Robotics can play an important part in keeping things moving smoothly.

Innovation in the construction industry will become more accessible with time, so, soon enough, we will see more and more autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles for transport. The robots are capable of navigating on their own by following a complex set of instructions. Servo motors are what allow them to deliver precise speed and ensure much-needed position control. For the time being, autonomous vehicles are used for personal transport and freight, yet there are many other potential applications. Bulldozers, cranes, diggers, etc., are manually operated but can be automated with highly efficient systems. Since most of them are controlled by wire, this existing system can be taken advantage of to direct vehicle functions.

What Are the Benefits of Using Construction Robots?

Overcoming The Skills Shortage in The Industry

The construction industry is busy preparing projects and designing new infrastructure, but there is not sufficient labour for these projects. Often, the issue is the lack of experience. It has harder and harder to find qualified professionals armed with the desired skill sets, so firms should consider investing in automation to streamline staffing challenges. Although robotics has proven to be effective in other industries, such as automotive, computers, and consumer goods, it can improve productivity and quality in construction too. With limited resources, automation might save the industry from stagnation, yet it is necessary to consider safety, efficiency, and space concerns.

Moving To Off-Site Production

Some elements of the construction project can be completed at a different location. For instance, individual components or modules can be produced in factories that lend themselves to automation and then transported on-site to create a structure. Indeed, the transition requires time, but off-site construction is a viable supply chain optimisation strategy. There is no need to worry about delays or interference from the weather, vandals, or other factors. Factories offer additional quality assurance, meaning that the elements of the construction project follow very strict fabrication standards.

Providing Safer Work Environments

Construction workers have a high risk of developing health issues and are exposed to dangerous working conditions. Technology can hugely contribute toward providing safer working environments by reducing injuries, automating drilling, excavation, and earth moving, and accessing dangerous environments. For example, a drone can be deployed to carry out site inspections, so it is not necessary to put workers at risk. Let us take another example. Safety data can help anticipate incidents, predicting not only the likelihood but also the severity of an event. Important factors to consider are site conditions, worker experience, equipment used, and so forth.

Final Thoughts

The construction industry can thrive in the present economic environment if it embraces technological innovation, the mindset among practitioners being the only impediment. Most construction firms are waiting for competitors to make the first move towards the adoption of robotics, which is a mistake given that projects are becoming larger and more complex. The time for excuses has passed. Some of the advantages of using robots within the construction industry are overcoming the severe lack of skills, off-site construction, and enhancing workplace safety. This list is not exhaustive, needless to say.

All in all, the use of robots and construction automation is still very limited or nonexistent even if the current legal environment, building codes, and regulations are more relaxed. Various robots continue to be developed and used today, each one offering unique advantages. Robotics may or may not be the future of construction; what is certain is that the traditional way of constructing buildings is inefficient and messy. In other words, something needs to change.