June 21, 2018 / News
Technology has impacted virtually every industry in Australia, and its effects are only expected to become more and more pronounced. One industry where technology, robotics and automation are predicted to have a particularly profound impact, is the construction industry.
Historically, and to this day, the construction industry has been built on the backs of labourers, with the successful completion of construction projects still heavily reliant on the performance of manual tasks.
Compared to other industries, the construction industry has been relatively slow in terms of the development and integration of innovative technologies.
However, a wave of automation is on its way to transform the construction industry and catapult it into the 21st century and beyond.
These construction robots have been created with the purpose of significantly boosting speed, safety and productivity on-site.
Robots are able to perform their designated tasks for longer, and to a more consistent standard, than if a human were assigned to do the job. This is favourable as it allows construction projects to be delivered on time, within budget, and to a reliable and repeatable standard.
Robots don't get tired, need lunch breaks, or go on holiday, so they are able to produce greater outputs.
The use of robots on-site is also beneficial, as the nature of construction can be quite hazardous. According to Safe Work Australia's Australian Workers' Compensation Statistics Report 2015-16, the construction industry accounted for the second highest rate of serious claims in Australia (tied with the Manufacturing industry at 12%). Programming robots to perform these dangerous tasks instead, can help to drastically reduce injuries and accidents.
Another major catalyst for the development of these construction robots are the various skills shortages that the industry is facing. The lack of workers with certain specialised skills, such as glazing, carpentry, and stonemasonry, has been a real pain point for many construction projects, as it can seriously delay the completion of a project. The automation of these highly demanded roles may help to close the skills gap and enable greater efficiency.
One of the most notable pieces of technology that is expected to shake up the industry, is Hadrian X. Developed by Perth-based company Fastbrick Robotics, Hadrian X is a construction robot that can be easily mounted onto trucks, tracks, barges, boats and cranes, and capable of building a single-storey house within 2 days.
This construction robot is able to achieve this break-neck speed, as it uses special Fastbrick blocks, that are larger, stronger and lighter than regular house bricks, and a unique adhesive that can bond the blocks together in 45 minutes. This effectively eliminates the days wasted on waiting for mortar to fully set.