Robots to Transform Construction – The Hype Magazine

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Published on May 26th, 2021 | by Jerry Doby

ABB is targeting the construction industry with new robotic automation solutions to address key challenges, including the need for more affordable and environmentally friendly housing and to reduce the environmental impact of construction, amidst a labor and skills shortage.

In a global survey1 commissioned by ABB of 1900 construction businesses in Europe, North America and China, 91 per cent said they face a skills crisis over the next ten years, with 44 per cent saying they struggle to recruit for construction jobs. Improving health and safety on building sites was a priority for 42 per cent and the same percentage said the environment is a key driver for industry change.

 “A new focus on health and safety and sustainability are catalysts for investment in robotics, while the shrinking pool of skilled labor means the construction industry needs robots to help keep pace with the challenges of urbanization and climate change,” said Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation Business Area. 

81 per cent of construction businesses said they will introduce or increase the use of robotics and automation in the next decade, while today only a handful of businesses benefit from robotics. In the survey, only 55 per cent of construction companies say they use robots, compared with 84 per cent in Automotive and 79 percent in Manufacturing. 

Robots can make construction safer by handling large and heavy loads, working in unsafe spaces and enabling new, safer methods of construction. Using robots for the repetitive and dangerous tasks that people increasingly don’t want to do means automation can help support the industry’s labor and skills crisis and make construction careers more appealing to young people. 

The latest large-scale ABB robotics 3D printing technology for the construction industry is being showcased by the Austrian architectural bureau MAEID at the Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Hashim Sarkis in Venice, to inspire architects about the possibilities of automation and 3D printing, driving innovation and enabling new ways of building.

Robotic automation offers huge potential to enhance productivity, efficiency and manufacturing flexibility throughout the construction industry including automating the fabrication of modular homes and building components off-site, robotic welding and material handling on building sites and robot 3D printing of houses and customized structures. As well as making the industry safer and more cost effective, robots are improving sustainability and reducing environmental impact by enhancing quality and cutting waste. 

For more information, visit the ABB website. An ‘Automation and the Construction Industry’ panel discussion will be available to view on the website from 26 May 2021.

About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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