As technology is getting more advanced and innovative every year, many areas have already started transforming towards a more Industry 4.0 approach in their operations. While the construction industry has been developing at a slightly slower pace than others, it is undoubtedly embarrassing the latest possibilities available.
One that has been particularly popular and beneficial is the application of robots in the construction industry according to Robotnik – a company specialising in the development and manufacture of mobile manipulators and mobile robots as well as R&D and engineering projects’ development. So, what exactly are the benefits of mobile robots manipulators and how can they help revolutionise the construction industry? Let’s find out.
Resolving the shortage of labour
The construction industry has seen a significant decrease in skilled labour available in the last few years and it is expected to only get worse from here. In fact, the predictions state that by 2030, over 40% of the current labour will retire and up to 200 million new jobs will be available in the sector. This is primarily to do with young people being less interested in this area of work, particularly in becoming skilled professionals at it. However, with construction being a heavily labour-intensive industry, it is clear why businesses are eager to solve this issue one way or another. This leads us to one of the most important applications of robotics in construction industry.
The robots used in the construction sector can complement the existing labour (e.g. robots working together with humans or cobot manipulators being controlled by a skilled professional). However, they can also exist as an autonomous robots working force that fully replaces existing staff. This can not only help with automating many of the repetitive tasks in building work but also considerably cut employment costs, as less actual employees will be required. This is not to say that robots will fully replace human employees – it means that the skilled workers will be able to focus on the more complex and creative parts of the process.
Reducing safety concerns
Labour safety is one of the biggest concerns in the construction industry, as workers are often faced with dangerous building sites, heavy objects, unstable building constructions and so on. This is represented well in the workplace accident statistics – for example, in 2019, a devastating 3408 fatal accidents took place in the EU from the construction industry only, making up a fifth of all fatal work-related accidents across all sectors.
Making use of Robotnik robot manipulators is a brilliant way to reduce accidents on-site, fatal and non-fatal. The automated robots can take over the dangerous tasks in extreme environments and be used to inspect the level of safety for people. They can also reduce injuries by dealing with heavy objects and physically demanding tasks. Robots are also able to detect possible errors early, so many incidents can also be avoided before they happen.
Improving project speed and efficiency
The construction industry can be very demanding in terms of time pressure, as projects are expected to be completed within a limited budget and a deadline. Robots are generally capable of performing many physical tasks and even some complex surveying processes much quicker than human workers, making them a great solution in the industry. In some cases, a single robot can take over tasks that require multiple people at the time, which means that the employees can focus their attention on other, more essential tasks.
Additionally, modern mobile robot manipulators are now capable of much higher flexibility levels, meaning that a single piece of equipment can be used in multiple sites and scenarios, as required. Using the mobile platforms, they are able to access a larger site area and be easily programmed to do a wide range of different tasks. The Robotnik smart robots are even used to predict required tasks and evaluate the progress of the project, autonomously choosing the next course of action with minimal supervision required. It is clear that such use of robots in the construction industry can bring immense value to businesses, helping them tackle the constant challenges of time and budget pressure.
Significant cost saving
Taking all of the above into consideration, it is evident that robotics can help construction companies significantly reduce certain operational costs and allocate their budgets on other essential resources. Perhaps the biggest cost-cutting factor of leveraging robots in the construction industry is reducing the number of employees.
While robots do need to be maintained from time to time, they certainly do not require regular salaries including income tax, sick and holiday pay, maternity / paternity leave and other associated costs of employment. Not only that, robots are able to work longer hours with no breaks (and potentially overnight), perform certain tasks quicker and usually with fewer errors too, improving the overall efficiency and productivity of the workforce.
Therefore, while the investment into such a cutting-edge piece of technology is large, the benefits in terms of profitability and efficiency are significant and the ROI is achieved considerably quickly with the saved costs in other pa