By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
Robots that supplement construction teams by performing repetitive tasks are preparing for their “invasion” at project sites, according to Tarlton’s Scott Green, presenter at one of the breakout sessions at the 9th annual AGC of Missouri Design & Construction Technology Conference on Oct. 22.
The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLC3) partnered with AGCMO to host the event, held this year at the Eric P. Newman Education Center in the Central West End.
Green, Tarlton’s director of technology, quality and productivity, told the audience it’s likely that St. Louis’ construction industry will soon embrace what is occurring on the West Coast. Large projects are recruiting robots to perform time-intensive, labor-intensive repetitive tasks to mitigate safety risks and compensate for the shortage of field workers.
“These task-performing machines are assisting in everything from demolition to material handling, bricklaying, laser scanning and more,” Green said. “They’re not replacing the human element, but rather complementing the construction workforce, reducing risk, enhancing efficiency, reducing the potential for human error and reducing safety risks on the jobsite.”
Examples of non-human counterparts that St. Louis jobsites might see soon include:
Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter: This robot-powered tool automates the layout process within 1/16-inch accuracy, printing full-size floorplans on the deck for builders.
TinyMobile’s mobile robots: Marking lines on sporting fields is the mission of this bot.
Civ Robotics’ mobile robots: These surveying field robots mark lines on roadways.
Advanced Construction Robotics’ IronBot: This rebar carrying and placing robot relieves the burden of heavy lifting by self-placing up to 5,000-pound rebar bundles.
SkyMul’s SkyMul robot: This drone identifies and ties rebar intersections.
SAM (Semi-Automated Mason): SAM lays up to 3,000 bricks per day, four times faster than a human.
MULE (Material Unit Lift Enhancer): This cargo-carrying robot can lift and place material weighing up to 135 pounds.
Hilti Jaibot: Locating and drilling color-coded holes in ceilings and decks at heights of up to 16.5 feet is this robot’s task.
Boston Dynamics’ Spot: An agile robot, this one navigates terrain, climbs stairs and can carry up to 31 pounds for 90 minutes.