Are Construction Robots the future for the Industry?
Photo Credit To ETH Zurich

Are Construction Robots the future for the Industry?

Are Construction Robots the future for the Industry?

A consortium of Swiss researchers recently built an entire home using construction robots and 3D-printed building materials in what they claim is the future of the construction industry.

Their process turned out to be faster, safer, and more environmentally friendly than manual construction. The DFAB House was built near Zurich, and is the first-ever habitable home to have been constructed entirely of digital fabrication methods. The DFAB House is a collaborative exercise of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication, on the NEST building of Empa and Eawag. It is part of a full-featured building project, where researchers from eight ETH Zurich professorships came together with other industry and planning experts to explore unique methods and test how digital fabrication could change the way we design and build.

The three-level building features 3D-printed ceilings, timber beams assembled on-site by robots, energy-efficient walls, and intelligent home systems. It measures 220 square metres, and has already passed all the strict Swiss building codes and planning laws.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

How they built the DFAB house

The DFAB House was built using predominantly digital methods, both on and off-site. Construction work began with the Mesh Mould technology implementation, where robots fabricated a steel reinforcement mesh to serve as the formwork and reinforcement for load-bearing concrete structures.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

A pre-fabricated slab was then installed on top of the wall, after which Smart Dynamic Casting technology was used for the ground floor façade. The two upper floors were prefabricated off-site, and assembled by cooperating robots on site.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

The robots were mounted on the ceilings of a factory, where they cut, drilled and positioned the wooden members of the frame. The building was also fitted with Smart Home technology to control its mechanical systems, security and lighting.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

How robots will change the building industry

Erecting new buildings is ranked as one of the most inefficient, polluting activities. However, this could change in the future thanks to building robots.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

For one, robots will drastically reduce the time it takes to build homes. A typical home can take up to a year to build, but with the help of robots and prefabricated materials, homes could be built in days.

Post-construction cleaning companies also won’t have to do as much to prepare robot-built houses for occupation as they do for conventional homes. This is because there is less wastage of building materials, and since robots are doing everything, the site is less messy.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

The designs of buildings are also set to become more complex, thanks to the robots. Architects are usually limited by what human builders can make, but with robots, all kinds of new possibilities will open up.

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

The DFAB house roof, for example, features flowing, organic ridges that look like they were created by a giant insect. The 3D-printed ceiling also has intricate designs that might be impossible to achieve using human hands

Are Home-building Robots The Future Of The Construction Industry? Photo courtesy of NEST EMPA
Photo courtesy of ETH Zurich and NEST EMPA

Robots are being built to handle all sorts of construction tasks especially the heavy, dull and repetitive ones.

With more collaboration between researchers and key players in the construction industry, could we be looking at a future where all homes will be built by robots from start to finish?

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Post source : Cassandra McCoy

About The Author

Anthony has worked in the construction industry for many years and looks forward to bringing you news and stories on the highways industry from all over the world. If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to support his work you could buy me a coffee.

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