Construction robots

Construction robots

Machines that can be programmed to undertake complex construction-related tasks and operate either autonomously or semi-autonomously. Construction robots can be used for e.g. laying bricks, welding steel, tying rebar or creating formwork.

Robots are machines that can be programmed to undertake complex tasks and operate either autonomously or semi-autonomously. Robots have been used in industrial settings for several years, and different kinds of mobile robots are now being developed for the construction industry. Currently, most construction robots are specialized in performing one task. This task could be:

  • Laying bricks
  • Welding, hereby e.g. creating steel reinforcement structures
  • Tying rebar
  • Assembling timber frame buildings
  • Creating formwork
  • Fastening plaster boards on a wall

Benefits and challenges

  • Productivity gains as fewer human workers are needed
  • Sometimes faster than humans
  • Improved safety as human workers are detached from the process
  • The size of the robot may limits its applicability
  • Most robots are specialized in performing one specific task, requiring multiple robots to complete a construction project.

Application examples

Construction Robotics has developed SAM 100, which is the first commercially available brick-laying robot for on-site masonry construction. SAM 100 is about 5 times faster than human masons at laying bricks. The robot picks up a brick, adds mortar and places it on the wall. A human worker is needed to mix the mortar, feed the robot with bricks and mortar, and do the most specialized tasks like pointing and brick tying (techxplore.com).

Japan's Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Institute has developed a humanoid construction robot called HRP-5P, which is able to pick up a piece of plaster board and fastening it to the wall. As it resembles a person in size and shape, the robot can enter all construction sites, also in densely populated areas (newatlas.com)

Development stage

The construction robots mentioned have all been tested applicable in construction, although some of them still needs some development before they will be readily available on the market.

Construction impact

Construction robots will primarily affect the construction phase, but indirectly might also affect the design phase, as new designs are enabled by the change of production method.

Related technologies

Exoskeletons and drones are not robots – as it is the human operator that is in control. 3D printing and self-driving construction vehicles are in principle robots but these are described as separate technologies. 

Read more

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http://www.technologycards.net/the-technologies/construction-robots
21 AUGUST 2019