Drones & Production Robotics


Computer-controlled manufacturing robots and drones are just a few of the machines promising to take over traditional construction roles such as material handling, packing, cutting, bricklaying and quality control.

Production Robotics and machine-based automation align closely with the drive to digitise the industry and deliver projects faster and more cost efficiently. The high precision enabled by robotics helps eliminate waste, using only the material required with no offcuts. Research and development is continually underway to reduce the price and size of this technology - this coupled with advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning - can potentially offer huge efficiency and safety gains for the construction industry.

Perhaps one of the most advanced examples of robotics is SAM, the semi-automated mason. SAM is, as the name suggests, a semi-automated bricklaying robot that is designed to work in partnership with a mason, resting upon a set of tracks which can be installed within half of an hour. SAM can be programmed to lay bricks in formations detailed by map files uploaded via USB.

The wearable robotics is an emerging market in the UK, with the use of devices that can support construction workers in their movements such as Exoskeletons. Construction workers can wear exoskeletons to amplify their strength and gain support in lifting heavyweight items or tools. Exoskeletons can be either passive or active, depending on whether they use actuators, motors and batteries to relieve the user of a payload. Exoskeletons are available on the market, although they are mainly being used in other industries at present. Construction companies are expected to adopt exoskeletons in greater numbers in the coming years.

Drones do more than improve communication and help keep projects on track. They also increase safety, save time and resources together with providing fast-track surveying, and the delivery of accurate measurements. Construction projects benefit from an aerial vantage point and thanks to drone technology, it is quicker and easier than ever to get an eye in the sky that is able to collect video, photos and data that can be put to work on a project.

Robots have transformed the automotive industry, reforming both quality and productivity but could they hold the key to the transformation of construction? Find out on Day 1 from: 

> Felipe Mazatucci, Innovation Director - Skanska