Improving Productivity on The Job Site
For construction companies who are looking for new innovations that can produce huge improvements in safety, productivity, and efficiency; 2021 has seen several new technologies start to come to the fore. In this article, we will take a brief look at four of them.
Augmented Reality (AR)
By using a mobile device that has AR functionality the user is able to a combined view with a real-world view that has construction-related data overlaid on the image.
A construction worker could, for example, point the mobile device (tablet or smartphone) at a wall and the AR technology could overlay the actual plans for the wall, displaying the real-life and plans into one view which brings the plans to life.
Here are just a couple of examples of what this technology can do:
The AR System can overlay potential modifications to a structure on top of the existing structure so that the impact of the modifications can be viewed on-site.
Automation of Measurements
Construction workers can use AR technology to measure physical spaces in real-time and view distances between features on roadways, such as speed bumps.
It is possible to use Augmented Reality on mobile devices, but the longer-term future for this technology will be in special AR Glasses which would provide construction workers with real-time data, hands-free while working.
Construction Exoskeletons (sometimes referred to as Exosuits) are a machine that is wearable. The machine has motorized joints that both provide extra support to the user, while at the same time increasing the user’s power.
They are especially effective when the user is making repeated bending, lifting, and grabbing movements.
Originally created to be part of rehab treatment programs, they have evolved so that they can reduce injuries and at the same time increase the strength of construction workers. Here are some examples of systems already in use on construction sites:
Exoskeletons that Provide back Support
This suit is powered and sits over the shoulders, back, and waist. It is worn to reduce strain on the construction worker when lifting, while also allowing him to lift greater weights.
Exoskeletons that Provide Support when Crouching
This exoskeleton functions as a chair that allows construction workers to crouch for extended periods. The item is attached to the legs of the construction worker.
Shoulder Support Exoskeletons
This model redistributes weight from the shoulders when the construction worker is performing lifting over his head.
Most of us are familiar with drones. Now drones are being used on construction sites. There are expectations that this will grow further in the coming 12 months.
Drones are being used to create topographical maps before construction begins. This can reduce the cost of mapping by an amazing 95%.
Large job sites typically have a problem tracking and securing expensive equipment. Drones are able to track equipment and vehicles on site.
When workers have gone home for the night, drones can be set to watch the site and maintain security automatically. They can send out alarms to smartphones when they detect movement and send video to the phone, so management can decide how to react.
3D printers have been created that can build entire structures that have dimensions exactly as specified on plans. They can produce such buildings faster and with fewer workers than traditional methods.
They can also be set to “print” specific components on-site easing transport difficulties and costs.
3D printing on construction sites is only just starting to appear and it is still early days, but already there are sites that print entre houses. It is forecast that this technology is going to have a major impact in the future.
Improving the efficiency of Materials Usage
Programs are taking place that is investigating printing components and entire structures out of concrete in the future.
It is fast
A single 3D printer can build an entire house in just a few days before being moved onto the next plot. It is possible to build major housing projects with less staff and faster than ever before.
A 3D printer will print perfect reproduction of the design entered into it. Measurements will be exact.
Some of these technologies are already in everyday use, others are still being tested in the field, but all of these technologies will be seen more from 2022.