Construction automation has a wide scope and involves all the construction stages, such as the production of building materials, prefabrication of building components, on-site construction, operations and management, maintenance of building, and demolition of structures. Automation of construction counters various problems related to construction, such as shortage of skilled labour, low quality of products, poor weather conditions, safety of labour, and limited construction period which is nowadays a feature of projects.
If construction automation is practiced, it will allow the companies to work continuously and consequently the construction period will be decreased. In this way, automation of construction will provide the companies with great economic advantages and help them grow at a faster pace. Moreover, it will improve the safety of the labour force and enhance the quality and of the projects.
Advantages of Construction Automation
Automation in Precast Concrete Industry
- It replaces workers in tasks that involve difficult or dangerous physical work.
- Automation provides more uniform and precise quality product as compared to the products produced by skilled workers.
- It reduces costs and enhances productivity and efficiency at the same time. Also, it is claimed that many countries like Germany and Japan have improved their gross income and living standard substantially by employing automation in construction.
- Automated construction enhances work environment as it saves workers from uncomfortable and unsafe work positions.
It has been quite long since nearly 100 percent automation is being applied in the production of construction materials like steel, cement, glass, wood, and aluminium. A great degree of automation is applied in concrete precast component production. The automation of concrete components construction is highly advantageous. It provides products with uniform quality and also declines the waste of the factory. The factory waste is reduced by using the needed amount of materials which is estimated with the help of computer programming and planning.
There are numerous apparatuses that are being used by construction companies for various purposes on the work site, such as concrete screeding, scrubbing, finishing, and cleaning.
Automation in On-site Masonry and Prefabricated Masonry Construction
Automation plays a significant role in masonry prefabrication and offers several advantages to the construction companies. It’s because automation not only substantially increases the fabrication of masonry blocks but it also reduces manpower requirements and labour costs. Plants that produce masonry elements can be completely or partly automated. By doing so, the companies can make prefabrication of masonry blocks easier and less costly. In addition to this, automation is also applied for laying bricks on the construction site. It has the ability to lay up to thousand bricks per hour and help companies save a lot of time and labour.
Automation in Timber Construction
Automation in wood prefabrication is gaining popularity these days and have advanced to some extent in few parts of the world. Wood prefabrication has shifted from manual processing to automated processing using computerized machines. There are several automated timber producing plants that build prefabricated components for houses in a very short period of time and involve minimal hand work in the process.
Automation in Production of Steel Components
It’s been quite long since steel companies have begun applying automation in prefabrication of building components according to the demand of contractors. The steel components are manufactured off-site and then transferred to the construction site for erection. Automation, however, is not used in the erection process and manual welding and screwing is carried out for that purpose.
Although utilization of steel components in residential construction is very low but there are factories that prefabricate steel components for houses using robotics and automation. It is reported that these factories produce components for 5000-10,000 houses per year and have the ability to manufacture 120m2 in just 2 mins 30 secs.