robots in construction

The construction industry has been one of the least digitised and automated industries in the world, but that’s changing fast.

A recent report states that by 2025 there will be more than 7,000 robots working in the construction industry.

Research firm Tractica projects that a US$226 million revenue market will exist in the construction robotics space in the next five years.

Robots augment manual labour

Robots are not intended to replace manual labour entirely, but to augment and enhance efficiency, improve safety and eliminate human error.

Construction companies are also utilising aerial drones and artificial intelligence (AI) software alongside robots.

Why use robots?

In countries with skilled labour shortages, the robot revolution is being welcomed.

As well as filling skills gaps, robots increase productivity as they work faster than humans and have a higher degree of accuracy.

Robots can perform dangerous jobs, which addresses safety issues, and can carry out time-consuming tasks that have previously been used sparingly because they’re prohibitively expensive for human labour.

What is a construction robot?

While all robots are machines, not all machines are robots.

A robot is a machine that can be programmed to carry out complex tasks and to operate semi-autonomously with no human worker involved directly in the action.

Drones, for example, that are controlled remotely and exoskeletons that help workers lift heavy loads are not robots.

Construction tasks being performed by robots

Here are some of the tasks they may soon be carried out by robots at a construction site near you.

1. Wall building and other repetitive tasks

The portable robotic arm is the most common type of robot to be found on construction sites at present.

It can be programmed to perform many repetitive and labour-intensive activities, such as:

  • moving materials
  • laying bricks
  • constructing masonry walls
  • erecting steel reinforcement structures
  • tying rebar
  • demolition
  • drilling
  • 3D printing structures.

2. Tools and materials carriers

Autonomous rovers are robots equipped with high-definition cameras and light imaging, plus detection and ranging sensors that allow them to navigate their way around independently.

They can identify and avoid obstacles, allowing them to follow workers carrying tools and materials.

3. Surveillance, surveying and inspections

Smart robotic rovers, as well as drones, can also perform building site inspections, comparing progress with design models and programmes.

They can survey a worksite and gather multiple types of data, depending on the sensors used.

The information collected can be used to detect potential errors and problems early.

4. Excavation and grading

Autonomous vehicles and plant can also transport heavy materials and loads, plus perform specific tasks like excavation and grading.

Autonomous bulldozers and excavators work without a driver cab. These robots can perform 24/7, which enhances efficiency and reduces costs.

KH Plant

At KH Plant, we can’t build walls for you, and we don’t supply robots for use in construction.

However,  we may be able to help by offering reliable, affordable motor graders, ideal for construction projects.

We specialise in Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders and components to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

Do you need expert assistance?

Call us now on +27 83 274 4882 or email us.

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