Smart Robots Poised to Build More Profitable Construction Industry
There’s a growing groundswell of support for investment in robotics in the construction industry. Around the world, we’re already seeing the potential of robots to make the industry safer and more cost-effective, improve sustainability, enhance quality and cut waste.
In a global survey commissioned by ABB earlier this year, of 1,900 large and small construction businesses in Europe, the U.S. and China, eight in 10 respondents say they would introduce robots onto their sites within the next 10 years to help address key challenges in the industry, including skills and labor shortages, the need for more affordable and environmentally-friendly housing and the ability to reduce the environmental impact of construction.
Benefits of Robotic Automation
The fact is that robotic automation offers significant potential to enhance worker safety, productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the South African construction industry. However, the country is lagging the rest of the world when it comes to robotics, with practically no robots in the local construction industry at this stage.
One of the areas where robotics can have a real impact is in the industry’s ability to meet the country’s massive demand for low-cost housing, through pre-manufacturing units with flexible options and designs. In pilot projects elsewhere in the world, robots are enabling the automated assembly of walls, floors and ceilings for multi-story, multi-unit affordable housing and even producing prefabricated modular homes.
Canadian modular fabrication company Intelligent City has achieved a 10-15% saving on its total build cost using robots, with projected estimates of approximately 30% in longer term savings. This has increased production efficiency by 15% and speed by 38%, while reducing waste by 30%.
Swedish building giant Skanska’s robot welding application has improved quality, employee productivity and safety by automating the fabrication of steel reinforcement baskets on-site. This solution has also reduced the cost and environmental impact of transporting bulky finished reinforcement baskets to building sites.