Nowadays it is impossible to picture any sphere of our life that robots cannot be used in. Not long ago, you could only see them in movies, now they wake you up in the morning and then cook your breakfast, sell you tickets at subway stations, inform you about the changes in your bank account, play music and videos for you. We have let them into our homes to make our lives more comfortable, yet their greatest value comes with the advent of automated industrial technologies.
Robots used in industries have come through two stages of development. At first, they were electric machines that could perform nothing but repetitive tasks. Those were widely applied on assembly lines, especially in car manufacturing.
The second stage ushered in more sophisticated robots able to learn new data and respond accordingly. Although still dominant in automotive production, the latter type has been penetrating the ever-growing number of industries: from food and beverage businesses to construction automation, reaching the stunning figure of 1.3 million in 2018.
Robots in Construction
Robotic construction equipment is widely used in tunneling, mining, and earthquake disaster mitigation, as well as in metallurgy and cement industry, yet building construction is the sphere where construction robots find the most efficient application.
Historically, the construction field has always been a labor-intensive one. Contrary to modern trends, it is still resistant to the introduction of automated construction equipment on a large scale. This recalcitrance is explained by the highly dynamic (and essentially unstructured) working environments. Because of this scarcity of automated construction, the industry has been significantly lagging behind others in productivity. The traditional solution to this problem by just engaging more workers is hardly attainable any longer. An ever-increasing shortage of adequate workforce is making itself felt, which, amid rapid urbanization and a boost in infrastructure projects, calls for a massive involvement of robotics in construction.
Types of Construction Robots
Robots used in construction are not limited to an imaginary automated house-building machine that can lift loads, drill or lay bricks. Today, a whole scope of construction robots is stepping up the pace and improving the quality of construction work.
Besides conventional mechanisms used for masonry or rebar tying, modern building technologies include 3D printing robots allowing for quicker cost-effective construction with minimum wastage, welding robots providing safe precision welding, and even cutting edge exoskeletons and commercial drones. The former can support manual workers’ ability to lift heavy objects with increased alacrity and reduced quantity of injuries, the latter are perfect at reducing safety risks and have unlimited verticality coupled with various software capabilities.
The surge in skyscraper construction in densely built-over downtown areas has called forth the appearance of automated demolition equipment.
Demolition robots can be used both for tearing down buildings (as well as other structures) and inside the buildings in the process of renovation.
Constituting the lion’s share of construction robots’ sales, demolition mechanisms accomplish the primary mission of robotics in general: to perform jobs that are dangerous for humans, thus freeing them to pursue cognitive-oriented activity and enhancing the productivity of labor in general. Many demolition robots are specifically designed for precise demolition and can fit through doorways, so they are easily delivered to the spot where their services are needed. Moreover, they are available for multiple tool attachment. Some models are hydro-powered and quite environment-friendly. Although they work slower than any demolition crew, robots of this type do it cheaper and safer.
Be it an undramatic mechanical arm used in surgery or a remotely controlled vehicle, robots are increasingly becoming an indispensable part of our everyday life. By finding their way into the construction industry they are changing the way infrastructure objects are created. Given the constant growth of the market, we are likely to see a boom of robotics in the construction industry, which will eventually improve the efficiency, speed, and safety of the performed tasks.
Read our blog to learn more about the evolution of robots.