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How Robotics Could Change The Future of Construction

Anastasios Koutsogiannis
by Anastasios Koutsogiannis on Oct 9, 2017 7:00:00 AM

During the last decades, robotic technology has achieved great progress. This slow but constant growth has allowed robots to start establishing their presence in a number of different domains of human activity. Construction undoubtedly is one of the fields that begin to embrace robotic technology. The use of robots can be a big game-changer for the industry given the fact that they will contribute to automate a plethora of tasks. However, there still are some who voice concerns regarding the replacement of humans from robots during the construction project process.

Will Robots Replace Workers?

It becomes understandable that it’s crucial for the construction industry to find the right balance between the robotic and human presence on site. In other words, it is essential to combine the strongest points of each side in an effort to increase the efficiency of the project management process.

Finding this balance may seem like a big challenge but it’s not impossible. The two following reasons indicate why we should be optimistic that robots will not throw people out of construction:

New Type of Workforce

The advent of robotic technology will significantly change the way that work in construction is done. Keeping that in mind, it’s clear that the workforce will have to adjust to the new reality. The need for a more developed workforce will quickly become apparent. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the job openings in construction will necessarily decrease. They will simply change their point of focus and will lead to a new type of workforce.

Different Points of Strength Between Robots and People   

It’s no secret that robots and humans have different strengths and weaknesses. In that sense, both are necessary for the construction process but in a different manner. The construction professionals will take care of the more creative and delicate parts of the projects while robots will offer tremendous help with completing bigger scale tasks faster. Furthermore, there will always be a need for people who can remotely control robots. In that sense, robotics will always be connected to the human presence in some kind of way.

In a nutshell, it’s no secret that the construction industry will change substantially as robots begin to become more and more necessary for the whole process. Some types of jobs will be eliminated through the years, as well. But this will only lead to the further adjustment of the industry to the new needs and will captivate the attention of people with a different scientific background.

Benefits of Using Robots In Construction

Robotics can bring a better future for people working in construction. Below we can find some essential advantages that the use of robotics can offer to the industry:

Increased Safety

Robots have a lot to offer in construction in terms of safety. The great precision of their movements minimizes the possibility for unpredictable mistakes and as a result the chance for accidents. On top of that, the use of remotely controlled robots allows people working in construction to access safely places with an increased level of accident risk (eg. mines).

Higher Precision During the Construction Process

One of the biggest benefits of using robotics in construction is their remarkable precision when it comes to task execution. It goes without saying that this can save any construction project from a lot of fuss and unnecessary expenses. The detection of any potential clash can optimize the construction process and offer buildings of better quality.  

Lower Cost

The higher the precision the lower the cost. That being said, it’s clear that the use of robotics in construction can be decisive for the minimization of the cost. This will be a direct result of the ability to meet easier the project deadlines and to complete tasks on time and with no need for repairs.  

Optimization of the Industry’s Profile

The construction industry has a unique opportunity to attract many young skillful graduates thanks to robotics. That’s a very important fact for construction which is an industry that normally faces big challenges in captivating the attention of the younger workforce. We are talking, then, for a significant upgrade of the industry’s profile.

Application Of Robotics In Construction

Robots have already a plethora of uses in the construction industry. In the following lines, we can take a look at some of the most noteworthy examples:

Exoskeletons for Construction Workers

Exoskeletons can be extremely valuable for construction workers. They can minimize injuries on construction sites and allow workers to do their job faster and more efficiently. Exoskeletons help a lot in properly balancing the lifted weight and offering great stability when using heavy tools.

Wired tested the Exoskeleton
3D Printing Robots

Another type of robots that can have a significant contribution to the construction industry are 3D printing robots. The recent example of the 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam surely is impressive. Some of the biggest benefits of a 3D printing robot are the remarkable precision during the construction process and the ability to put together new impressive types of architectural structures. On top of that, the time required for the completion of the project can be notably less.

Bridges Could Soon Be Made by 3D Printers

Self-Driving Vehicles

Vehicles that are capable of moving autonomously are already part of the construction process in mining-related tasks. Self-driving trucks can offer great value as they can increase on site productivity and minimize cost. Safety is also a plus since this kind of machinery can operate independently in landscapes or areas of high danger (eg. mines).

Many Different Self-Driving Trucks Are Being Tested Now

Demolition Robots

Demolition robots that are controlled remotely is another great example of robotics in construction. Their first and foremost advantage is, of course, increased safety. Demolitions can now be conducted from a safety distance with no worker directly involved in the task. Faster completion of the project is also key thanks to the automation of the demolition process.


Husqvarna's demolition robots

Conclusion

It becomes evident that robotics have already an essential role within the construction industry. As technology continues to progress, the use of robots will become more prominent and the construction project management process will be much more efficient.

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Anastasios Koutsogiannis
Anastasios Koutsogiannis is marketing coordinator in GenieBelt.
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