Innovations in Construction Robots

Jul 24, 2013

Technology's advancements are creating a wide range of innovations in the construction robot industry. Whether it is I-beams or insulation, construction robots help to advance the production process across the globe.


The use of robots in indus­try con­tin­ues to grow in tra­di­tion­al man­u­fac­tur­ing areas, such as auto­mo­bile man­u­fac­ture and the man­u­fac­ture of con­sumer goods. The use of robots in non­tra­di­tion­al areas, how­ev­er, is also start­ing to increase. Robots used in the man­u­fac­ture of con­struc­tion goods, whether it’s I‑beams or insu­la­tion, are becom­ing more advanced and grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.

Insu­la­tion and Fanuc Robot­ics Systems

Fanuc Robot­ics is work­ing to increase effi­cien­cy in the pro­duc­tion of con­struc­tion mate­ri­als using robot­ic sys­tems. Using robots and work cells to cut, stack, bun­dle, pack­age, and pal­letize mate­ri­als increas­es effi­cien­cy because robot sys­tems can per­form tasks faster and with bet­ter accu­ra­cy. The robots that Fanuc Robot­ics has cre­at­ed can manip­u­late fiber­glass insu­la­tion, poly­iso­cya­nu­rate board insu­la­tion, house wrap, and pipe foam insu­la­tion to fit each customer’s unique order, and they can do it with lit­tle downtime.

One facil­i­ty esti­mat­ed that its Fanuc Robot­ics sys­tem could cut, put into car­tons, pal­letize, and uni­tize 42 lin­ear meters of poly­iso­cya­nu­rate board insu­la­tion per minute. How­ev­er, dif­fer­ent lam­i­nat­ing con­di­tions pro­duce even faster times, up to 67 meters per minute. Com­pa­nies that inte­grate robots into their work­flow become more effi­cient and more competitive.

Con­struc­tion robots are often used in the indus­try for fab­ri­ca­tion. A few robots exist on the con­struc­tion job site, but the major­i­ty of robots used in fab­ri­ca­tion in the con­struc­tion indus­try are not on the job site. Instead, they are used in build­ing con­struc­tion machin­ery, arc weld­ing met­al com­po­nents, apply­ing adhe­sives, and assem­bling doors and windows.

Robots Reduce Monot­o­nous Tasks

Con­struc­tion robots are also used in the han­dling and manip­u­la­tion of bricks and oth­er heavy blocks. Brick and con­crete block lay­ing can be chal­leng­ing both phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly when per­formed through human labor. While not many robots have been uti­lized on the job yet, tri­als have shown how robot use in this field could prove ben­e­fi­cial. A brick fac­to­ry in France, Lhoist Refrac­taires, uses robot­ic sys­tems for pal­letiz­ing bricks. Gen­er­al­ly, brick lay­ing robots are built with vac­u­um grip­pers that can deter­mine dif­fer­ences in blocks and manip­u­late the brick or con­crete block.

Robot­ic sys­tems can also be uti­lized to dis­pense con­crete on the job site. Instead of human labor apply­ing the con­crete, a robot can lay­er con­crete ver­ti­cal­ly to form a struc­ture. This process is sim­i­lar to the appli­ca­tion of adhe­sive process, except that con­crete is much heav­ier than typ­i­cal adhesives.

Robots and Effi­cien­cy in Japan­ese Construction

Weld­ing time on Japan­ese con­struc­tion sites has dropped dra­mat­i­cal­ly since the imple­men­ta­tion of robot­ic weld­ing sys­tems. One firm devel­oped a sys­tem that uses two six-axis robots to weld struc­tur­al steel for build­ings. The I‑beams are cut and weld­ed pri­or to being deliv­ered to the con­struc­tion site, result­ing in lit­tle weld­ing need­ing to be done onsite. Pri­or to deliv­ery, holes for plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal sys­tems are cut into the beams. These cuts must be made with excep­tion­al accu­ra­cy, usu­al­ly with­in 0.16 mm. After the cuts are made, the robots attach a unique part num­ber to each beam to ensure that each beam gets used for the right job. The effi­cien­cy of this robot­ics sys­tem has decreased the time it takes to put up steel in a build­ing, allow­ing more time to devel­op oth­er projects.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Robots​.com online or at 8777626881.

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