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Why Are Construction Robotics on the Rise?

Read Time: 4 minutes

When you think of a construction site, what do you picture? Do you see the towering cranes and massive pieces of heavy machinery that dot the landscape? Or do you look closer and see the hundreds of hard hat-clad employees working together to create an architectural marvel? For most people, the answer to that question is one or the other, but new technology in the construction industry might soon change that picture dramatically. Why are construction robotics on the rise, and what sort of impact will this machinery make on the construction field in the future?

Introducing Construction Robots

While construction robots might never take the place of human workers in this sector, they’re quickly becoming one of the most exciting advancements in construction in recent decades. These machines are set to shape the industry for years to come. Advancements in robotics include self-driving vehicles on the job site and 3D printers that can create anything from accessories to whole buildings.

What sort of technology will we see on the construction site in the future?

Drones, once the sole purview of hobbyists and those seeking a bird’s eye view of the world, are becoming commonplace on construction sites. Currently, contractors are using them for site mapping, inspection, and communication. As this technology continues to advance, they may even be capable of delivering building materials or tools to workers, preventing wasted time.

3D printers are showing up in nearly every industry, and the push toward additive manufacturing is just getting started in the construction sector. We’re even seeing self-healing concrete making an appearance. However, this technology is still relatively new and will need more development before it’s ready to enter mainstream construction.

Construction robots are just one part of this industry’s swift and sure advancement. Why are these bots so beneficial for the construction sector?

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Benefits of Construction Robotics

As with most industries beginning to employ robotics and automation, the construction sector will benefit from adopting these new technologies. What are some of the benefits of automation in construction?

For one thing, robots in the construction sector will reduce waste. Employing techniques like 3D printing means there are no offcuts and nothing left over when laying concrete or creating new structures. As with many other industries, construction robots can also take over dangerous or tedious tasks, especially those that could result in worker injury or death. They can even do jobs that might result in repetitive stress injuries — a common occurrence on construction sites.

Construction robots, once they become more common, may also help offset the growing labor shortage that’s leaving companies without the necessary crews to complete their contracts. This advantage will require construction companies to adopt the technology on a widespread basis to see real change. However, it could be one potential application for future robotics initiatives in construction.

How Will Robots Change the Construction Industry

While we see the introduction of robotics in the construction industry, how will these automatons change the sector? It’s too early to predict the scale of these changes accurately. Companies haven’t yet started adopting construction robots for many of their construction tasks. As it stands, though, we can speculate — and in that case, the future is looking bright.

We will likely see construction robots filling many entry-level positions, especially those that could cause repetitive stress injuries. This transformation lets construction workers advance and specialize, improving their careers because they no longer need to do tedious or repetitive tasks.

These machines will likely work to offset the growing labor shortage within the industry. They’ll make it easier for companies to meet their deadlines and complete their contracts without worrying about whether or not they’ll be able to find enough workers to fill their crews.

For those interested in lean construction — the process of using technology and various other methods to reduce waste and improve efficiency — construction robots will be a blessing.  Using these machines means less waste, including wasted time, and they can keep things moving even when human workers are unable to be on the job site.

Robots don’t need lunch breaks or days off. All they need is some maintenance now and then, and they’re capable of working 24/7 as long as they’re programmed correctly.

Looking Forward to Changes in Construction

Whether current company owners recognize it or not, construction robots are coming, and they are going to change the industry for the better. While they won’t ever completely replace human workers or construction specialists, they can take over some of the more dangerous or tedious jobs that are a part of every single construction project.

That, in turn, opens up new opportunities for those in the industry to change their careers and specialize in concepts robots have yet to master — the creative aspects of architecture and construction.

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Category: Manufacturing & Engineering

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Article by: Megan Ray Nichols

Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance science writer and science enthusiast. Her favorite subjects include astronomy and the environment. Megan is also a regular contributor to The Naked Scientists, Thomas Insights, and Real Clear Science. When she isn't writing, Megan loves watching movies, hiking, and stargazing.