BIM as the first step towards construction digitalization, automation, and the introduction of robots.
Robotics and digitization are certainly among the megatrends of today’s world. They are so popular that they have become useful in every part of our daily lives. With advances in information technology, there has been a major transformation in how most of our daily tasks are performed.
From smartphones to drones to robotics, our lives have been made much easier and smarter with the use of technology to perform some of the functions that were otherwise cumbersome and complex.
One industry that technology and digitization have been able to make an amazing progress is in the construction. This industry is being transformed miraculously from the typical brick and mortar business to more digitalized and automated processes that have reduced the effort and time spent on specific tasks.
However, how far has digitization been able to impact the construction industry? What is the level of impact that Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been able to provide the construction industry? In this article, we shall be examining the role of BIM in creating a platform for the application of robotics and automation in construction.
The current affairs of digitization in the construction industry.
For numerous industries and sectors, digitization means making steps to perform old tasks in a new and refined way. However, what is the current state of digitization within the AEC industry?
While there have been several innovative inventions to automate processes in the construction industry, it is often categorized as being among the industries with the least form of digitized processes, especially when compared to other industries such as the automotive industry.
Typically, in a construction project, when there could be no strict adherence to the original plan of the project, everyone’s task becomes increasingly harder for them. It could even affect other projects since resources will have to be rearranged.
It is time that the AEC embraces digital transformation across the industry.
This analysis as well as the fact that the labour output within the construction industry has not been increased within the last ten years, clearly indicates that the AEC is prepared for a change – and that digitization can be a primary driving force for the AEC industry.
At the centre of this change, is the need for people to get the needed information. Throughout the entire construction process, at every stage and phase, there is a big need for the exchange of information among various stakeholders. It begins at the design stage, then closely followed by the planning stage, and then there is the construction stage as well as the maintenance stage.
If the objective is to carry out a project within a certain budget and timeframe, speed and accuracy are essential factors. Digitization in this perspective means the delivering of useful information that is readily available for everyone at any given location and time.
Practically, the automation of the construction industry is the next big step as we already have a range of technical solutions that make tasks a lot easier. We have the cloud solutions, the apps and the software platforms that are readily available to digitize processes in the construction industry. Looking closely at this, there are a series of drivers that can easily bring about this digitization.
They are the application of modern technologies such as BIM, Robotics, AR, VR, digital collaboration, the capturing of relevant information in a model – as well as ensuring that there is a single trusted source of actual construction information to guarantee the reliability of construction data.
BIM as the solution
BIM appears to be the single answer to all modern needs of the AEC industry. The primary function of BIM is to develop a set of processes that are linked together and are defined by collaboration and efficiency. BIM can be applied in the completed design of an object, building or structure.
Utilize the benefits of BIM and watch how BIM can transform your construction process from just a manual workflow to an automated and digital process. The autonomous power of BIM has been used to create synergies among remote project teams, enhance the workflow of a project, improve collaboration, digitize a construction project as well as set the ground for automation and utilization of robotics in construction.
BIM as the future myth in the construction of infrastructure projects has gradually transformed from its traditional use for modelling, designing, retrieval of information to a more proactive role of feeding information and data to independent robots and devices to perform a group of functions in construction.
As the first stage in the automation of the construction process, the accurate information that BIM offers can be fed straight to an independent robot or automated processes to perform a group of construction processes that are otherwise performed by humans.
This way the quality of a set of tasks in a construction project is enhanced and construction duration is shortened. The project moves faster. Everyone goes home happy.
Construction Automation – The Applications of automation in construction and its advantages.
The automation of the construction process helps in controlling quality as well as in the reduction of the total time of construction. In this post, we would discuss various automation applications in construction as well as their benefits.
The need for construction processes to be automated and its advantages
Technically, construction automation can be effectively used in any aspect of construction. What this means is that construction automation can be applied throughout the whole construction stage, for example, the manufacturing of materials for construction, the prefabrication of components used in construction, on-site construction, the operation as well as maintenance of buildings, in addition to the complete demolition as well as recycling of building structures.
However, the key focus here is the construction process and how it can be automated to increase project quality, shorten project duration as well as increase the project’s cost-effectiveness.
Robotics and Automation technology applications in the construction industry
Automation and robotics are now a trending method of utilizing labour in several industries like the car manufacturing industry, beverage industry or pretty much any industry were batch production is used in the production of goods. The same way that these robots and automated processes are used to create accurate models within a short time to enhance the cost-effectiveness of the entire process, so it is used too in the construction industry to boost quality, time and cost.
1). Independent machines working on a construction site.
With the rise of the robots in the construction industry, there will be fewer human labour on site. Several construction processes have already begun going through the process of automation. One of the common forms of construction automation is in the application of autonomous machines to perform some construction tasks. They are self-driving robotic machines which are easily used to move construction materials around the site. They are used to carry heavy items while minimizing the risk to construction workers. For instance, several construction machines can be fitted with robotic technology solutions as well as sensors which can easily enable diggers, trucks, forklifts, excavators, surveyors perform their responsibilities automatically without having to deal with any human being. Through the creation of relevant paths, providing great GPS capabilities as well as sufficiently programming the machine movement itself, workers on a construction site can remotely operate machinery and get to enjoy more efficient work processes, better work quality as well as shorter duration of tasks.
2). Drones used to survey working areas and construction employees
Drones are slowly being introduced into the construction industry, and it is now indispensable in performing some tasks on site. As a useful form of construction automation, drones allow for automated monitoring of a construction worksite without a need for active supervision. Drones are easily programmed to automatically scan any working area to detect any potential hazards, poor work processes, bad quality and so on. After the scanning process, it typically sends back its report in the form of signals to a centralized control area.
With the use of drones, construction companies can conduct pre-project inspections, reach inaccessible heights/work areas as well as other significant site monitoring activities.
3). The use of robotics in concrete works
Construction automation have long been used in the mixing of concrete. Robotics and mechanical control systems that have been pre-programmed, have long been used in the mixing of concrete, laying of cement, floor polishing and in the removal of surface water.
With the availability of this technology, companies have found it easy to prepare precast and ready-mixed concrete materials due to their shorter time of installation. With the use of robotics and automated processes, material used is minimized (value for money) and a thorough prevention of human errors (quality) that is used for performing concrete works.
Another area of concreting in the construction industry that greatly uses mechanical automation to reduce project duration is in concrete formwork technology. Ever since the introduction of slip formwork, climbing formwork and flying tables, the construction of skyscrapers has been a straightforward process. Currently, formwork technology has used the application of automation to enhance its processes and dramatically reduce the duration of the total project and enhance the overall project quality. While the formwork is programmed to climb up an ongoing building that is being constructed, concreting machines can also be programmed to pour and level concrete in the accurate proportions while avoiding obstacles within the work zone.
On the flip side, specialized demolition robots are being used also to knock down walls as well as to dismantle concrete slabs. This often leads to a reduced cost of operation and a safer construction site for employees.