Hurdles to adopting construction technology can include money, inventory, engineering, lack of IT expertise, shipping, and teams using different or outdated systems. Even so, you can harness chaos to make something out of it. The construction industry is ripe for innovation. Eventually similar technologies will merge or fail.
Collaborative robotics is an example. Machines can work with or without humans. When humans are involved, it’s referred to as co-botics.
Obviously, it’s important that humans have jobs to keep our economy going. However there are some more mundane jobs that could be better served through automation, which allows the human to focus on more creative problem solving. There are other jobs that push the boundaries of strength and safety. That’s where robots can be programmed to replace the wasted creativity of a human.
As co-bots are implemented, humans are moved to other jobs where their creativity can be better utilized. In addition, human bodies can be protected from injury. In the long run, automation can achieve a great deal more benefits for a business than what is perceived to be detriments. There is the need to address the fears employees have about losing their job. That fear puts pressure on management as well as employees.
Automating is a process, a journey. You cannot just flip a switch, turn everything on and expect to get immediate results. A company needs time to put a plan in place, reallocate manpower and ramp up automation. If a company is waiting for their competitors to automate before taking the leap, they may end up too far behind to catch up and remain competitive.
Companies that automate successfully know far in advance how their productivity and margins will increase. Leading the pack or even staying competitive is a major consideration.
The adoption rate for robotics and co-bots is expected to be much faster than people originally thought. Experts in the automation field suggest that, rather than envisioning massive automation in the next thirty years, we should realistically be expecting it to happen within the next five years at most.
The lines are beginning to blur between construction and manufacturing. The merger of those industries is already showing up in modular building processes.
The modules will continue to evolve to be high-tech and advanced. They will be increasingly cost efficient and easier to construct and assemble onsite. Fewer and fewer builders will occupy a tract of land with a pile of lumber in order to construct a building. As modular processes are refined, robots can be used to assemble modules. They will undertake repetitive construction jobs like painting, laying bricks, erecting steel, welding, hanging drywall, drilling, handling hot materials, and more. The day will come when a swarm of robots will be used to construct houses.
Industry watchers can see the pieces of the puzzle coming together, including lower cost, higher adoption rates and faster time to market. Automation will play a part. 3D printing will play a part. Other innovations will also be employed. There are still unknowns, but changes are coming quickly.
Tune in to episode 135 of the Bridging the Gap Podcast to hear more on the topic from Gil Mayron.